By November 29, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Don’t Blow it With Your Team Exercises – Keep it relevant and not a one-time-thing.

Don’t Blow it With Your Team Exercises – Keep it relevant and not a one-time-thing.

In a previous blog, I talked about a team exercise that left a powerful impression on me. It was the "Subarctic Survival Situation" by Human Synergistics.

That exercise was appropriate for the group I was with, but sometimes team building and leadership exercises don’t hit the mark and do more damage than good.Make sure the exercise is appropriate to the team. Some folks don't respond well to, or appreciate, the 'touchy feely' exercises or the ones that are somewhat childish. I experienced this first hand when our HR department put on some customer service training for my field staff a while back. I got lots of feedback from them afterwards – they felt they were being treated like children.

The session and content was developed by a head-office person who liked the soft issues and fun exercises. My staff were mostly highly experienced people in a very serious technical role. Not only was it delivered at a low-level that assumed they didn't know much about serving the customer, the exercises were also childish and didn't seem to have a direct connection to the topic. It wasn't a very good match.

The key lesson is that you need to consider the audience and don't develop exercises and initiatives that you think are fun and engaging - your audience may be completely different from you and if you don't adapt to their sensitivities, your initiative won't be successful.

Even beyond the audience itself, as a past employee, I was involved in many different exercises organized by the companies I worked for. I found that few were effective and truly translated to changed behavior, either in the session or most importantly, back on the job. To succeed, the exercises and team sessions have to be fully backed-up and reinforced by senior management who walk the talk and enable their employees to practice what they learn in the sessions.

And most importantly, you need to implement an overall strategy with great communication, visibility with your staff and a steady, consistent approach that constantly reinforces the message and the behavior. That’s a fundamental requirement of change management. Otherwise, change won’t be sustainable or will only be on the surface with either no real positive impact or even worst, with a negative impact.

About Michel Theriault

Michel is the founder of Success Fuel for Managers. He is an author, speaker and consultant focusing on topics relevant to Managers and aspiring Managers in businesses of all sizes who want to get results, get attention, and get ahead. He is also a contributor to Forbes and AllBusiness Experts . Michel is available for speaking engagements, training and consulting. Connect with him or send an email.

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