There is two Extremes in the Corporate Team Building World;
- Team Building should focus on real problems and be anchored in reality. Activities and Simulations are a waste of time!
- Team Building should be used to explore work in a non-reality focused way. Activities and Simulations are the most effective way!
There are benefit to both of these ideas and as most arguments both sides are convincing. I know this is a lame stance to take.
Since reading an article on the RSVP blog; I have been thinking more about how to use team building to break teams out of their reality based work and allow them to try something different (through a team building activity) then determine what worked and see what if any can be put into their existing work.
Moving closer to the non-reality focused end.
For example you are working with a team to teach them to decrease the time it takes to complete a project and send it to the customer. This is connected to a myriad amount of Machines, Materials, Methods, Measurement, Mother Nature (the environment), and the People in the process. These factors are called 5m’s and 1p.
In the ‘Not Grounded in Reality Camp’ I would probably share Plan;Do;Check;Act (PDCA) and learn what other methods they use within the team.
BUT exploring what they do in their daily work…they may feel a certain stuckness and not be able to see how they can improve upon what they are already doing.
During the activity, work with the team to process how to use PDCA to decrease project completion while still keeping defects (mistakes) to a minimum. Illustrating to the team how to make the improvement in an experiment, being the team building activity, then applying the method / model to that activity can develop the results.
Now the team-members understand that there may be small improvements they can make in their work, using a similar process that we just did with the team building activity.
The final part comes back to reality (somewhat) and you work with the team to determine what can be useful to them in what we just did and the lessons learned from the activity.
For example…the team was able to improve their time for 0 defect completion of the Cycle Time Puzzle from 30 minutes to 30 seconds, this was accomplished through the use of PDCA. The teams objective was to decrease the order in, order out to customer time. How can we use the same idea and methods to complete that task?
By having the team 1. try something different enough, that seems to not be related to their daily routine; 2. Use the model / method and experience results in a short period; 3. break from the stuckness of This is the way we always do things.
Can conclude with the team achieving its goal, through the use of team building activities.
What do you think?
Does team building have to be only focused on real work? In what ways can the use of team building activities be useful to the real work to be completed? Do you have any other examples, or counter examples to share?
michael cardus is create-learning
image by Camera Eye Photography