“They don’t need to be doing it but they are anyway”, I thought to myself as I was going to facilitate a “Team Building” event for Africa Renewal Ministries (ARM) University going students. Many people understand “Team Building” as a series of fun activities done at a park once or twice a year. Sadly that is wrong in principle; these events are simply “the icing on the cake”
On Thursday 17th January 2019,two hundred students gathered to crown the week with some fun activities geared at icing (notice I used “icing” not “cultivating”) cohesion. These young people camp every holiday to know each other deeply, they have mechanisms that qualify who joins the team and who does not qualify and the team work they have has been cultivated from the time they were ten years old.
ARM exemplifies the principle of “Team build before you need to” and here is why;
- They create a process of Team selection: Don’t recruit non-team players and expect them to value team work. The most important process of team building is the selection of the team. ARM has a rigorous process of recruiting the kids for their sponsorship program and it is not limited to lack of school fees only.
- They train kids to work as teams: If you group people, train them as individuals and expect them to become a team, you are kidding yourself. If your value teamwork reward it and encourage it. ARM rewards the kids in teams not individuals. This made me confirm the bad sentiments I have been having towards the “employee of the month Program”- it values individualism instead of teamwork.
- They do it way ahead of time: If you need to a strong alumni the time to start cultivating that is when the children are young. ARM exemplifies that.
If you are still not convinced that “Team Building” is not an event, let’s define some terms for you:
A team is a group of people organized to work together interdependently and cooperatively to meet the needs of their customers by accomplishing their purpose and goals.
Building is the creation or development of something over a period of time.
Team building is the process of turning a group of individual contributing employees into a cohesive team.
Select team players, reward team work and you will be on your way to “Team building” before you need to.