By Penny Macias | April 14, 2016
Imagine a group of savvy people - April, Austin, Amanda, and Andrew - started a business called Unicorns and Beyond. They worked for months on designing the unicorns to sell, putting together a business plan, acquiring funding, and creating a business. They were an amazing team who shared a vision. Each had a different role, but together, they were "The A Team."
Within weeks of opening their business, orders far exceeded their ability to produce so they hired new employees. The days of planning and preparing were soon a distant memory with each team member focused on delivering their product. April lived and breathed marketing. Austin worked 100 hours a week overseeing production. Amanda and Andrew worked tirelessly managing finances and making business-expansion decisions. The A Team, who used to meet and collaborate for an hour, three times a day, moved their team meetings to weekly. Eventually everyone agreed that hour would be better spent at their respective areas. Then, weekly meetings moved to monthly meetings, which got cancelled. Before they knew it, they hadn't met in four months.
By the time they finally got together, there were so many fires to put out that their entire meeting was spent problem solving. But demand continued to soar while their profits rolled in, so everything seemed to be working. However, when profits dipped, Austin assumed it was because April was failing in marketing and April knew she couldn't market something that Austin wasn't producing well. What happened to the A Team, who at one point could have won the gold medal in teamwork? The A Team turned into four different teams. Everyone's focus moved away from the A Team and turned to the Amanda Team and the Andrew Team, and so on. They now lack collaboration, synergy, shared vision, and morale, to name just a few things.
This is obviously a fictional story, but is based upon reality that we've all witnessed. Maybe you haven't seen it in the workforce but you've watched it with your favorite basketball team that went from dominating the field to being the unlucky team that gets to make the very first pick in the draft.
Synergy is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. It doesn't just happen without hard work. In order for your team to have synergy, you have to work together to create and maintain it. One of the most awesome things about team building is it's free! You don't have to hire a consultant or train someone. You can find thousands of team-building activities to choose from that will work best for your team. However, you have to make time for it and commit to it.
If you're a manager or department head and would like help preparing some team-building activities, there's a wealth of resources out there. I love the ideas at this link:www.wheniwork.com/blog/team-building-games/ - they offer 32 different types of games you can play. Also, the MAAP Office would be happy to work with you to develop ideas and opportunities to regularly build your team. We can also facilitate so you can participate in the actual events and leave the work to us. Whatever you do, don't stop building your team. The benefits are priceless and you just might make a unicorn.