Team Building for Executives
Applying Executive Community Approaches to Team Building
So much has been said and written about teams and teamwork that is useless and trite, and so many efforts to create collaboration have failed. In the minds of many employees, even the phrase "team building" itself conjures up a wasted work day climbing trees in the woods. (Even though we do understand the value of outdoor activities to build teamwork.)
Before we throw up our hands in disgust and search for the newest panacea for what ails us in the work place, it may be useful to examine how applying the principles of executive community can help us to create genuine teamwork.
As we describe in detail on the "Success Stories" page, our process for transforming work groups into teams starts with executive assessment and coaching at the highest levels of the organization. Obviously, this requires some degree of openness and vulnerability on the part of the top leadership. We have found over the past several years, however, that the severe isolation from the daily action of the organization's core businesses often creates a hunger in executives at the top for connection. They seek this connection in many different ways, whether it is in monthly lunches with employee groups or personal visits to customer sites, off-site retreats with their key subordinates or "fun" annual meetings for all employees at resorts and entertainment centers.
We find that our executive assessment process is of great value in opening up executives to the vision of what can be in their organization because it immediately launches them on a path of deepening self-understanding and self-commited personal change.
The task for us as consultants then becomes assisting them in extending this new personal alignment they are experiencing between their goals and their everyday actions to a longer-term change process for the organizations for which they have responsibility. Our processes show them how to become better leaders, coaches and facilitators for system-wide change processes. For those who have not been successful at gathering input before making key decisions, we teach them the precise behaviors that are needed to credibly involve staff in problem-solving and decision-making. Those who have experienced communication blocks learn step-by-step techniques on how to better send out and process information in a way that leads to trust, credibility and connectedness.
The Executive's Role in Team Building
We do not see team building as an event, but as a process, even though off-site team-building "events" can be useful tools for kicking off a change process and/or disrupting harmful and negative group behavior patterns that occur in everyday work life in the office or at client sites.
Teams, like houses, must be constructed one step at a time. The most important thing an executive can do who wants to build a team is to practice the principles of executive community on a consistent basis. This means always looking for ways to gather and then put to use input and suggestions from staff, creating harmony between different divisions and departments of the organization, acting as a responsible member of the management team, and partnering with other executives, within and outside the organization, to achieve the objectives of the long-term corporate strategy and vision.
Our Role in Team Building
As external consultants, we see our role as finding creative ways to partner with our clients on the inside of their organization to create community and teamwork at all levels.
In addition to our executive and assessment processes that create the readiness infrastructure for successful organizational change management, we custom design and present off-site events that are designed to examine current team functioning, paint a picture for what it could be like, and collaborate to concretely move people toward their collective vision.
We use a wide variety of tools and processes, including role plays, dialogue, games, and other forms of interactive, experiential team building activities. As always, we rely heavily on assessment instruments both before and after these events to ensure that we are basing our intervention on real understanding.
If you're looking for consulting support on your organization's executive issues that is both "down-to-earth" and "leading-edge," contact us or give us a call at 800-513-8759 . We'll schedule a no-cost, no-pressure meeting at a convenient time in your office. We look forward to hearing from you!