Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.
– Casey Stengel, manager of 7 World Series winning teams
Our work group had gathered for a morning of team building: a role-playing game in which we’d need to work together to solve a series of puzzles. At precisely the appointed starting time, the facilitator burst in and announced that he’d locked the door from outside and the game would begin.
“But one of our people isn’t here,” someone said. (In fact, the missing member had been delayed by a work-related call and had let us know that she was about 5 minutes away.)
“It doesn’t matter,” the facilitator said dismissively. “The rules are clear. We begin on time.”
“No,” our manager replied. “We wait for her.”
No one else said a word. But it was clear that everyone in the room — except the badly outnumbered facilitator — stood in complete agreement.
If team building was what we’d come for, then mission accomplished.
The facilitator muttered something about deducting 5 minutes from the time of the game, which elicited a collective shrug, turned on his heel, and huffed out of the room.
Soon the last member arrived and the game proceeded. Each of us learned about our interaction styles and about how we function together. But for me the most meaningful team building occurred at the moment we all agreed, with no words passing between us, that we wouldn’t leave a member behind.
That shared experience affirmed what all of us, I think, already knew: we have a strong team. From long experience, I know that strong teams don’t just happen.
What can you, as a manager or as a team member, do to build strong teams? Continue reading