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Why is team building an important investment for any organisation?
The ultimate outcome of establishing an organisation is for it to achieve what it set out for – be it selling a product, or providing a service – and it is not necessarily measured in monetary terms. In order for any organisation to reach the optimal state, the greatest resource is its people. It starts with one individual with passion and commitment, making a conscious effort to collaborate well with the other members, and as a team, accomplishes a common goal.
But sometimes, we just need a little push for us to go further. The ‘push’ that an organisation needs to reach its optimal stage, is team building. See it this way; for gears in a machine to work smoothly, they need to be well oiled. Team building is the oil that helps each gear (individual) to function better, and in turn, for the whole machine (organisation) to operate effectively.
In 1995, Steve Jobs shared a metaphor about rocks and the impact of teamwork during an interview with Robert X. Cringely.
“What I’ve always felt that a team of people doing something they really believe in is like is like when I was a young kid there was a widowed man that lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He was a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn or something. And one day he said to me, “come on into my garage I want to show you something.” And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, “come on with me.” We went out into the back and we got just some rocks. Some regular, old, ugly rocks. And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, “come back tomorrow.”
And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.
And I came back the next day, and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.
That’s always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these really beautiful stones.”
Likewise, planning corporate retreat and coping with everyday work situations can prove to be challenging, especially in Singapore context. Teamwork is what helps the employees to overcome the challenges, as one. Organising corporate events and teamwork go hand-in-hand. Effective team building activities encourage teamwork that can be applied in the workplace, and likewise, great teamwork results in successful outcomes of team building events. The working together increases team members’ trust, unity, and overall performance in both work and play.
That is on the Meso level (team). On the Micro level (self), the activities can nurture self-confidence and help develop a positive attitude that leads to success and happiness in both work and life. With a positive attitude, one can cope more easily with challenges when they present itself.
Depending on your budget, organising a team building event doesn’t have to be fancy or grand for it to work. Neither does it have to have concrete, practical takeaways for it to be effective. What is important is having a shared experience, especially one that puts the participants slightly out of their comfort zone, would allow bonding to happen naturally and effectively. The success of team building can be seen in various ways over time, long after the event is over in the aforementioned three areas; Employees are happy and engaged; Teams collaborate and help one another; Organisation cultivates a good company culture and does consistently well.
According to an article on Human Resources, Asia’s leading source of HR-related news, after implementing team building programmes, SCIEX’s manufacturing plant in Singapore saw a double-digit improvement in the engagement survey.
Lim Teng Teng, the regional director of HR at SCIEX, shared his view: “Team building to us as a company, and to me as a HR professional, is more than just organising an activity or programme. To me, it is an overall look into everything employees do. It should include both activities for team building and things that are built into the employee’s performance and built into the company’s objectives.”
And if you think that employees are only willing to participate if the team building event is held during office hours, think again. SCIEX’s regional service meeting is on Sunday. However, since its employees could see the value of attending such events when their understanding of the business direction and communication improved, they are willing to attend.
Team building is an important investment for any organisation as it benefits the organisation on all levels.
Remember, there is never a ‘bad time’ to build a team. If a company is doing well, team building is a way to celebrate the success and to show appreciation for the people who enable the success – its employees. If a company is not doing so well, team building initiatives can strengthen the bonds between the employees and help them tide over the rough time together. No matter what is the current standing of the organisation, team building can only help to better it.