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Team-Building: Building For The New Year
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Team-Building: Building For The New Year- Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Building For The New Year

Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Building For The New Year

A new year is a blank canvas laden with opportunity and fresh starts. It’s popular nowadays to treat new year’s resolutions like some archaic tradition that means well while nobody really takes it to heart, but this is a cynic’s thinking, and it defeats many of the aims good organizations take: resilience, goal-setting, vision, and meaningful engagement are severely handicapped by a defeatist attitude scoffing at resolutions. Of course, merely setting a resolution without some kind of meaningful, measurable plan for follow through is as bad as never setting one at all, so if you’re going through the motions of having your team start the year with creative goals for team-building, be prepared to provide structure and support, or the pessimists will win.

As we have suggested many times, true team-building comes when people do meaningful work together. The camaraderie that emerges when people believe they are contributing to something important cannot be gained through any number of trust falls or ropes courses. With this in mind, your best new year’s team-building activity will be something that takes steps toward making the work more efficient and effective. Have your team identify the next couple of big projects (or busy seasons, or stressful deadlines), addressing anticipated difficulties and strategizing for dealing with them before they pop up. Let the teams be creative and open in brainstorming immediate and underlying problems, with time spent solving these problems ahead of time. As teams come up with solutions, approach their suggestions with a “say yes” approach to any need for support, if at all possible, whether your approval is a question of funding, role-shifting, or policy change.

If you have something more social in mind (for example, if you took our suggestion about having the holiday celebration in January instead of in December), your goal is more goodwill-oriented than process-and-product-oriented, so put everything you have into nurturing that goodwill, and then ride the momentum of that goodwill when everyone’s back in the office the following week. Remember to focus on the newness of the season, rather than on mistakes made in the past year. In other words, have your social team-building event, then direct your team toward work goals while everyone’s still glowing from the experience. This is a time for hope and optimism.

Another way to build goodwill and camaraderie is to direct team-building activities outward, rather than inward. For your new year’s activity, have your teams each select a charitable organization in your company’s neighborhood, and set goals for the coming year about how the team will support the charity. Supporting the goals with company time will ensure active participation from all parties, and letting the teams choose their own beneficiaries will multiply the buy-in, and when it comes to building teams, buy-in is nearly the entire battle.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that the new year is no place for negativity, so a lot of the team-building stand-bys should probably be avoided. There is undoubtedly a time for hard-hitting, under-a-magnifying-glass examination, and while the rah-rah cheerleader approach seldom works, there’s ground in the middle where, understanding a team’s challenges, its members can look through the lens of optimism toward a fresh 366 days of working and growing. Resolve to make it happen.


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Team-Building: Building For The New Year- Executive Leadership Articles

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