We get asked all the time, “Is this team building thing worth it?” Does it really work? Fair questions. We often ask in response, very respectfully, “Is being fit worth it?” As you might imagine, we initially get a few blank stares – but of course, people inevitably answer, “Yes.”
Many of us, at least some point during a week, do at least a few things to care for our personal health and well-being. Whether through a workout, a supplement program, a walk or getting to bed early (even once a week), many of us actively engage in taking care of our health. And if/when we don’t, somewhere in our mind there is an awareness of needing to take some level of action. The more we take care of ourselves – the more we work out, eat well, get rest, the better we feel and ultimately the better we perform…there’s science to this and one does not need to read a study to know this to be true. The more fit you are, you simply know you feel better psychically and mentally.
It’s the same for teams. Strong leaders keep their team’s fitness a priority. Yes, the physical heal of your team members is of course important, and by team’s fitness we specifically mean how well the team works together. The more a person works out, the stronger and more fit they become. The more a team works out, the stronger and more fit the team becomes.
And that’s what good team building is about: workouts for your team. More power in communication, strength in innovative thinking, more robust cooperation, fortitude in problem solving – these are all developed in a solid team building process whether it be two hours or two days. The strength that a ‘fit’ team can generate becomes the ROI. Simply put, the stronger the team, the more they can lift…lift in this case being the workload, the challenges, the need for continual innovation. The more a team can lift, the more effective and efficient they can be. That’s why it’s worth it.
Ongoing team development (team workouts) are as it would be for your fitness – necessary. One workout is good, but it’s never enough to keep you fit – and you cannot just work one muscle group, you need them all. A program of cross-functional workouts whether they be monthly, quarterly or yearly keeps the gains sustained.
And as it’s important to do the workout correctly (to avoid injury and get the most gain – thus having a trainer or coach) a team’s workout becomes more effective and efficient with the right trainer/facilitator.
It’s interesting to note that this ‘team fitness’ rarely comes about as a function of the daily work process. This is because folks are typically focused on just getting their tasks done – rather than how well they are working together. Teams that spend time developing themselves outside the work day, bring better teamwork skill to the ‘doing’ of the work.
As you look to make your personal fitness a goal for the New Year, consider expanding that to the total fitness of your team.