Beyond the Bowls Day – effective team building without the warm and fuzzies

In a recent conversation with a General Manager, he mentioned that, if he knew there was a significant change coming up for his company, he would organise extra ‘team building’ to help people get through it. His idea of team building was to organise a lawn bowls day, maybe give everyone a free day off and offer them company time to work on the Not for Profit of their choice. He knew that these things didn’t change anything but didn’t understand why.

His mistake is a common one; the idea that, by giving people something, they will feel more positive about work and therefore more able to cope with whatever happens there. If only we were that uncomplicated.

These activities are valuable and we recommend them to help boost morale, however successful change requires a targeted approach. You need to engage your people in the change and give them skills and tools to work with it.

This could mean running a planning workshop with key Managers and getting them involved in designing the implementation strategy (including the communication strategy) for the change.

It should certainly include running some workshops for senior leaders on how to lead people through change.

If the change is significant and wide reaching you should run some change readiness workshops for team members to involve them in the change and help them develop resilience skills so they can identify opportunities and work with them rather than just reacting to the change.

Engaging people in change and communicating regularly and appropriately about it will do far more for team morale and effectiveness than any number of lawn bowls days. Just ask your team.

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