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5 effective steps to better team-building at work and at home

Posted June 13

It’s interesting to realize that 97 percent of employees and executives say that lack of team alignment directly impacts every business project, and yet nearly 40 percent say there isn’t enough team collaboration in their organization. Would it surprise you to also know that despite advances in technology and the ubiquitous Internet, households are also feeling more and more misaligned?

Wherever your business or family is at with teamwork, it could probably use some building up.

For your business and family team-building to become effective, you must first identify the challenges your group is facing. Then you can effectively plan activities to address these barriers directly — to make sure that your business team will actually reap some benefits from the activity. Avoid competition, and aim to have team-building part of your daily corporate culture, instead of an annual event. Here are some steps suggested by successful business people.

Treat your business and home as a team sport

In former General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s book, "Winning; The Ultimate Business How-to Book," he writes, "Doesn't make any difference what size your company is: five people, or 5,000 or 150,000, for that matter. Doesn't matter if it's in Gary, Indiana, churning out steel, or in Palo Alto cooking up code. … Business is not a 'me' thing. It's a 'we' thing. It's an 'I'll take all the advice and ideas and help I can get' thing."

Famous football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Work for positive outcomes at work and at home

Andrew Filev is the CEO of information technology company Wrike. He’s all about positive interactions not only with customers but with his teams: “I try to discover what people are doing right as team players, not get down on them for what they still need to learn. When they know I have their back, they find it easier to pull together for innovation velocity.”

Getting to know you

Start by having every team member secretly write down two truths about themselves and a single lie on a piece of paper. Don’t reveal to anyone else what you have written! Once each person has done this step, allow about 15 minutes for open conversation, where everyone queries each other on their three questions. The idea here is to convince others that your lie actually is a truth, while you try to guess other people’s truths vs. lies by questioning them. Don’t give away your truths or tell lies to anyone — even if most of the office has it already figured out. Then, gather in a circle and one by one state each one of your three statements and get the group to vote on which one they believe is the lie. This game helps encourage better team communication in the office, as well as letting you get to know your co-workers better.

Here are just two more team-building exercises:

The shrinking boat

This one helps teams with creative problem solving.

Use a rope, blanket or tape to mark a space on the floor.

Mark off a space on the floor, then have your whole group (or a group of smaller teams) stand inside that space. Then slowly shrink the space, so your team will have to think fast and work even faster together to keep everybody within the shrinking boundaries.

A day at the races

To help enhance collaboration skills, each team member is given a Pinewood Derby kit.

Have teams build and race their own pinewood cars. If you want to, go all out and let your teams create mascots and themes, and host an office tailgate party with snacks and music.

For further free ideas on team-building activities for the home and office, Teampedia offers a comprehensive list of activities to help build your team.

Tim Torkildson is a writer who prefers to read Shakespeare. His hobbies include meddling, snooping and jumping to conclusions. His awards include decorations from his Christmas tree and a medal from a box of Cracker Jacks.

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