Rock Products

JUN 2013

Rock Products is the aggregates industry's leading source for market analysis and technology solutions, delivering critical content focusing on aggregates-processing equipment; operational efficiencies; management best practices; comprehensive market

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Making Teambuilding More Than Just Fun By Tying Teambuilding To Company Objectives, Everyone Wins. By Steve Schumacher Early in my career, I was working with a group of people on a major project that required us all to get along well and keep our commitments to each other. It was a long project and in‐ volved a lot of detail work to build a foundation. The activity was fun and I learned a lot, but the big picture was that something had to be done to meet the big picture objectives. The following are some things to con‐ sider when it comes to teambuilding activities for your employees: One of the people on our team was re‐ sponsible for working with me to build a two‐day training program, along with the workbooks and leader's guide. I had been conducting this workshop for years without a leader's guide, but the head of our team wanted to build one so other people could conduct the workshop also. The person I was assigned to work with was a very detail‐oriented person and, quite frankly, just the op‐ posite of me. She would ask me to put a lot of detail on paper and give it to her regularly in chapters. I balked at having to do all of that detail work but she insisted. n The friction between she and I grew worse and the work was not getting done. I would avoid her and she would send me very direct emails and copy my boss. It was getting ugly when the head of the team brought the whole team together for a teambuilding ac‐ tivity. It involved learning our own personal styles of working, along with learning the working styles of our col‐ leagues. When we got through with the activ‐ ity, my colleague and I looked at each other and said "Now, I know you much better!" The project took off from there and was successful. She and I worked beautifully together and be‐ came good friends. All because the teambuilding activity was tied directly to the outcomes of the department. 42 ROCKproducts • JUNE 2013 Tie it to company/ department objectives. Take a look at where your com‐ pany or department is headed and what are some of the current chal‐ lenges. Is quality slipping? Are dead‐ lines being met? Are you getting enough product out the door? Are costs getting out‐of‐line? Get your people together and design an activ‐ ity that addresses the key issues fac‐ ing you today. There are plenty of activities to be found online that show you how to set up scenarios that put your people in imaginary situations involving problems that they have to figure out as a team. Sometimes working through a non‐threatening situation as a group that is not real will make it easier to apply the lessons learned to the real situations they face at work. n Fit the activity to the style of the participants. Analyze the participants and their primary style. If you have done as‐ sessments like Myers‐Briggs or DiSC, it will help. If your team is made up of engineers, have them build some‐ thing. If they are numbers‐oriented, have them do a business analysis. Op‐ erations people like to be hands‐on and work with things first hand. Take them out to a plant and figure things out together. Being together figuring out problems can be an incredible teambuilder. Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at n Don't wait for an annual meeting. I have worked with a lot of compa‐ nies that perceive teambuilding as something you do at the annual event only. Look for small activities to do once a week in your staff meetings. If you have a monthly safety meeting, put a quick teambuilding activity on the agenda. People that feel like they are part of a team will work more safely. n Involve other departments. It certainly is important that every‐ one in your individual department works well together. It is just as im‐ portant that everyone works well to‐ gether cross‐functionally. See the other departments as partners and include them. If you do that, you will find that you will get more support from others when you need it most. n Use a facilitator. Teambuilding is a process. An out‐

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