The following article was buried very deep in our archives and at a recent reading we thought that, although it is an oldie, it is a goodie. In other words, the approach would seem to be as good as most or all of the new and sparkly programs. And, it’s free!
In today’s workplace, it is not unusual to find organizations made up of personnel from as many as four generations – an unusual happening in our history. That fact can be exciting – unless you are the one trying to make sense out of it all as you try to get people to work together… and maybe even like each other! (An interesting thought, but very difficult… if not impossible… sort of like herding cats!)
There is no point in examining this from the perspective of activities. There are always so many exercises that can be done to bring the team together. You can find those in books, in training sessions and in articles in human resource magazines. EVERYBODY has an activity (or five) to contribute… just ask. In fact, later on in this article we will show you our activities.
Instead, let’s take the time to look at another way to bring the team together. We know that mature employees bring wisdom to the workplace and we know that they often have a different approach to work than some of our younger workers. So, how do we get these diverse groups to work together as one for the benefit of the organization?
Pay attention to that question…
There is one single word that makes the difference between having good camaraderie and a dysfunctional group of people, and that word is communication. It is simple, it is old, and yet it still seems to be something that so many people don’t even consider. It is so much easier to sit passively by and, later, talk badly about someone, or even get aggressive because we do not agree with someone else in the organization.
What? Yes! Sometimes people refuse to learn how to communicate with those people they work with. Who would have thought?
In the workplace, there is lots of talk about Teams and Team Building, all based on the belief that Teams are groups of people that listen to each other. Hah! As well, there seems to be an inherent belief that the Team members have to like each other; this, however, is not always true. What we do need is a group of people that can respect each other for the work that each person does because this work is of value to the organization as a whole.
So, how do we get people to communicate and listen to each other? I wish I could say that it is easy and that all you have to do is bring in a trainer, a consultant or someone else to help the group get together. This is a good start. And that is all it is – a start!
You may get the impression that I am not much for activities but this is simply not true. They are valuable to get the group moving in the right direction; however, activities are only a starting point. After the activities, we still need to get the team doing what really matters, and that’s communicating. Here are the basics of getting the group to talk.
Once the activities are over, it’s time to get down to the real work that is needed to build a team. Following are some of the key questions needed to be asked of the group in order to get the people understanding each other and what they want to accomplish. You might have to sit everyone down at a group meeting or you might have individual meetings and then follow up with a group meeting to address the challenges occurring.
What do we think is impossible to do that if we could do it, it would change everything? ______________________________________________________________________
After exploring some of the topics brought forward in Question #1, ask: “Which idea, when implemented will give us the greatest return on investment (ROI) regardless of time, energy or the dollars we have allocated to it?” ____________________________
What will be the current impact of this on our competition? _____________________
Who else, or what else, might be impacted by this? ____________________________
How will this impact each of you? __________________________________________
Now let’s look to the future and imagine we are 6 months down the road and nothing has changed. What are the implications – what will we gain or lose?
Using this last question, I have often had people rethink their response and come up with a new answer. It is always very important to thank people for their responses and to quiz the rest of the group, to see what else each person present might want to add to the conversation. Remember, people are often silent until they are individually called upon to offer insights.
Their insights and willingness to be involved are the team leader’s responsibility – which is why we follow the Military model of asking the most junior person to speak first to be followed by the second most junior and so on. It is imperative you acknowledge everyone’s input with positive reinforcement so everyone knows it is okay to look at these situations from a hypothetical point of view, so all ideas can become part of the true corporate thinking.
Now we have a team of people. We are not just asking them to be nice to each other because their mother told them to. We are asking them to collaborate, to make our organization a better place to work and, perhaps, even a better place for our clients… and they are focusing on what is passionate to them and now they have a desire to do what they know can make a difference.
And this is what our younger generation wants; to make a difference! When we allow everyone to participate in the evolution of our company, department, family, etc., we can see people become true teams.
Contact us through our website – www.dynamicdiscovery.ca – for more information.