Do organizations really know what it takes to build a team?
I was listening to a video that had a cheeky title along the lines of firing your job and finding your career. I am always intrigued to hear others view of what it would take to pursue a career/calling versus working at a job.
There were many solid points raised in this video and the one that really intrigued me was the presenter mentioning that many people in certain cultures have a tendency to separate their work life from their home life. So much so, they would work for years in the organization and not even know the last names of their coworkers in the cubicles next to theirs never mind knowing the first and last names of others who work in different parts of the organization.
Why does this point stand out for me? Simply because I have the privilege of working with men and women in multiple organizations who exhibit the above point in varying degrees. I also have seen the impact of this separation of work and home lives in new comers to a country.
For those new to the prevailing culture the obvious challenges are just that-obvious- language, cultural norms and practices, climate, food etc. What organizations may fail to understand or tap into even if they are aware of it- is an understanding of these new comers’ beliefs around work in their new cultural environment.
What does work mean to them other than the obvious means to an end- pay bills, create a future for oneself and one’s family, build community etc. What does work mean to that person who comes from a culture that believes very strongly work and home lives should never be mixed? Let’s keep private lives private and work lives strictly work-related.
On numerous occasions after working with various individuals within different organizations on different continents, a common refrain I get as one of the highlights of the training, is how happy they are for the chance to get to know their colleagues more. Invariably, this refrain rings out consistently. This speaks to our inherent need to connect with others. This connection often shows in a need for connection from a work-related level and/or interpersonal.
Organizations that really know how to build effective teams tap into these two needs. Below are some ways smart organizations build effective teams:
- Solid on boarding program. Starting new employees off on solid grounds goes a long way to building effective teams. A leader with this vision ensures their HR department gets on-boarding right. It is much more than orientation!
- Develop and encourage a work-culture of sharing. Master mind groups are a great way to set the example of connecting with fellow team members for the greater good of all. My experience in facilitating master mind groups has shown me consistently employees after a while begin to see each other as more than co-workers but as vital contributors to each other’s full development and well-being
- Appropriately assess job performance challenges. Low job performance may not be because their employees need more training. It could very well be other pressing issues that with proper needs assessment may be effectively resolved, restoring the team to a higher level of effectiveness. Issues such as knowledge, employees’ personal well-being, understanding what motivates them/their needs, are a few pressing issues that if addressed appropriately, would go a long way in building an effective team.
- Marry training with ongoing coaching. Smart organizations know you can’t train without coaching nor should you coach without training. My experience in working in this capacity as both trainer and coach shows me this is where the secret ingredient is for building effective teams! This strategy is a win-win all around.
These simple yet effective four points will take organization’s from being good to great. This approach requires leaders with courage and vision to know that if they don’t change existing outdated practices they will become irrelevant. it’s not business as usual!
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Here’s to loving how you live, work and play!