Running a coherent team with great communication is easy, but building a coherent team from the ground up is hard. Here are five team-building activities to get you started.
Benefits of a coherent team
A coherent team is a team that communicates and works together effectively. While incoherent teams stumble through their workload, coherent teams:
- Collaborate together.
- Inspire each other.
- Learn together.
- Bring out each other’s strengths.
Building a coherent team won’t just streamline your work progress, it will transform the way you work. Coherent teams reduce each other’s workloads by removing the double-handling of tasks. Coherent teams also improve job satisfaction and keep employees happily motivated.
This isn’t just great for your team, it’s a game-changer for your business. Businesses with coherent teams are both more profitable and more innovative.
How to build a coherent team
Since the work of academic Bruce Tuckman, we’ve known that teams develop in four stages. First, teams are formed (‘forming’). Then, teams establish dynamics (‘storming’), set standards for behavior (‘norming’), and begin to work together (‘performing’). This process repeats itself every time a team takes on a new project or member.
But if your team is already established, you can create a coherent team without reforming the group. Here’s how.
#1. Develop team values and objectives
To build a coherent team, you need to build strong team values and objectives. Team values are ideals your team agrees to live by while objectives are milestones the team works towards.
The best team values are chosen together and reflect the culture of your workplace, but here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Once you’ve decided on your team goals, it’s time to set objectives. When setting team objectives, you’ll need to stick to the SMART objective formula. That means your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
#2. Build communication channels
The best way to improve team communication is to establish set virtual communication channels. Each team should have three types of communication channels:
- Group communication channels.
- Individual communication channels.
- Work communication channels.
Group communication channels are spaces where the group can speak as a whole. This could include a Slack group, a team chat, a forum, or even a message board. Everyone in this space should have equal power to speak, no matter their role in the team.
Individual communication channels are spaces where team members can talk privately. The best individual communication channel is chat software as it provides an instant and informal space for communication.
Work communication channels are formal spaces for documenting team interactions. This includes project management software with chat functionality, as it keeps employees in-sync with each other’s work progress.
#3. Engage in team-building games
Team building games are a great way to build trust in your team quickly. Playing games is a natural part of human bonding, and helps team members establish a productive and positive dialogue.
The best team building games are quick, easy, and fun – like these activities.
- Survivor: In this game, your team members are pretending they have just been stranded in a remote location. The group is then given a list of ten potential items (ie. rope, knife, etc) and must decide in pairs which five items they will keep to survive. Each pair is then required to present.
- Nothing-in-common: In this game, the team is given ten random objects from around the office. In pairs, everyone groups the items into two categories, and must then explain their decisions to the group.
- Line-up: In this game, you write down a handful of criteria (shoe size, height, number of siblings, etc.) on pieces of paper and place them in a box. Team members pull a paper from the box and must line up in order.
If your team is located remotely, you could also host a gaming tournament with voice chat software. This allows employees to play games together even when separated.
#4. Start a team volunteering project
Employee Volunteering Projects (EVP’s) are one of the best ways to bring your team together. EVP’s allow employees to volunteer for causes they care about on company time. This increases job satisfaction, improves team communication, and helps employees develop better community and leadership skills.
EVP’s are also a great tool for team bonding as they allow employees to work together on rewarding, low-stress activities. The best EVP’s don’t require large time commitments either, as they are small projects that are optional to participate in. For example, popular EVP’s include:
- Canned-food drives.
- Collecting donations for causes.
- Donating blood.
- Hosting a morning-tea fundraiser.
- Building a community garden.
Your EVP will work best if everyone in your team is passionate about the cause – so don’t forget to involve your entire team when planning your EVP.
#5. Schedule a weekly download
If you find your team has trouble finding the time to sit down and talk, schedule a weekly download. A weekly download is an informal meeting where your team has a chance to sit and talk without the expectation of productivity.
Like a standup, a weekly download is a good chance for everyone to discuss what they’ve been working on – but don’t let it get too formal. Great weekly downloads should never feel stressful, as they are designed to be positive spaces primarily for communication and team building.
You can supplement your weekly download with some simple, low-stress activities that are done in groups. Ideally, you should choose something related to your field. If you worked in the entertainment field, for example, you could build a simple game together.
The best weekly downloads are held on a Friday afternoon and last 15 – 30 minutes.
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