Engaging a global team isn’t always easy, however, it is crucial to help team members feel like they are valued, engaged and connected. Andy Molinsk shares his thoughts on how best to engage global teams. His article inspired us to share some of our most effective programs for global teams:
- Experiential Initiatives: These are popular programs that global teams love. Teams work together on a series of experiential initiatives that allow them to explore current ways of working that may need to be addressed to increase both individual and team success in the workplace. Topics frequently explored include; building trust, encouraging open communication, how best to collaborate and more.
- True North’s Remarkable Race: This program encourages team members to seek out and solve a series of different challenges. Teams will get a chance to really engage and connect as they set out to complete their challenges with detours and roadblocks along the way. It’s possible to customize some aspects of the race to your organization.
- Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Workshop: This program helps teams understand how, they score on the key components of The Five Behaviors of an Effective Team model which includes: trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results. Each individual on the team will also learn about their own behavioral style and their team members styles, based on the Everything DiSC® model and how each style contributes to the team’s overall success.
- Culinary events: True North Team Building blends a culinary experience with experiential learning to encourage communication, planning and working together. This is one of our most popular programs for global teams. Whether you are an experienced cook or inexperienced cook there is some way for everyone to contribute. Collaboration is key in this event as everyone is dependent on each other to finish the task.
Here at True North one of our specialties is working with companies on team development. We couldn’t agree more with this article about Unleashing the Power of Small, Independent Teams. Many organizations really thrive with teams that are able to hone in on and leverage each individual’s skill set. We can help you to develop and reinforce team mindset with some of our experiential learning programs such as: Chain Reaction 1.0, The Matrix, Everything Disc Workplace and many more. We are happy to determine which program would be best for you!
Recently my colleagues and I were able to spend some time talking to students at the East Shore Middle School in Milford, CT. The students are taking part in the “First Lego League Challenge”. This challenge requires them to work together as a team to create a number of lego robots that meet very specific goals and requirements. However, it also requires them to tackle a more in-depth, abstract problem. This year’s project is focused on human spaceflight in deep space. The students were specifically tasked with: “Think about all the challenges humans must overcome to travel in our solar system for long periods of time. To name just a few: extreme temperatures; lack of air, water and food; waste disposal or recycling; loneliness and isolation; and the need for exercise in order to stay healthy. After you select a problem, find out about the solutions that we are already using to try to fix it. Why is this problem hard to solve? Can you think of a new solution? Can you imagine a way to improve a current solution?”
The group chose specifically to focus on the problem of morale and mental health while on a long duration space mission. They quickly realized that if they came up with an appropriate team building challenge that it would be a great way to improve morale and check in with each other during the flight. They discussed this with their advisor who agreed that it would be great to be able to bring in some experts to help advise the students. She reached out to True North and asked if we would come in for an afternoon to talk to the students about team building ideas and what might work within their framework. Together we spent several hours brainstorming new ideas and helping explain to the students what our process is when designing an activity! By the end of the session, the students were well on their way to having a clearer set of goals and requirements for the activity.
This meeting really helped reinforce for us that team building can take place at any age and any location. These students were motivated and well prepared with new, innovative team building ideas that they discussed with us during the meeting. It was a great opportunity for us to get out and help instill the ideas of team building in a younger group. We are looking forward to following up with the group in the future and seeing where their project takes them during the statewide lego league competition.
It can be helpful to take the best practices you learn at one job and apply them to another. One thing that really stuck with me when I worked at Netflix was that my managers would highly recommend people NOT to call, email, text, etc. people from the office who were on vacation. Instead, they recommended keeping a list of topics to discuss with them when they returned. Their philosophy was so much of a project would be moved along by the time they got back that it wouldn’t matter anyway. It was up to you to schedule time with the person upon their return from vacation and catch them up. This approach was helpful from a preventing burnout perspective and allowing people to really relax when on holiday. Here is a great article on some other helpful ways to reduce burnout.
What ideas have worked for you to prevent team burnout?
We love when groups want to work with cardboard. It really is about “Thinking About the Box.” The beauty of working with cardboard is it is great for experimenting, innovating, problem-solving, prototyping, collaborating, creating, inspiring, and so much more. Check out our programs that include cardboard: Row Your Boat Regatta , The Giant Book Project, and Shore to Shore Bridge Build. We have many more creative cardboard programs that aren’t on our website – please call us if you would like to know more. Let’s get your team building something incredible, out of cardboard!
The Forbes article “What Oprah Can Teach Us About the Power of Asking Questions” focuses on the benefits of the simple act of asking constructive questions and, how asking questions can benefit a company’s productivity. Simply asking a question encourages others to contribute and be creative. It is an inclusive approach to business. Further, asking questions along the lines of “how could our product be even more useful?” can engage one in thinking through the viewpoint of one’s client, customer or end user. This avoids excessive valuing of one’s own interests – it provides a more balanced approach to problem-solving. Asking questions helps one let go of the need to prove one’s own worth, and the need to have control. True North Team Building offers plenty of programs that allow practicing healthier communication skills, including recognizing the value of questioning. Some examples are Chain Reaction, Shore to Shore Bridge Build, Experiential Challenges, and many of our culinary programs.
In this lifehacker blog post, author Alan Henry discusses the importance of pushing yourself beyond the limits of your ‘comfort zone’. He admonishes the complacency of neglecting to try new things and falling back on old habits. In his guide to how to leave your comfort zone and why you should, Henry brings up “Optimal Anxiety”. Optimal anxiety is the idea that you need a small amount of stress to perform at your best. Optimal anxiety can be exploited in a work environment to help create a more productive space. Research cited in the article suggests that without enough risk or unfamiliarity involved in a task, workers can easily fall into a steady and sluggish pace or even apathy. True North Team Building offers programs (like Chain Reaction) that will allow you to see how your employees flourish when confronted with new and semi-stressful challenges. These programs are designed to give your company ideas about how a more dynamic workplace is more conducive to success.