When you think of a team, what would you put at the top of a list of characteristics that would make up that good team? Some that come to mind may be initiative, trust, empathy, leadership or creativity?
What is clear when looking at these characteristics is that they are more attitudes than hard skills of an industry, and relate to how a person acts and behaves rather than what they are trained in.
Successful team players are defined by the way they relate to their colleagues and the way in which they interact across a broad range of skills. In fact 80% of what makes a good team member is determined by their positive attitudes, and only 20% by the specific job-related skills they possess.
So why do so many businesses spend around 80% of their training budget on developing skills that are often short-lived and updating on a regular basis?
For any real value to be gained from team development, you must be able to get colleagues to recognise a whole range of contributions made by different team members.
One of the best ways to do this is to get the team away from the office environment, doing something totally different and which isn’t job-specific. Putting groups of people together in new, fun or unusual settings and in which they depend on each other’s individual strengths and attitudes so solve challenges, can have immensely powerful results.
The relationships you see between colleagues in the office are only the tip of the iceberg. To fully appreciate the qualities your colleagues possess, you really do need to take time out and get rid of the 9-to-5 agenda.
Far from wasting time, this enables you to develop new ways of working together based on the powerful experience of shared experience. For example, we have run team-building workshops based on activities such as scuba diving where participants are literally thrust into a totally alien environment.
Colleagues have to work together using non-verbal communication, trust each other to share masks as they tackle a range of tasks, and learn to adapt both to the unfamiliar environment and to their colleagues’ needs and abilities.
Similarly, team challenges based on off-road driving or sailing activities, or some of the more simple team tasks involving problem-solving and competitive, time-limited challenges will highlight these areas of strength and potential for further development.
So get out of the office: think about the added value that a really well-designed team-building event can add to the in-house training you may already have. And have fun!