Let's Avoid the Cheese Factor in Team Alignment

You have got to Google images for “team building”. The only way it could get cheesier is if these visualizations of team building were cross-stitched. Yes, it’s that bad. Images of coworkers building an actual human pyramid, a group of smiling business people high-fiving in a huddle, and we can’t forget the interlocked puzzle pieces. Where would we be without those?

Let’s Go to the Woods and Sing

Let’s not. The reality is that while it’s nice to get out of the office, no one really wants to do this stuff. To be honest, team alignment events do help workers better understand each other, and become more effective when working together. That being said, employers have to be more thoughtful about what they put their workers through in the name of “team building”.

Team alignment exercises get everyone out of the deadline, corporate structure mindset, and help them focus on socializing informally. They present a chance to improve problem-solving and communications skills within a team, and build trust as well. Unfortunately, if team-building initiatives aren’t created strategically, they can have quite the opposite effect.

In the Name of Team Alignment…

First, the person in charge of arranging team alignment exercises should have at least a basic understanding of the team climate. Very often executives who have no context are the ones who choose and arrange team-building efforts. What sense does that make? It is vital to take into consideration how the team currently interacts. If the point is to align your team, you have to know their strengths and weaknesses.

Competition

Did you know that 42% of survey respondents reported that verbal fights and shouting matches are common in the workplace? Maybe a rousing volleyball game or paintball match aren’t going to be your best bet. When personal conflicts are present in the workplace, competitive exercises might increase hostility instead of bringing workers together. On the other hand, if competition has traditionally brought out the best in your team, have at it! It’s all about knowing your team.

Communication

You can’t go wrong with any and all communication exercises, especially when communication is weak. 96% of survey respondents cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. If your workers are on remote teams, or rarely communicate with one another, focus your efforts on communication.

Focus

Infrequent and non-strategic focus on team alignment is a waste of time. Employers and leaders must put forth continuous focus; one annual event does not an aligned team make, especially in the long-term. Team alignment has to be part of the corporate culture –allowing employees to connect, trust and learn from one another.

Alright, alright so these sub-heads are looking a little “motivational poster-y”. A little cheese never hurt anybody, but it really isn’t necessary in team alignment, especially if you have the right tools.

Team Alignment Tools

Psychometric testing has become insanely popular among business owners and managers, often in the form of team building software. These short, fun tests take the subjective matters in team alignment, and make them as objective as possible, so that leaders can assess a proper fit when assembling and maintaining teams.

Team alignment/employee assessment tools can be utilized at any point in the employee lifecycle, not just in recruiting. These tests and assessments are ideal for constructing better teams, engaging your contingent workforce and even remote workers.

So send out a memo right now –All employees: You can stop Googling prices on rock climbing shoes. They can simply take a fun, quick assessment that will give you and your management team important insights that will help them make workforce decisions. These assessments help discover motivators, preferred work environments, even the right management style for every person you work with…or want to work with. You can also discover your own work style and how to become even better at your job. Oh yeah, and create amazing, fully aligned teams too.

Bio: Ryan Mead, CEO/Partner

Vitru is an online application that provides tools to evaluate and build better teams. Powered by science yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams. From students and nonprofits to Fortune 500 companies Vitru works!

Great organizations, regardless of size or mission, understand that powerful team chemistry is impossible to force; but when it happens, it’s magic.

Vitru allows team leaders to create and assess teams virtually and in doing so helps quantify what makes an outstanding team outstanding.

Want more? Visit our blog and sign up to automatically receive our fresh-weekly articles.

Tweet me at @GoVitru

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