How can team building be defined?
If you want dry vernacular, it can be defined as:
“…the use of different types of team interventions that are aimed at enhancing social relations and clarifying team members’ roles, as well as solving tasks and interpersonal problems that affect team functionality.”
OK then…What does that really mean?
To break it down, it simply means helping a team, any team, have the interpersonal relationships and role clarity needed to rock their tasks with excellence.
But honestly, you don’t need excellence to get things done. The daily tasks most teams do can be completed with all kinds of mediocrity and still get done – you probably observed that today. That is the distinction between rockin’ and, well, not – mediocrity: your team can be known for mediocrity and inconsistency, or consistent excellence.
For a team to rock it with excellence, like an athlete, musician, or anyone nailing it, there must be an investment in developing skills – practicing. And that is good team building: the practice that develops skills for excellence. And, per our last post, it can be fun (as long as it delivers). Practice is the context for mediocre to become excellent.
Like those born with natural talent, some teams are fortunate to attract people who come with the vision and personal skills to make the team soar. Still, even the most naturally talented, elite athletes spend time with a coach. They spend time practicing to get better and sustain their excellence. Even teams functioning at excellence need skill development time and coaching.
If yours is not the excellent team you envision (not wrong or bad, just awareness), there’s no need to settle for that; just practice! If you use the right team building to make the changes easy, rewarding and normal, and build solid skills in conflict resolution and communication, people and teams can and will move towards greatness. Team building is the action; your team culture (excellence or mediocrity) is the outcome. Unfortunately many organizations leave the culture development to chance, and that’s a guaranteed way to end up with the lowest common denominator behavior driving the team culture.
Taking time to develop the capacity (practice) for excellence in relationships (skills!), clarifying roles and the deepening the ability to coordinate cross functionally (alignment!) are investments in excellence that pay back with productivity, engagement, and fulfillment. And this is something every team can use.