Team Building Evaluation

A strong team is a diverse group of people; united by trust; united by a challenge that calls for their very best. Outdoor corporate activities are an ideal way to engage and delight your staff.

Does your team match that description?

Where is your team most powerful- diversity, unifying trust, unifying challenge, serving at their optimum level? And where does your team need help?

Insecure or arrogant team leaders often make the mistake of creating teams of people just like them. Because while it may be faster and easier working with people like us, they tend to have the same perspectives, weak points, and blind spots. The result, like an inbred species, is a weaker team. A team of purely logical, task oriented types will forget that we’re all in the people business; a team of relational, unstructured types might be too busy partying to accomplish the job.

There are other checklists you can use to assess your team. But in the meantime, mull on this: In what ways does your team need more diversity?

Lencioni’s book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team identifies low trust as a universal team problem; and behind that problem is a reluctance by team members and team leaders to be honest about their weak spots.

It is very unlikley that a team will grow in this area except if there is a team leader willing to break the ice with personal vulnerability..

One idea to help spark this openness that leads to trust is to ask team members to tell a big mistake they’ve made in their personal or work lives in the recent past.

A strong team also needs a test to coalesce around.

I first found this basic principle articulated in the book The Wisdom of Teams, by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith. In the prologue they make this summarizing statement that is reiterated again and again: “A demanding performance challenge tends to create a team. The hunger for performance is more important to team success than team-building exercises, special incentives, or team leaders with ideal profiles. In fact, teams often form around such challenges without any help or support from management. Conversely, potential teams without such challenges usually fail to become teams.”

If your workgroup is operating at a low level, perhaps it’s because there is no challenge that requires them to pull together and give their best. Or, perhaps there is a challenge but it’s not clear- they don’t know who the “enemy” is. Or, there is a clear challenge but it’s so small that it’s not compelling. Business as usual will achieve it, and they’re bored.

Here’s the litmus test: If your team’s problem isn’t crystal clear to you right now, it’s likely that your team doesn’t have one. And it must. A team rises up when there is a clear and compelling challenge. A strong team is “a diverse group of people, united by trust, and by a challenge, that calls for their best.” Use this tool to evaluate your team quickly and effectively. Read more about team building games.