When it comes to team building, motivational speeches and “fun” activities have always been the first choice. However, businesses and organizations have changed now. They want to see results that are more sustainable; results that will actually last.
That’s where ‘Appreciative Enquiry’ comes into play. This particularly new approach to team building focuses on the strengths of an organization and on what works for them. It is an approach that is quite different from the old “problem solving” method.
Today’s organizations and businesses also need to be more resilient as competition isn’t just domestic anymore. Real leadership is what is needed to guide, inspire, and empower teams to achieve sustainable performance.
However, managers have found it very hard to do so in the past. Fortunately, this little cheat sheet on team building exercises can help implement those changes.
The Cheat Sheet
1. The key is to get the entire group involved, across every level. It should be made clear that negativity, in any form or manner, will not be accepted. Positive mindsets must be made the norm.
2. All members taking part must be made aware of the objectives. In this case, it is about conducting discussions and channeling everybody’s focus towards improving the team’s strengths, their positive experiences in the past, what is currently working for them and the steps that should be taken to improve this.
3. Participation by everyone must be encouraged. This must be done by making participation safe. Agreements on what will be allowed and what will not be allowed must be established. For instance, naming, shaming, or blaming are some of the things that need to be avoided.
4. Create a trust level scale and ask members to mark their team’s trust scores periodically, during the team building process. Discuss the various aspects that influence or impact trust in a team. Discuss what can be done to improve the trust levels.
5. Create a “talking circle” among the teams. Ask them to discuss topics such as previous leadership experiences that were positive, positive team building experiences, and what they would like to see more of in their work environment.
6. Convince groups to agree and record the various methods or activities that they will stop, start or continue once they get back to their original workspace.
7. Encourage input and participation from all members. Try and make the learning process a fun experience.
8. Teach the teams about AQ (Adversity Intelligence), PsyCap, or RESILIENCE. Ask them to adopt a growth-oriented mindset. Teach them to self-talk and adopt an attitude of resilience, as individuals and as entire teams.
9. All titles and position labels must be removed before going ahead with the exercise. Each member must adopt a pseudo-identity. For instance, they can pretend to be their favorite role model.
10. Discuss with the teams about how they are maintaining their stop, start and continue agreements.
11. If there is a consensus on making changes in a certain area, take immediate action to make the changes. Provide feedback regularly and maintain constant communication.
The Take Away
Don’t be a manager that just talks. Learn to walk the walk as well. That is the only way to build trust. The most productive staff is one that is resilient, engaged, challenged and satisfied. By focusing on the “improve what is working” approach of Appreciative Enquiry, you can change the workplace into a wholesome and productive environment.