Building Teamwork and Understanding

This blog is another entry on the theme of planning.  One important aspect of planning is how the team of people doing the planning work together.  The fashion for some time has been to take the planning group or the executive team out on an exercise the help them learn how to work as a team.  The team has an opportunity to learn how to work together on some task that requires teamwork. 

After the exercise the group is then asked to reflect on the lessons learned from the experience.  I have been on several of these exercises and have found them quite fascinating and have learned lots of things.  However I generally do not find they help the management team work better.  The reason I think is that many of the issues going on in the team go well beyond an understanding of how to work as a team.  People in organizations work together because these are the people you happen to end up with.  The unifying item is the success of the organization and for you, in particular, success in your job.  Creating an artificial environment will not unify the team.  However working together to solve the real pressing issue will overcome many people’s inability to work in teams. 

I think that the building of a team is best done in the context of the tasks at hand and creating some momentum and results.  Success will bring a team together better than exercise.  Structuring the planning work in a way that creates early success and some good learning on how to work together is the best way to build the team.  Then working with team to reflect on what they learned in the process is an excellent way to reinforce the experience. 

I suggest the team look for early wins for the team that really improve the bottom line.  Then learn form the experience.

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