Building Capacity...

—> Through Team Building

After attending innumerable workshops and exercises, jaded employees often come to view teamwork with distrust — and not without some justification. Over the years the term has strayed from its original meaning and in many quarters it has become a bad euphemism for an unquestioning compliance to an inflexible authority. It's no wonder that announcements of team building retreats elicit groans among even the most committed employees.

So what, then, can be done?

For the Center, teamwork is not a slogan but rather a serious undertaking. We have developed a proven approach which restores its original meaning (as a synergistic group of individuals whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts) and which evaluates and measures the extent to which staff persons, departments, and even programs complement each other in order to facilitate a holistic service to the mission. If your staff, however skilled, frequently operates out of synch or at cross-purposes, the Center's team building service can help.

The traditional enemies of working together as a team are thought to be such things as turf wars, information hoarding, battles for resources and recognition, and any number of other ego-based attributes. But the good news is that teamwork is actually skill which can be taught and developed. More often than not the problems are less about psychology than about simple "mechanics"; and thus we need not reduce personal initiative and entrepreneurial energy but rather only refocus them so that teamwork and collaboration can operate in the context of the larger systems of the organization.

This, in a nutshell, is the Center approach. We have found that most teams already possess the authority they need to reduce the externally imposed barriers that have stymied them in the past; so we identify and measure the current organizational baseline, help each group define the results they seek, and then work in a team relationship with them to co-create success. There is nothing better for adult learners than to experience a process even as they are learning it.

And it's not only with an existing staff that the Center addresses itself to team building; we seek to bake the "team ethos" into organization recruiting and hiring. It's crucial to evaluate applicants in the context in which they will work, and, moreover, even prior to hiring, it's crucial to apply the team concept into the organization structure itself as various roles and positions are defined. After all, sometimes it's less about the people than about the roles and job descriptions which are themselves out of alignment with each other.

When the team realignment takes place on all these levels, and when recognition of individual success is based directly on the success of the organization as a whole, even the most independent individual can learn to co-operate with and empower others as a member of a team. And this transformation is a sight to behold — surpassed only by the dividends in outcomes it pays to the full staff, organization, and stakeholders of the mission.