Why Professional Facilitation?
As a team building provider for organizations in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, NEXTeams gives small and large groups an opportunity to get out of the office, into an unfamiliar setting, and engage in traditional team building activities with their co-workers. Prior to the program we spend a little time getting to know the group – who they are, what they are about, and what they believe to be the goal of their team building event. Many group organizers have vague goals – “We want to get to know each other better,” “We want to build trust,” “We want to have fun.” These programs are fun to plan for, and although they may seem trivial to some, can hold hidden rewards for the participants who engage in them.
Occasionally the group organizer might ask for something more specific – “There is tension between the new-hires and the management team, we want to improve our communication,” “We are combining two departments into one, and we want to bond these people together.” “The year has been tough, we’ve had a lot of employee turnover, and we really need to reinvigorate the staff and jump-start their creativity to get back in the game…” These programs are not only more challenging to plan for, but offer lasting benefit to those participants who give them selves up to the process.
Either way, there is benefit to engaging in a well-designed, professionally implemented team building program. The activity itself has merit – people are open to learning when they are engaged in a fun and challenging activity. The openness that comes out of the shared experience of the activity enables participants to engage in sometimes lively discussions following the activity – facilitators call this discussion “debriefing the activity.” During this crucial follow-up discussion, teams are encouraged to relate the activity back to real-life. My particular facilitation-style is to float a question and allow the group to answer in their own words, their own way. When we drill down deeper into their answers, we often come up with kernels of wisdom that resonate among individuals in the group, and this resonance is what feeds the learning.
The thing that many clients miss, and many of the higher-quality team building companies know, is that the wisdom gleaned from a team building ‘event’ is similar to opening the door just a crack. The free flow of ideas and positive energy that occurred in your off-site is often completely lost once your team returns to the dysfunctions of the office.
The full benefit of a good team building program is realized in the short and long-term follow-up. Without follow-up, be it a quarterly re-energizer or an ongoing meeting facilitation and consultation, the benefits of a team building program can be short-lived and unquantifiable. Building a strong team requires long-term commitment, both from the client and from the team building provider. Building a high performing team is like any other relationship – you must nurture the trust and improve the communication over time. If you neglect this relationship, you run the risk of losing whatever you have gained in the initial team builder.
To schedule an interview with our facilitation staff, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Eriq Powers at (240) 603-4150.
Thank you, and we look forward to working with your team!