Most people have a reference point of the magical power of real teamwork, but very few know how to create it. In view of the apparent complexity and many a deception, they opt for individual performance or settle for a second-rate team.
Teams produce stunning results because they are more than just the sum of their components. In fact, many objectives can only be achieved by a well-integrated team.
- Teambuilding is not a mechanical process (joining the appropriate components); it has to do with chemistry: decompose an established order and reassemble the elements in a more valuable composition.
- The team connection is rooted in the emotions (it cannot be reached by the rational mind)
- Team spirit goes far beyond “good vibes”. It’s based on deeper universal values like respect, trust and tolerance.
- Teambuilding can be learnt. It takes commitment, hard work and the existence of a common project.
- Teams have their own personality that can be moulded and matured. Once they have reached maturity, they keep their identity regardless of the coming of new and the going of old members.
Key points to build a team
1. The cohesion has its source in what makes us humane. Paradoxically, it is to be found in our vulnerability (which is not weakness) rather than in the display of our strengths. The inter-personal chemistry comes from shared experiences that have "touched" us. An adventure setting (journey, games, and physical activities) is helpful, but produces very little on its own. It requires moving inner experiences. The most effective way to produce them, is to combine the teambuilding with personal growth experiences in a beautiful natural setting.
2. Common focus: the team chemistry needs a solid focal point to be sustainable. We recommend sketching the strategic vision and agreeing on action plans in the course of a teambuilding event.
3. Like with any chemical process, a specific sequence must be respected (-> see detailed model).
4. The team spirit needs to be fed continuously with (preferably consensual) decisions to be made and a habit of giving and receiving quality feedback. From time to time it will need a special moment to reinforce the history of shared experiences.
5. The support of an external facilitator acting as catalyst (using the chemistry metaphor) is essential. It is almost impossible to assume that role as a team member, without polarising and jeopardizing the teambuilding process.