Team building can give a powerful boost to the spirit and effectiveness of any group. Well-designed and delivered team building programs can lead your group to a better understanding, clearer alignment and much stronger motivation to work and succeed together.
Organizing a team building event is a big responsibility that does call for customer service leadership skills. The next time the responsibility lands on your shoulders, use these ten customer service leadership ideas to make your event a well-planned and memorable success.
1. Set the tone with an inspiring theme.
Use customer service leadership skills to telegraph the tone and purpose of your event with a theme that hits the mark. “The Third Annual Team Building Program” is not going to excite many participants.
Here are examples of themes my clients have used to motivate and communicate with their teams: “Rocket to the Top, Together!” (for a software company seeking to achieve dominant market share), “The Winning Team” (for a financial services group seeking to overcome competitors and economic adversity), “Forging a New Alliance” (for a diverse medical services group managing a complete reorganization of roles and departments).
2. Prime the pump for full participation.
Employ customer service leadership skills and use internal communication to get everyone interested and ready for the event. Use e-mail, printed memos, websites, bulletin boards, posters and meetings to arouse people’s curiosity, and circulate a list of objectives and issues for the meeting.
You could conduct a survey prior to the meeting and announce the results during the program. Have individuals prepare essential business presentations. Create cross-functional teams to deliver the evening entertainment.
3. Conduct the program off-site.
Major team-building programs are frequently conducted off-site. This allows participants to get away from the workplace physically (minimizing disruptions) and mentally (opening their thinking to new points of view). Moving the venue is a good use of customer service leadership skills to improve the program.
4. Use a mix of energy, enterprise and entertainment.
Use customer service leadership to stimulate interest and involvement by employing a full range of team building activities. You can have “work hard” sections with speeches about the future and workshops on current business problems. You can have “play hard” sections with team games or outdoor challenges. A balance of both shows customer service leadership.
And you can include social sections with mealtime activities, awards and evening entertainment.
Use customer service leadership skills to carefully sequence your activities throughout the day and evening. Be especially careful to follow lunches with some physical activity and to end your program with a strong note of confidence and commitment.
5. Allow enough time to process, discuss and apply.
Allow some time between each activity for discussion about new learning and application to the job. It’s better to have a full day with two team building games and enough time for discussion, than a “stuffed” day with three or four games but little time for reflection. Moderation speaks to excellence customer service leadership skills.
6. Focus on new actions with ‘more, less, start, and stop’.
During the program, exercise customer service leadership and have participants develop clear answers to the following questions:
“‘What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to do more of?”
“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to do less of?”
“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to start doing?”
“What do you want (the other person, department, etc.) to stop doing?”
Toward the end of your program, have participants make a list of personal commitments:
“What am I committed to do more of?”
“What am I committed to do less of?”
“What am I committed to start doing?”
“What am I committed to stop doing?”
7. Use photos and videos to extend the program’s impact.
Engage a photographer to document your team building program. Give copies of special photographs to your participants after the event. Post the best photographs on your bulletin boards, in the cafeteria or publish them in the company newsletter. Put them on your company’s website so your teams’ family members can view them from home.
If you record on video, have the footage edited with music and snappy graphics. Show this entertaining vignette another time at a company meeting or social event.
8. Harness the power of peripheral players.
When selecting participants for your program, use customer service leadership and be willing to include those related to, but not permanent members of, the core group. Internal customers, suppliers, and neighboring departments could all provide a few participants who are “closely related” to your core group.
These “peripheral players” can add significant value, perspective and insight to your program. They can also help with appropriate communication inside and outside your organization after the event is over. Including them is just good customer service leadership.
9. Get personal.
Make sure everyone sees the link between “group team building” and “individual action” on the job. Exercise customer service leadership to have each person complete a commitment card, action plan, personal promise statement or some other means to ensure they apply appropriate new behaviors.
Closing a team building program by having everyone share their list of commitments and action plans is a good way to gain buy-in from individuals and unite the entire group. It is also a good demonstration of customer service leadership.
10. Reward the organizers.
Planning and preparing a team building program is a major undertaking. Be sure exercise customer service leadership and give recognition to those who did the work “behind the scenes.” A thoughtful gift, given in front of everyone at the end of the program, will be appreciated and remembered.