When you’re managing a newly formed team in a professional environment, sometimes it’s hard to bring everyone together. With some effort and planning, though, you can develop a close-knit, hard working team in no time.
When it comes to getting top-level work out of your employees, there’s no better method than building a strong team and company culture. You have access to the major benefits that only close collaboration can bring, with focused groups of distinct individuals dedicated to solving problems and formulating strategies as one unit for new levels of success.
But creating a collaborative team isn’t as easy as hiring a few high performers and hoping they’ll become outstanding collaborators.
Especially in competitive fields, not everyone is always ready and willing to be a team player right off the bat — they have their own career to think of, after all.
That’s why one of the most important things to do after selecting individuals for your team is to make sure they prioritize collective goals as well as how they can be productive for the company by themselves. To do that, sometimes you have to think outside the box, put your team in new, unorthodox situations, and let the bonding begin.
Consider creative team building
A great way to bring your team together is through team building games in your workspace. That way, the group can find common ground in the same place where they take care of business. At the end of a long week, you can take some time out of the schedule or just plan a happy hour event to dedicate to a fun activity.
You might be thinking that these types of team building exercises won’t appeal to anyone outside of the summer camp set. If you take the traditional route, that will probably be the case. There’s nothing worse than treating a group of professionals like children, and no one likes “trust falls.”
But if you follow the advice of Emily Bonnie at the Outcollaborate Blog, you’ll be sure to find an office friendly game that will get people excited to work together. An activity like “Paper Plane Contest” can foster a healthy sense of friendly competition, while something like “Battle of the Airbands” can provide a silly way to hone collaborative sensibilities.
Bond outside of the workplace
You can’t always do bonding activities in the office. If you have a large team, office events can disrupt the work day, and it pays to take the group out of the familiar as much as it does to stay within it.
That way, your team has the opportunity to have positive interactions with each other outside the workplace without all the baggage that comes with being on the clock, providing much needed humanization to their relationships.
The best thing to do out of the office is plan a special day trip on the company’s dime, so that your employees are genuinely excited to take part. Brian Scudamore of O2E Brands calls team building “the most important thing you can do for your people” and urges managers to be comfortable getting outside of the office for their events. This way, with the pressures of the workplace and competition off, more organic bonding can take place.
Inspire with experts
After allowing team members the chance to bond in and outside of the office, you can drive the point home by inspiring them as a group through an outsider’s expert perspective.
By hosting a great keynote speaker who focuses on team building, your employees can hear about the incredible things teams can achieve from someone other than you, and be spurred to even greater levels of collaboration and success.
Stephen Shapiro, a business innovation guru, for example, inspires teams to push the envelope of technology and traditional business practices. His keynotes provoke intelligent discussion and growth without fail.
Or to really show the power of teamwork and collaboration applied in a larger context, reps from Afterburner, Inc. speak about the combat-proven methodologies of elite military members who have gone on to be successful in the business world.
Either way, hiring a professional speaker can provide the big ideas and togetherness needed for your team to really mesh.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Ken Sterling is the Chief Marketing Officer at BigSpeak Speakers’ bureau – the leading keynote and business speakers bureau in the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California and an MBA from Babson College. Ken teaches Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy at UC Santa Barbara. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business consultant and sales & marketing expert. Connect with @bigspeak on Twitter.
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