By Ken Weisner
Whether your company or department is working remotely, hybrid or back in-person, team building is more important than ever. For many employees, when a team-building session is suggested, eyes roll, and the term cliché is tossed around. It’s the kind of thing that people often dread going to, but when they come out of a well-run teambuilding session, they ask to do it again.
A primary challenge for today’s business owner or manager is time. If people barely have time to do their jobs, how can they take time for a half or full day teambuilding workshop? I challenge you with, “how can you not take one day to improve the rest of your days?” During Covid many employees, managers and owners realized they can work and communicate differently, but different doesn’t mean better. In this new world, something is missing, and that something is human connection.
To rebuild or renew that human connection, at Beach Play Company we customize team-building programs for groups that want to level up their performance. Every group we work with is unique; however, the principles of each workshop are the same and are relevant during and after the session.
Guiding principles for a productive teambuilding session that work back at the office.
1. Manage expectations
Managing expectations is one of the most underrated leadership skill and one that is critical in a highly functioning team. If expectations are not set and clear, people will make assumptions of what is expected of them, and you know what they say happens when you assume. In our workshops, we spend time upfront to understand what the group expects of us, and in turn, what we expect of it. This is similar to what leaders need to do to get the most from their teams.
2. Get buy-in
If employees don’t buy into their company’s vision, their department’s plan or what is expected of them, they won’t perform at their highest levels. In our sessions, we make sure that each participant understands, and is aligned with, what we plan to accomplish in the session. In a company, every manager needs to make sure employees not only know what they need to do but also believe in why they need to do it.
Communication is more than telling people what is expected of them. It is about asking how things are going, if they need help, if they can help others. In short, it is about asking and listening. We demonstrate this by connecting with our workshop participants throughout the session and adjusting it as needed. This is what should happen in a company as well and is even more important when working remotely. People need to make a point of connecting with each other to check-in, offer help and make sure things are on track.
When a team-building workshop is well-executed, the activities reinforce the desired principles for the company and are done in a fun, interactive environment.
Ken Weisner is the founder and chief playmaker of Beach Play Company on Hilton Head Island. Ken’s background includes working as a personal trainer, a director of sales and business development, a motivational speaker, a corporate teambuilding facilitator, a club soccer coach, a high school soccer coach and a youth leader for his church. A devoted father of two grown daughters, Ken knows the value of relationships and fun. beachplaycompany.com