Team Building


The Business Center has helped design, develop, and facilitate teams for many years.  We understand teams.  Our view on team building is based on our experience and differs from some common conceptions on how to build teams.


Teams are powerful organizational units that can provide superior performance for organizations.  It takes careful planning to design teams, thorough training to equip them to succeed, effective processes for them to work together, and activities that forge a bond among the members.  It is this last piece that usually constitutes “team building.”


The great majority of a team’s development comes from doing the actual work of the team.  This includes:

  •      Day-to-day interactions
  •      Joint problem solving
  •      Formal and informal communications
  •      Mutual support provided
  •      Leader and expert coaching
  •      Successful goal achievement

All these powerfully affect a team’s development.   These naturally occurring events can propel a team forward, or drag a team downward depending upon how they are managed and supplemented with other activities.


Team building typically takes a team away from its daily work and environment to provide special activities and discussions so the team can resolve problems and increase its effectiveness.  Teams are built through a number of techniques, some of which are more useful than others.


Team building can be done with new teams or it can be used to aid existing teams.  Newly formed teams benefit from quickly understanding their mission and the behavioral styles of  individual team members.  Long-standing teams benefit from periodic examinations of their interactions and processes as a form of preventive maintenance.  It also is a means to fully integrate new members. 


At The Business Center, we believe each team is unique and that team building must be adapted to the needs of the individual team.  While many teams may benefit from similar exercises or experiences, there is no way to be certain what is most beneficial without getting to know the team's specific situation, needs, and personalities.


Teams are strengthened by blending conceptual learning with real life application.  This requires interviews with the team's leader and members prior to a team building session.  Based upon the interviews, specific team issues are identified, conceptual models and participative exercises are selected, and an action planning / follow-through mechanism is developed. 


Once a strategy for team building is designed, the team is "built" around the present or future issues facing them.  These may be related to the team’s internal dynamics or to outside forces.  Team members learn how to understand the issues and their causes.  They create a plan to resolve those issues and take strategic actions.  They implement their plan.  A stronger team is built as a result.


Teams appreciate and benefit from working on their own real-world issues.  This differs from the approach of developing all teams in a generic manner regardless of their abilities and needs.  While training programs and typical “off-sites” may have an entertaining element of team building in them, they do not engage the team at its workaday core.  Team building can be fun, but it must be focused as well.


Team building sessions typically last from two to three days depending upon the size of the team and the complexity of the issues.  Sessions are held away from work to maximize concentration and promote interaction.  Teams often find it advantageous to discuss the areas of: 

  •      Mission
  •      Strategies
  •      Goals
  •      Roles
  •      Decision making
  •      Communications
  •      Leadership style
  •      Team norms
  •      Interpersonal relationships
  •      Managerial / peer / subordinate feedback. 


In addition to our own materials, The Business Center uses a variety of publicly available resources like the DiSC® and Team Dimensions® profiles, exercises, and videos.  We may also use work simulations to draw out real behaviors during a team building session.  We are not restricted to promoting one set of materials.  We can incorporate outdoor experiential exercises (e.g., ropes courses) if needed, but believe these normally add only marginal value relative to the time consumed.


For more information and assistance on building your teams, please contact us directly.