I came across the Wrike project management blog when I was searching for some team building activities for a retreat. The title, “Ultimate Guide to Team Building Activities that Don’t Suck,” caught my attention. There are a lot of options to try even for the most cynical people on the team. Check it out and let me know if any worked for you!
I am reminded every day about the importance that teams play at work. My appreciation of teams started early in my career but it was quite a while later that I studied the team process as a graduate student in my forties. In one course, I practiced the strategies to build effective teams at a state government agency I worked for at the time. Today as a business owner and consultant, I use what I learned then and gained more experience in the team process through delivering services to clients. These services include collaborative projects with newly formed and seasoned teams. To this day, I refer to Susan Wheeler’s book, Creating Effective Teams: A Guide for Members and Leaders in its fifth edition.
It is okay when a team spins and circles back to what seems like the same discussion. New membership may contribute to this but it is part of the process to build a team’s common understanding or common ground when there are different viewpoints. Sometimes the team members share the same goal or value but they have different ways to get there. An effective team gets that and defines a structure to move forward when conflict comes up. It may take more than one meeting time to get to this place and different strategies to get the team members to focus on what they agree on rather than what they disagree about, which interferes with the process and result.
Some strategies from Wheeler’s book and my experience to support the team process includes:
- Discuss with the team why it is important to work together as a team from the viewpoint of the company, partners, customers, and each team member. Teams are often brought together by leadership but each team member can become engaged by knowing how the team’s work adds value to their work.
- Identify a structure to resolve disagreements and track key decisions for the record. This helps reduce the amount of time in the team process to circle back to conversations that seem the same. It also reduces confusion that can plague team meetings.
- Celebrate a team’s achievement and recognize the process that got the team to that place.
Team members may appreciate the process more and understand that different viewpoints and debate helped the team succeed.
It is about the journey. I have never been one to support this until looking back at what I have done in my career and personal life. For example, now that I am over fifty, I still value the goals I have set. These include for example expanding my business clientele, losing weight and becoming debt free in 2016. If the focus is solely on the results, it is easy to feel defeated or that it is hard. But I like to put one foot forward with celebrating the first, second and third step in the process. There are a lot of self-help books, motivational speakers, groups and organizational supports out there to help focus on the simple steps. The Let’s Move campaign does this with tips to increase physical fitness and improve nutrition.
A recent Forbes article offers four tips to succeed in your business life. One of the tips was to work on the goal you set once a week for an hour towards your goal to success in business. Seems simple enough and no doubt you would live and breathe the journey in the process. So the next time you feel defeated or that the goal is out of your reach, think about what you did. Did it make a small positive difference? If it did not make a difference, what did you learn from the experience? This may help identify a new step. I know I learn from mistakes but my mom taught me perseverance growing up. Make lemonade out of lemons!
When I attended the University of Vermont in the 80s, I learned there were five dimensions of health. These dimensions included physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.
I also learned that there was a connection across these dimensions. A good example in my life is how stress affects what I eat. I reach for sweets and caffeine. I know a strategy like taking a walk can help me. Some people swear by meditation and deep breathing exercises. I tried this but find that physical activity helps me most of the time. The key is to find the right tool that works for you to counter a trigger to behavior that can affect wellness if the pattern continues.
The University of California lists seven dimensions that add the occupational and environmental dimensions of wellness. Regardless of how it is framed, wellness is sensed on a continuum. The perceptions and feelings of wellness matter on an individual, family and community level. Awareness is the first step followed by understanding wellness across the dimensions. Finally strategies help us take action to make change to improve the sense of well-being.
I look forward to the Worksite Wellness Conference: Healthy Employees Add to a Healthy Bottom Line, on March 25, 2015 at the Sheraton Conference Center, Burlington, VT. The workshops are great for employers, employees and human resource professionals. For more information go to the Vermont Department of Health website or register at healthvermont.gov. Hope to see you there!