What to look for in a Team building program

IMG_1878_blog_There’s no denying that Teamwork is essential for any group or organization. The benefits of a cohesive team is invaluable for any organization. A 20th century inventor, industrialist and successful businessman, Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”Nowadays, team development and leadership trainings have become a popular program for the training department. A team spirit is deemed as one of the most important values and required traits for people to have. It’s no wonder HR managers will seek expert help in order to acquire it.

My past article “Is your Team building training worth the investment?” raises the point of how team development programs may have been trivialized and confused with fun company events – when in actuality they are 2 parallel but different things.

I want to address how you can make the most out of your team building program, and also lend you a couple of tips on what to look for in a good program to make your training investment worth while.

Experience is our best Teacher

While there are plenty of learning methods out there, there’s nothing that teaches us better than our own experience. An education method that uses the students’ own experience and pushes them to grow outside of their comfort zone is called Experiential Learning. I believe experience to be one of the most effective ways through which human beings learn. When something (good or bad) happens to you, you’ll remember the experience and understand the learning much better than if you didn’t experience it yourself. Imagine learning to ride a bike for the first time. Scene A. Imagine doing it by just reading a manual. Scene B. Imagine doing it by actually trying to ride the bike. Which scene do you think will work more effectively? You’re right, Scene B.

In the same light, in a team building program that uses Experiential learning method, your team is directly engaged in a relationship building experience by exercising communication, coordination, leadership, followership. Essentially, instead of just learning about building teamwork from some theory, you are actually learning through it from practice.

While a team building program should be engaging and active,  make sure your teams go home with CHANGES:

1. Change in Paradigm

When a person decides to shift his way of thinking, a change in paradigm is taking place. A good team building program should be able to facilitate awareness of a person in the context of community. It acts like a mirror for the team and team members to see how they are, how they work and interact together. They should be able to reflect on the weak and strong points and where they can develop more. In essence, a good team building program is able to empower self-development and self-transformation of each team member from bad to good, from good to better, from better to great. The first step of transformation is for someone to say “I can change”.

2. Change in Behavior

A development program is a link between the “past and future”. People should take away from a training a sense of empowerment and a set of tools to act on it. It’s not enough to know about your weakness if you won’t do anything to improve it, vice versa it’s not enough to know about your strong points if you won’t put them in good use. Awareness that is followed by commitment and action can move mountains, so to speak. In the same light, a good team building program should be able to generate commitment and action of each individual team member as well as the team as a whole. The next step of transformation is for someone to say “I will change”.

Wendy Kusumowidagdo

Wendy Kusumowidagdo

Wendy Kusumowidagdo is the Senior Consultant for Outward Bound Indonesia. Her passion is to help people in reaching their best potentials in life. She has coached various corporations and businesses. A regular contributor for Indonesian and international management and business publications. She loves the outdoors and is an avid blogger. Follow her twitter @wendykusumow or email her at wendy@outwardboundindo.org

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