With over a decade of team building and learning development experience, there is one question that we are often faced with –
“What should we do after the team building program?”
We have seen a lot of teams struggling to carry forward the learning from their event, thus making this question, extremely relevant. We have seen teams transformed after team building programs, but once back in the ‘real world,’ unknowingly all the learning or promises that they made during the program may vanish away. Thus, no matter how enriching the team building experience might be, it can only produce results once the outcomes are practiced in real life.
Below are 5 steps that will help carry forward the experiences gained during the teambuilding program.
1. Document the commitments
Once back from a team building program, schedule a follow-up session with your team. Enable experience sharing and encourage every member to share at least one commitment, to help accomplish the desired vision.
There are different ways to documents the commitments. The more visual, the better. You may ask everyone to write on a common vision board. Later during your weekly team meetings, take out time to revisit the said commitments.
2. Enable Accountability
It’s important to create a culture of accountability. This can be encouraged by maintaining open communication channels within your team. Habits are hard to break, and thus, accountability plays an important role. CreatIng a culture where your team is able to separate a problem from a person can go a long way. This mindset allows for impactful accountability, even in the smallest of things.
Also, when it comes to clear communication, managers need to lead by example. When the leadership team says one thing and does another, it sends the wrong message. Effective consequences to any said action also helps in enforcing said accountability.
3. Ask for feed-forward
Following a team building event, it is important to ask your team to share their feed-forward on the same. This can be done with an online questionnaire or an engaging face-to-face interaction. Your questions shpould include things like – what did they enjoy? Which part did they not enjoy? What did they learn? What could be improved?
It will help solve two purposes. This will allow you to check the effectiveness of the program. Also, such a discussion an lead to insightful conversations about the key take-always from the activity. It will allow your team members to understand what lessons they learned from the activity and how these learnings can be implemented into their daily work.
4. Informal team audit
While asking for feedback is one way to know the effectiveness of session, conducting an informal team audit is another. You can conduct an internal team audit through questionnaires or through face-to-face interaction. This assessment will help you uncover common team working challenges that your team might be facing. Also, it can give you insights into whether the team is applying the lessons learned from the activity to solve real-world problems at work.
You may create a list of common learnings and ask the team for actionable items to include in their daily routine.
5. Celebrate often
Team building programs are often successful for one important reason – team members have fun together. But, more than often, that’s the only time this happens.
Leaders should look for opportunities to celebrate. Be cautious least your celebrations turn transactional. Cutting a cake or going for a movie are hardly an effective team engagement activity. Instead, try experiences like Mystery Rooms or a cross fit obstacle course, which will enable your team to spend more time together.
After all, attending a team building program is just half the battle. It is what happens after that will define its overall effectiveness. Do let us know about your own experiences with team building activities and how effective have they proved for your team, in the comments.