The Central Role of Team Building in Corporate Culture
To fully understand the implications of this statement, we need to understand what we mean by Corporate Culture. Only then can we explore how and why or even IF team building is important.
What Does Corporate Culture Stand for?
“Corporate culture” is, in fact, a microcosm of national culture: the beliefs, behavior, dress, environment, habits, traditions, and personal traits reflected either on a national level or within an enterprise or organization of whatever size.
In a business sense, it determines how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. A company’s culture is reflected in its dress code, business hours, office setup, employee benefits, turnover, hiring decisions, treatment of clients, client satisfaction, management strategies, employee communication and relations, work environment, attitude, and even company origin myths, as well as visual symbols such as logos and trademarks…and in fact every single aspect of its operations.
To paraphrase Frances Frei and Anne Morriss at Harvard Business Review:
“Culture guides discretionary behavior and it… tells us how to respond to an unprecedented service request. It tells us whether to risk telling our bosses about our new ideas, and whether to surface or hide problems. Employees make hundreds of decisions on their own every day, and culture is our guide…”
Team Building and Corporate Culture
It will come as no surprise then when we state that a company can only operate successfully if all its members see themselves as part of a team or if many teams make up the whole. And the success of the team contributes to the success of the enterprise, building pride and involvement in much the same way as a winning team in the Olympics builds national pride.
Team-building events, therefore, can help co-workers better understand one another, coalesce, learn to be more effective at working together, and trust each other. Team-building exercises help employees work on serious issues, such as learning problem-solving techniques and improving communication skills.
Cohesive employee teams are the building blocks for the success of a company and the development of its culture. Regular team building activities are therefore vital for developing team spirit and cooperation between employees.
There are a number of objectives at which management can aim to ensure that any team building exercises can contribute towards company culture:
Building Trust: Trust is a critical factor. Mutual trust nurtured by team-building activities allows employees to depend more on one another and be more productive and efficient as a result.
Conflict Resolution: Employees are individuals. They have different personalities and attitudes, resulting in disputes and differences of opinion. This is all legitimate and even healthy for the creative development of the enterprise. But such differences should be resolved in a non-violent and cooperative way, and team building activities can play a vital role in helping resolve conflicts.
Increased Collaboration: Establishing a strong bond between the team members to ensure they all buy into the shared objectives of a particular project or solving a problem, and in fact, work at it with a high level of “esprit de corps” – team spirit.
Improving Communication Skills: Employees learn how to better communicate with one another as they face the challenges of activities in team building events. Such improved communication can lead to more productive and efficient daily work, particularly in a group environment.
Other team exercises benefits include:
- More co-operation between senior and junior staff
- Getting to acknowledge individual strengths and weaknesses
- Improved team leadership skills
- Increased commitment to your organization
- Enriched problem-solving skills
- More effective decision making
- Enhanced sense of ownership and responsibility
- Corporate pride
Effective Team Building
Remember, however, that one of the main objectives of a team building event is to have fun: with that fun being converted in appreciation and loyalty to the enterprise or organization itself.
Team building may turn out to be the most important investment you can make for your people and your organization. Effective team building means more engaged employees to support a stronger, more cohesive culture and, eventually, an improved bottom line.