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All managers want their employees to work as a team, and while bringing in a professional consultant is an option, it is an expensive one. Most of what is required to improve team building can be done in-house, with little to no budget impact, according to an article by Dan Bobinski published on Management Issues. Bobinski believes rather than focusing on training, which can and should occur when appropriate, team building should be an organizational effort by management to create a culture emphasizing cooperation and teamwork. He gives the following guidelines to implement this process:

  1. Every member of the team must know the big picture and purpose of the team. Bobinski says the main reason teams do not perform well is because the members are not focused on the team’s objective. When a team is working on a tangible project, progress is evaluated on a regular basis. This same process should be applied when trying to reach an organization’s mission. Every department should have their own defined purpose that aids in reaching the mission, and should be evaluated and reiterated on a regular basis. As Bobinski says, “Reviewing our purpose keeps us focused, and we go where we’re focused.”
  2. Meet regularly to ensure every employee is adequately equipped for their specific role. On a sports team, each player is taught the roles and responsibilities of the position they are playing. These players devote long hours every week to perfect their skills, and come game time, it shows. Unfortunately, this same practice is not typically applied in the workplace. Even mid-level employees are known to receive minimal training. Teams should be meeting on a regular basis to discuss strengths and weaknesses. Team leaders should then develop a plan to utilize individual strengths and improve outcomes. Bobinski says when these types of meetings don’t take place, companies tend to experience problems with morale and productivity levels. To make sure your meetings aren’t wasting any time, set a clearly defined purpose, along with a specific desired outcome for every meeting.
  3. Work together to meet goals. We oftentimes fail to recognize the strengths in work styles different from our own, but these differing styles can bring a great deal of value to any team. This tip is the only one that might need a place in your budget. Investing in personality assessments can help your team better understand the way each individual member works. Once everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are identified, your team should develop a strategy to work together in a way that emphasizes everyone’s strengths and balances out existing weaknesses. Bobinski names DISC, Myers Briggs Type Indicators, Kiersey Temperament Sorter, and the Belbin Teams Roles assessments as a few of the most popular.

As you can see, team building doesn’t need to break the budget. With a focus on a clearly defined goal, and a plan to utilize each individual’s strengths, team building can be cost-effective and successful.