Are you ready to start building your team? 8 questions to consider

Preparation for any job can be the most important part of the job. Are you ready? Here are 8 questions for you to consider as part of your preparation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What do you want this team to accomplish?

You need to be clear about what you want the new team to accomplish before you start the process. You don’t need to know the specifics but you need to know the general objectives. For example if this is to be a SRC team then you need to know if there are specific tasks that the school executive and/or student body want them to achieve this year over and above the general goal of student governance and all that entails in your context.

Along the way the team will also achieve other goals. These will be determined during the life of the team and can not be foreseen at the beginning. You can only prepare for the known not the unknown.

What skills will they need to accomplish this?

Once you know the general goals to be achieved then you need to consider the skills that the team will need to be able to accomplish these goals. Some of these will be the skills that any team will need. Others will be skills specific to the jobs this team is expected to accomplish. Some of these skills may not be needed in the initial team training. They may suit an on the job training model or point of need training.

It would be helpful if you could divide the skills into those needed now and those needed later. This will make your planning for the initial training easier to organise.

What roles will team members play?

The answer to this question is directly related to the type of team you are developing. Different teams will require different roles. Once determined, you will need a set of role descriptions that are easy to understand. These should include the potential extra skills required to effectively function in these roles.

In addition, some teams have a hierarchical structure but many have a horizontal structure. If the team is hierarchical, then everyone has a base set of skills but each level of the hierarchy will require extra skills. Even in horizontally structured teams there may be specialised roles – for example the communication sub group may need further skills in using the specific websites for the team.

What cultural factors will impact on the team?

You cannot completely prepare for which cultural factors will impact on the team life. You should have an understanding of the main cultural impacts in your community. You will also know the composition of the body from which your potential team will be selected. The first factors you should consider will be the possible cultural factors that may impinge on the team training. One example would be: girls from traditional Eastern European families  will not be allowed to stay late after school or go on overnight excursions.

Another example may be language. If the population from which the team members will be selected contains a high percentage of new migrants from non English speaking backgrounds then the possibility will be high that the depth of understanding written and spoken language will be a consideration.

What barriers may exist to full participation by disabled members?

Most venues for community meeting are now being made more accessible for all. You cannot be fully prepared for bars to participation until you know the nature of any disability that a team member has. Even then, you will have no way of knowing about any injuries that may occur that result in temporary disability. Once the team members are selected then you will be able to determine what barriers exist for the long term participation of each member in the team activities. You can then work towards minimising them. You will also be able to plan activities that are inclusive for all.

What information needs to be available to potential team members?

This is one of the most important steps in your preparation. The membership of the team will determine the possible effectiveness and/or success of the team. You need potential team members to have as much information as possible about both the goals of the team and their possible role. When equipped with this information, each potential team member will be able to make as informed a decision as is possible for their maturity about whether they want to be part of the team.

Another consideration is how to present the information. You want potential team members to know what they are becoming involved in but you don’t want to scare away potential effective team members. You may need to provide some personal counselling with candidates you feel would make excellent team members.

What method will be used to select team members?

There is a tendency when team members are younger for the adults to select them. This is the process used in many businesses also where managers select teams. This could be an effective procedure for some teams. But there are other methods that can be used. In some cases such as peer support, the selection process may be volunteers from a particular pool of students. Another example for teams such as the SRC there would need to be some form of representative selection.

Whatever selection process is used in your situation it is important to ensure that it works. You may find recommendations for change in last year’s evaluation. This is the time when you can examine the procedures currently in use and determine if changes would improve it.

What games would be most in tune with your goals?

Once you know the answers to all of the above questions, then you can work through the selection of games and choose ones that meet your unique needs. Each game should come with a set of aims or objectives. You can select those games that best suit your aims for skills development. You can also examine the procedures for the games and determine full participation of all is possible based on your cultural and potential physical impairments. This is when you can make variations to steps to provide total inclusion. You don’t want any team member sitting on the sidelines.

Advertisements

4 Cs of effective team building programs

When it comes to designing a team building program you need to include skills development in the specific area in which the team is working as well as skills in being an effective team member. Often the former skill set is the one that is stressed with little attention paid to the latter. It is the level of the team building skills that can often make all the difference to the outcome of the team’s endeavours.

So what skills do team members need? When exploring which components should be in the team skills program there are four Cs to consider:

  • communication
  • creativity
  • collaboration
  • credibility.

These four characteristics are required for a balanced program that will build an effective team. Each of these four Cs have particular skills that need developing before team members will be competent in those areas. Not all teams need all of these skills. Informal teams will not require training in many of these skills. But members of high functioning teams will need competency in all these skills.

Communication: Proficiency in these skills is the basis of interpersonal relationships both within the team and with everyone with whom the team interacts. There are many forms of communication so highly effective teams diversify their communication skills.

Collaboration: Without the sharing of ideas there is no team just a group of individuals. The level of collaboration sets both the mood of the working environment and the synergy of the ideas.

Creativity: Skills in this area will differentiate an ordinary team achievement from an amazing accomplishment. Creativity does not necessarily mean talent in a particular artistic endeavour although it may. It encompasses creative thinking which can lead to innovation.

Credibility: It is accomplishment in these skills that will increase the speed of the team’s accomplishments and make the journey they follow more enjoyable. It also aids in the acceptance of the team’s ideas and performance by others.

Once you know which skills you need to develop in your team, then you can select games that also are developing these skills. These games will add value to your formal learning.