How To Increase Team Morale And Productivity6 March 2010 3:33 pm Team Building Exercise
During these changing times, everyone is concerned about tomorrow and many people are living in fear of the unknown. This fear is causing unreliable hearsay, low team morale and less productivity. However, there is a solution and it is centred on one word – attitude.
Attitude originates from our beliefs. Whatever our beliefs are in ourselves, our organization, our team effectiveness and the general market place, ultimately they are reflected in our attitude. Thusly, our attitude determines how we feel. Our overall feelings lead to actions and it is those actions that achieve results.
If you are not achieving the results you want, you need to get the team involved, and deal with the underlying issues surrounding team effectiveness.
Begin by getting your entire team together, give everyone a post-it pad and ask them to write down a percentage, anywhere between 1-100%, which reflects the team effectiveness. Encourage each member of the team to answer honestly and to keep all responses confidential. Once each percentage is recorded on a post-it, fold the paper and place it in the centre of the table.
Next, gather all the papers and post them on a flip chart. Add them up and calculate the average percentage of team effectiveness. This is valuable information as it reflects how your team views their effectiveness in today’s market. If the percentage is below 60%, you have some challenges ahead but allow your team to brainstorm and discover ways to improve.
On a new flip chart page, draw a line down the centre of the page from top to bottom. Draw another line from left to right near the top of the page. On the upper left side above the line, write the average % of team effectiveness (let’s use 65%) and a + sign (which represents all the positive factors of team effectiveness).
On the upper right side above the line, write the difference between the Average % of team effectiveness and 100%. For example: 65% + 35% A (delta) = 100%
Note the delta sign represents the areas of improvement necessary to achieve 100% team effectiveness.
Divide the team into small groups and provide each group with a flip chart page. Each group must list all the positive factors that contribute to their level of team effectiveness. In other words, what exactly have they contributed to justify 65% team effectiveness?
The groups should take approximately ten minutes to list the positive factors; then, each group will share their own list with the others. As a facilitator of team building, encourage frequent applauding. By doing so, the team is demonstrating support and creating an attitude of appreciation; therefore, changing their focus.
Next, have the groups do the same exercise on the right hand side under the delta. What can the team do to improve by 35% in order to strive for 100% team effectiveness?
After approximately ten minutes of listing areas of improvement, each group will read the list to the others, and applaud accordingly.
The next important step is to discuss the factors that are within your control and those that are not. For example, we cannot control the weather, the traffic or what people say about us. However, we can control the manner in which we react, our thoughts, our attitudes and our self talk. Let’s take a look at this list and place brackets around the factors that are not within our control. From that point forward, ignore all uncontrollable factors.
The time has arrived to gather all the categories from the original list and choose only the areas of improvement within our control. You may notice these categories are usually classified under communications, technology, policies, etc. It is the team’s responsibility to identify and then, place each area of improvement under the relevant category. Your end result will identify three to five categories that require improvement. Without a doubt, one of them will be attitude.
If time allows, have the team identify which category will impact team effectiveness the most. This area of improvement should take priority. Each group must brainstorm and draft a solution. You may allot 20 minutes for this exercise and have a member of each group present back to the rest of the team allowing for general input to the solution.
What you will find is that attitude will rank the highest return in team effectiveness. Save attitude for a final review. I suggest you create a buzz word incorporating your company, department, or team name with the word attitude.
Here is an example: to the outside world we are known as Microsoft, but there is no sense working on the outside until we fix the inside. Why not create MicroTude, and formulate a list of attitudes related to how we treat each other within the team environment. This list will inevitably focus on factors within our control.
Take this exercise one step further. Involve the groups in a discussion on how those positive attitudes will improve team effectiveness if they are implemented by all members of the team.
What is preventing your team from said implementation? Record all findings. Finally, acquire a signed commitment from each member of the team. Their signature assures their determination to implement positive change. A team of volunteers will also ensure the tasks are followed to fruition.
Don’t stop there. Take the category lists from this exercise and have them typed and documented. Then, circulate it throughout the organization along with a request to add new areas of improvement and to include a signature. It is very important to support the implementation team and to keep the buzz word alive.
As a result of the foregoing exercise, dramatic improvements in both morale and team effectiveness will be apparent.