Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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We want to do a teambuilding activity for our advisory firm. We get along reasonably well, but we are always passing one another in the hallways on our way to our next meeting or phone call. I run the firm, and I’d really like to get everyone engaged in an activity that would be fun but also meaningful. Do you have any ideas?
I commend you for thinking about this. The best time to consider teambuilding is when you want to strengthen the ties that bind your employees together, and not — necessarily — when there’s something wrong. There are two main types of teambuilding. One is pure fun; it’s just about engagement. For this type of teambuilding, you could volunteer at a local charity or hire a consultant who works with teams to build bicycles from scratch. There are also outdoors activities such as bungee jumping and rock climbing if you have reasonably athletic advisors.
The other type of teambuilding is what I would refer to as “teambuilding with a purpose,” and it’s my preferred type. This is where you get your team in a room or outside of the office to talk about what success looks like to all of you. You can review what’s working and what’s not and talk about your alternatives for addressing some of your challenges. Ultimately you come up with solutions that everyone agrees to implement together. You can look at different communication styles, establish ground rules and find ways to engage on an ongoing basis instead of just leaving the teambuilding session and going back to passing each other the next day in the halls.
For this type of teambuilding, you want to use a structured approach with an agenda and then have the staff working together to problem-solve and come up with action plans. I’ve found that there are few things that solidify relationships better than working together in a productive way and coming up with actionable ideas to implement!