9 Tips on Organizing a Successful Result Driven Team Building Program

How to Measure Results or ROI from Team Building?

In defining team building, there are many type of such events are organized. Before we could acquire details about Results Driven program, it would proper for us to understand various type of team building.

Team building is known as systematic process towards achieving team bonding and cohesiveness towards accomplish desired objectives. In brief, some of the common types of such programs are:
1. Retreat program – the purpose of this event is to provide an avenue for team members to have fun and feel entertained through games and activities.
2. Basic Team Bonding Program – a program prepared to allow members to acquire conceptual and micro understanding about team work, as well to have proper ice-breaking of every member in the team.
3. Motivational program – is aimed at inspiring individuals of a team to realize their hidden potential and work towards attainment of their goal. With the changes made after team building by each individuals will definitely improve the overall productivity.
4. Conflict/Crisis Management Program – is specifically designed to support an organization to overcome conflict at workplace, team conflict, departmental conflict, sudden crisis response for emerging problem.
5. Results Driven Program – is designed to provide ROI on specific areas through team building. These include Sales Drive, Workplace Productivity Drive, Customer Satisfaction Improvement programs.

The first 3 programs are the most common type of such program organized by organizations. However, over the last 5 years, there are emerging trends showing that most large organization are turning to Results Driven Program as their best option to accomplish their organizations’ objectives. Many MLM and Trading companies are acquiring the expertise of Results Driven program organizers to host their Sales Drive activities. While some other companies are making use of such team building to achieve other objectives, such as Customer Satisfaction drive, Retail Sales Improvement, Safety Response Team Challenge and many other programs focusing on accomplishment of other specific targets.

While many business owners and HR practitioners are still doubtful on this, many other organizations are already reaping rewards or ROI by choosing Results Driven Team Building program.

Let us see how we could utilize Results Driven program to reap a similar or better success in results through such program. There are 9 most important tips on how your organization could make use of Results Driven program to accomplish their organization targets.

1. Team building is for empowerment
Who said Results Driven program has no FUN? This is really a pre-matured judgment. All type of team building should blend the element of FUN and CHALLENGING together. For a program that going to drive results for an organization, it need to incorporate a lot of empowerment towards the audience proper blend of activities. Audience can only be empowered if they feel that they are appreciated. Only appreciated members will truthfully contribute towards growth of their organization.

2. Be clear of your target
Business owners or Management need to be clear that a proper designed program can be used to boost or empower their people to accomplish their objectives. With this in mind, business owners and managers need to come up with specific expectations to accomplish through such event. These expectations could be Sales volume, level of customer satisfaction, productivity improvement, project dateline or others. It need to be specified in quantity or volume.

3. Choose team building consultant
There are 2 different types of organizers of such program at the market place, which are event organizer and team building consultant. Event organizers are normally capable to conduct the first two types of team building. But, the rest need the expertise of team building consultant. As the client, an organization has all the right to obtain useful information on how to accomplish their expectations through such event. At the same time, consultant need complete details about the current performance, demographic details about their target audience and other useful details. It is worthwhile to share such information.

4. Design of program, activities and experiential learning activities
One of the most important area to give close attention in organizing a Results Driven program is on the Program structure. A well designed program should incorporate a mix methodology of team building delivery and it should have the following components; a) Games, 2) Motivation, 3) Challenges, 4) Competition and 5) Rewards. It should have the balance between FUN and LEARNING. Fun is to ensure the audience is excited with the program. While Learning is to ensure that the audiences are with necessary skills/knowledge to be prepared for the challenge.

5. Take Back Challenge
Members should be aware that they have brought back a set of challenges to accomplish within a period of time. A good take back challenges should be briefed thoroughly during the team building, and it should be implemented within 7 days after the program. The duration of challenge could be at least for duration of 1 month. The take back challenge itself should be designed in away that members have to compete to accomplish target given. It will be like a race between individuals or members. For example, the Challenge could; “Who could be the Best Sales Team?’, Which Department has shown Greatest Increase in Productivity?”, “Which shop has highest level of customers satisfaction?” and others

6. Tracking Tools
Since there are target to accomplish, a periodical tracking is required to gather actual performance results. These tracking should generate daily, weekly or monthly reports. Through the report, managers can compare the performance shown by each member who attended the results driven program. A tracking format can be made available through manual report, spreadsheet, software or other options. The best person suggests a proper tracking would be the Team building consultant. Without tracking, it is ineffectual to run a challenge.

7. Management / Leader’s Involvement and Intervention
Management or immediate superiors’ involvement is seen as one of the most important intervention required during implementation of take back challenge. One important matter to note here is that the superior need to use empowerment approach when dealing with their team. Otherwise, the inner confidence and sense of ownership created among staff during team building will defeat the main purpose. Superiors are expected to provide their best support to their team in order to accomplish the given challenge successfully.

8. Offer Rewards
This must be made known that reward plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to perform. Individuals who results driven always want to show their competitiveness by showing that they are in great desire to win the reward offered. Rewards can be offered to most successful individuals or team, and it does not have to be expensive. It would be useful if rewards can be offered on weekly and at the end of the challenge. A hamper, certificate of achievement, mobile phone, paid holiday trip can be useful reward to offer. But, managers must ensure that the rewards offered are worthwhile for the results accomplished.

9. Discuss on measurement of success – ROI
It is very important to measure the success of a Results Driven program by looking at the financial gain reaped compare to money spend to conduct the program. A positive ROI will definitely indicate a similar team building program could be used to accomplish similar or other targets in an organization

Six Steps to Increase your Team Building Success

Each year organizations invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in team building. Where some claim transformation others report little change and poor results. It’s unsurprising then that many employees react with cynicism when their trusty leader announces it’s time for the team to build and bond.

What exactly is team building?

The term team building is used to describe so many different activities it can include almost anything from the long-term process of structured team development, to pounding the boss with paintballs or even an extended lunch at the pub. No wonder results vary.

Effective team building however, involves a deliberate and planned intervention that improves the team’s performance by strengthening its relationships and systems. By keeping this in mind and by addressing each of the points below, leaders can avoid the pitfalls to increase the success of their team building initiatives.

1. Define the Teams Performance Needs

A thorough gap analysis enables the design and selection of the most effective team building strategy so it’s important to clearly identify where the team is now and where it needs to be. Identify and prioritize the issues, systems and skills that need to be developed. Involve the team in this assessment as it builds awareness and ownership.

If you don’t have the resources to do this or if you’re dealing with a particularly challenging team then consider engaging an independent consultant.

2. Determine the Purpose

Use the results of your needs assessment to determine and prioritize the objectives of your team building. For example will the team building focus on:

Improving and strengthening the team’s dynamics, climate and culture, or
Establishing or improving team structures, systems and processes, or
Are you using team building to recognize the team’s achievements?

While these areas are interconnected (often one factor will positively influence another) it’s unwise and unrealistic to incorporate too many into one programme. Focus on a few, do them well, and establish the new or improved practices with the team before moving onto the next

3. Differentiate between Recognition and Performance Improvement

Fun team building events, which are designed to reward the team, let the team know they are valued and their efforts appreciated. It’s important to invest time in building relationships through social interaction too so do allow time for team building of this nature. However, no amount of social interaction or team “trust falls” will produce sustained improvements where issues exist with the team’s leadership, design or dynamics. Just because we worked well once as team suspended 50ft in the air doesn’t guarantee we will come Monday when systems crash, calls spike and phone lines jam. Teams return to the same environment with little insight, agreement or the skills to make the necessary improvements to their system.

4. Increase Insight to Improve Performance

If you work with a consultant, ensure they design programmes which involve action learning to generates individual and collective insight. This doesn’t mean you need ropes, a cliff or a kayak. Meaningful insight occurs with less adventurous and expensive activities as long as effective debriefing supports it. Debriefing is the key to deep team learning so ensure your team building dedicates time to thoroughly debriefing activities and exercises.

5. Follow Up and Follow Through

Even well considered and structured team building events fuel cynicism when the team fails to follow through. Raised expectations go unmet, little changes, cynicism and resistance deepen, morale and performance plummet. The team building “buzz” fades and it’s back to (bad) business as usual.

To avoid this ensure your team building produces a record of the team’s learning. This record and most importantly, the team’s action plan are the tools the team needs to implement new skills, great ideas and agreements. They are far more powerful than team building tales and anecdotes. They help to keep the team on track so the buzz lasts much longer.

6. Team Building is Not the Silver Bullet

Recognise that team building events are only a small part of the overall team development process. However invest as much time upfront with your analysis and planning as you can. When poorly conceived, designed and executed team building can deliver a big dent in your budget for little more than a short-lived blip in morale.

Team Building Events – How to Choose the Best Corporate Team Building Event

Team Building Events (and specifically how to choose the best, most appropriate, team building event) for your group or situation can be extremely difficult because of… Hello?! Team Building Event Companies! If you Google “Team Building Events,” you will get results from every type of activity from classroom team training, to charity events, to outdoor scavenger hunts, to ropes courses. You will also get results from non-team building activities but fantastic shared-experiences that can be a fun way for teams to spend time together and can be a fun memorable event, but these types of activities are not really team building events — meaning that the results of the activity will be fun and memorable, but will not actually build teamwork unless the team atmosphere is already pretty high.

So how do you choose the best corporate team building activity?

There are three different, main, genres of team building activities or team events. I have listed them below along with the situations that each will be most appropriate.

1. Small Group Shared Experience Team Activities: These types of activities include any type of shared-experience whose primary purpose is to just let the group have fun with each other. As long as you have a small group and a pretty good atmosphere within the group, these types of activities are fun and very inexpensive. You are only limited by your creativity here, so you can do the old standbys like go bowling play golf (or miniature golf). There are neat places like Dave and Busters where your team can have dinner and play pool or arcade games, etc. You could take a day off and go to a theme park or dinner and a show. Pretty much, any type of fun activity will work here. There are lots of “non-team building” organizations who specialize in these types of events. (When I say “non-team building,” I really just mean that these organizations primarily do some other service as their main revenue stream, and team events are just a side revenue stream for them.) Organizations that specialize in these types of activities include big resort hotels, cooking schools, race tracks (racing schools), theme parks, bowling alleys, etc. Once your group size increases to more than 20 people or so, or if you have a specific challenge within your group that you want to improve like communication challenges, a new team leader, groups that have merged together, or other team issues, these type of team activities can actually be counter productive — so be careful unless you have a small group and a pretty strong team atmosphere already.

2. Classroom Team Building: Many people think classroom=boring, because for most of our lives, if we are in a classroom, we are being bored to death. However, good team building companies and instructors are enthusiastic and fun. Teams who have professional facilitators come in and lead these classroom events can really improve a lot of team building activities in a very short period of time. Since participants learn faster when they are having fun, a group can really get fantastic results and feel like the activities were time well spent. This type of corporate team building event is best for groups where a specific team result is trying to be reached such as if an organization merges with another company, and the leaders are trying to create a new team culture or if leadership has changed and the new leaders want to start fresh. If you are having quarterly meetings or annual meetings at your office or if you have breakout sessions at you annual convention, then these types of events work really well in those types of time slots. You can also have these facilitators come out and do keynote speeches that are fun and funny if you have an open slot at your convention or meeting. Unlike the shared-experience events, very few companies specialize in classroom activities, so they are harder to find. Be careful, because if the company specializes in big events and not seminars or workshops, you can end up with a bunch of rah-rah activities that don’t get you the best results. Try entering “classroom team building” or “classroom team building seminars” into Google, and you should get a nice shortlist of qualified companies.

3. Big Group Shared Experience Team Events: This type of event is very similar to the small group team events above, however they are much, much, much more challenging to pull off. For instance, if you have eight people in your group, you can go to a bowling alley and rent two lanes or have two foursomes at a golf course, and everyone will be active the entire time. However, if you have 100 people, or 1000 people, if you try the same activities, at any given time, a ton of people will be standing around watching (doing nothing and getting bored) unless the facilitators really know what they are doing. So if you have a big group and you want your team to have fun and stay active, this is where you really want to invest in a professional team building company. (Especially if your reputation is on the line.) DO NOT leave this decision to your event planner, by the way. Event planners are very good at getting great deals on hotel rooms, organizing complex events, making sure the food works for the group, etc., but many of them will do whatever it takes to please the customer (you). So if you ask them for a specific team building activity, they will give it to you, even if the event or activity is not the best result for your group. You will get a MUCH better result if you contact the professional team building company yourself, because these professionals will help you pick the absolute most appropriate event for your team. If you are making a mistake, the facilitators will tell you, however if you have an event planner as a go-between, and you are making a mistake, the team facilitator will tell the event planner. The event planner, because he/she wants to please you, will likely just find another company who will do what you want. Typically, you will end up with a group from category number one above. So be very careful when you have a lot on the line with a really big group.

The key to picking the best event for your group is to ask two main questions. Question number one is (1) Are you looking for a specific behavior change? If so, hire a team building company who specializes in classroom team training or hire a good team oriented keynote speaker. The second question is (2) Do you have a big group or a small group? If the group is small and you just want the group to have fun, some money and take everyone bowling. If you have a large group and you just want them to have fun, hire a company that specializes in big charity team building events or fun corporate activities and take charge of the hiring of the company and take their advice into consideration. They will save you a lot of money and make sure the event comes off without a hitch.

Team Building and Development in a Matrix Environment

What is a team?

There are many kinds of teams. A functional team is a permanent team established to conduct operational activities for a particular part of the organization, such as finance, sales, marketing, etc. There is no specified time limit on functional teams as they are needed to keep the business running. A project team is brought together for a discrete period of time to achieve a defined goal. At the end of the project the team is disbanded. Project teams are often matrix in nature, staffed by members taken from diverse functional teams in order to achieve the project goal. When the Project Manager has a high degree of authority this is known as a strong matrix; when Functional Managers have stronger authority this is known as a weak matrix.

In all organizational structures, there are many ‘teams within teams’. For example, if I am the Manager, I might have several teams within my overall team:

- Me and the whole team

- Me and each individual in my management team

- Me and all of my management team

- Me and my peers in other departments

- Each management team individual and their direct reports

This is complicated enough if the structure is a well-defined functional hierarchy. However, a matrix environment for completing projects adds in another layer of complexity. The functional ‘teams within teams’ still exist and each person has a functional ‘home’ team, but now they also belong to a ‘project’ team which has a finite life span.

All of these teams need nurturing if a project is to be successful. In a matrix environment, allegiance to the project is not created by the structure itself, but rather as a result of the relationships that are developed within the project team. Relationships in all teams are important for success, but on matrix teams, particularly weak matrix teams, where the project manager may have little authority, they are especially important. On such teams, relationships are more difficult to establish, are more fragile, and can be more easily destroyed. Keeping a diverse group of people together in a matrix team depends on building loyalty and trust.

Phases of Team Development

In 1965 Bruce Tuckman developed the theory that a team went through certain phases of group development: forming, storming, norming and performing. The phases can be summarized as follows:

- Forming – the team comes together, starts to understand the goals and boundaries, initiates the tasks, but each individual is still working somewhat independently. Managers need to be directive at this stage in order to steer the team toward the goal.

- Storming – ideas and approaches start to be exchanged about how the work can be accomplished, and this can result in conflict. This phase is critical for the growth of the team, and results in individuals learning ways to work together. Managers still need to be directive at this stage, and also accessible to ensure that conflict is resolved and the team is starting to move forward toward the goal.

- Norming – the team starts to feel a sense of achievement, rules of operation (either formal or informal) are working, and trust begins to form. Managers start to be participative, and need to be available to provide guidance as the team continues to grow together.

- Performing – the team is now maturing and often high performing. Work is accomplished, team members know how to work together, and even though conflict takes place it is managed and navigated with skill and can enhance productivity. The team requires very little supervision at this point and can largely make its own decisions.

Tuckman later added a final phase ‘adjourning’ to acknowledge that teams, in particular project teams, typically break up after the objectives of the project are complete.

Team Building Techniques

Team building activities are conducted in order to develop loyalty and trust which are a critical foundation for getting the most effective results from a matrix project team. Team building is not just about creating ‘fun’ events, although that is part of it. It is also not just about understanding team members through personality assessments, although again, that is part of it. The most effective team building involves combining a variety of tools and techniques.

- Kick off meetings – a new project should be initiated with a kick off meeting so that the purpose of the project, roles and responsibilities and how the project fits into the organization’s overall goals can be understood. This technique can be used in all types of teams, but in a matrix project team that has come together with staff from multiple different sources it is especially important as the team has no established context for the project.

- Team agreements – Teams that know how to work together are more likely to be effective and efficient. Establishing agreements can assist in this process. Collaboratively establishing ground rules for how a team will operate will provide the team with clarity and will ease communication over issues such as boundaries, responsibilities, and team member behavior. Functional teams already have this established through the use of departmental policies and procedures. However for newly formed matrix project teams that do not have rules of operation established as part of their formal organization structure, team agreements is a necessary aspect of building an effective team.

- Delivery process definition – Understanding how the work is to be accomplished makes it easier for a team to work together. Functional teams typically have the process for delivering the work established as part of the departmental rules. Given that the nature of each project may be different, matrix project teams typically do not have initial stated rules for delivering the work. For example, if a software development team is unsure which development lifecycle (waterfall, agile, etc) is being followed to achieve the project goal, confusion and a lack of productivity by the team may result. Clearly defining and establishing a process that is understood by all the players in the newly formed matrix team is critical for the success of the project.

- Conflict management- A skillful Manager will understand that conflict happens on any team and will take the initiative to establish a clear process for managing it. This provides clarity to the team in the event that conflict does occur. A newly created matrix project team will find this especially helpful as the team is not used to working together and will need to navigate this as part of the process of maturing as a team. This will also help the team move more quickly through the ‘storming’ phase of group development.

- Personality assessments – An effective way to understand the other members of a newly formed matrix project team is through team building sessions using personality assessments. These can be simple and quick assessments, such as the Personality Profile: The Shapes Test, or more complex assessments which include Strengthsfinder, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, FIRO-B, Kiersey Temperament Sorter, etc. Regardless of the specific assessment conducted, the results can bring a team significant value in determining how team members can be best utilized, how the project manager can best communicate with specific team members to get the best outcomes, and how people like to be managed to make them efficient and productive. For matrix project teams, personality assessments can help shorten the process by which the team matures and learns to work together to get the results needed by the project.

- Team building events – Group events encourage positive team dynamics to develop and mature. In matrix environments, the development of loyalty and trust is critical to the stability and effectiveness of the matrix structure. Engaging people in activities outside the project allows them to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting and is quite effective in building team esprit de corps. In addition, this allows people to find ways to work together in a non-stressful environment that can then be carried back to the workplace. Some options are:

- Social events – participating in a social activity can create a team spirit that encourages people to support each other when they are at work

- Team building ‘games’ – building or creating something outside of the project may engender a camaraderie that can then be carried back to the working day

- End of project celebration – to acknowledge the success of the project meeting the goal

- Executive Coaching – Individual and group coaching can be an effective tool in all types of organizational structures. Executive Coaches can facilitate team development, as well as individual leadership development, by focusing on areas such as collaboration skills, negotiation skills, addressing personal or group blind spots, and improving communication. For matrix project teams, Executive Coaches can assist in team building events, as well as facilitate personality assessments, and help the group understand its own dynamics and assist the team in becoming more effective. Executive Coaches can also help teams and individuals navigate conflict in an emotionally healthy way that allows the team to move quickly through the ‘storming’ phase of a project and onto the next phases, thus becoming more productive more quickly.

- Regular status updates – There are a variety of ways that status can be gathered and communicated. This is a natural activity in a functional team, as members are typically used to an established status reporting routine and may be more clear on their role in that structure. For newly formed matrix project teams it is important that team members feel that they belong to the team, and can see how their progress affects the overall progress toward the goal. Examples:

- Weekly status meetings

- One on one sessions

- Project dashboards

- Project status reports

- Clear Task Assignment – Assigning work that is relevant, achievable and appropriately challenging for the individual is important in all types of teams. In newly formed matrix project teams it is especially important to make this clear, as clarity is not necessarily provided by the structure itself, as it is in functional teams. Defining tasks clearly and explaining how team members’ roles in completing project tasks contributes to the success of the project, especially in the early stages of team development, is critical to the effectiveness and productivity of the team.

- Recognition and rewards – its is always important to recognize people that either go above and beyond, and in matrix project teams this can feel especially rewarding for the team members, if it has taken both the individuals and the team itself some considerable work to get to the point of operating smoothly together to achieve project goals. This can be in the form of a simple thank you, certificates, bonuses, gift cards, etc.

The techniques described can be used in any type of organizational structure, but are especially important for building loyalty and productivity in matrix teams. In a functional environment a level of allegiance is created by virtue of the structure itself, as there is only one focus for a team member’s loyalty. In a matrix environment a team member has multiple loyalties and may be more loyal to his or her home team than the project team. In addition, projects often have aggressive deadlines and so it is critical that project teams become efficient, effective, and productive as quickly as possible.

The techniques described above can be mapped to Tuckerman’s phases, as described below.

Forming:

- Kick off meetings

- Establish team agreement

- Personality assessments

- Goal Definition

- Clear task assignment

Storming:

- Delivery process definition

- Develop Conflict Management approach

- Executive Coaching

- Goal Reinforcement

- Clear task assignment

- Regular Status Updates

Norming

- Goal Reinforcement

- Executive Coaching

- Team building events

- Clear task assignment

- Regular Status Updates

Performing

- Regular Status Updates

- Recognition and Rewards

Adjourning

- Plan project celebration/social event

- Conduct lessons learned/post project review

Summary

In summary, team structures, even in well ordered functionally structured organizations, are inherently complex. Today’s matrixed organizations make that complexity even greater. Matrix project team members have multiple loyalties and if the team is not cohesive, these divided loyalties can be harmful to the success of the project. There is a variety of team building techniques that can be undertaken to help make teams in matrixed environments more cohesive and successful. Seasoned and successful managers and leaders will continually analyze the team, determine which of Tuckman’s phases the team is in, as well as the needs of individuals, so that effective team building techniques can be employed appropriately.

Karen Davey-Winter is an Executive Coach with over 20 years of experience in Director and Manager roles in large IT organizations. She has managed teams of over 150 people, and has considerable skill in navigating matrix organizational structures, developing leaders, influencing through collaboration and building effective teams.

How to Make Team Building Meaningful and Effective

Team building” is one of the most meaningless phrases in the English language. That’s right – meaningless. Yet the request for “team building” is the single most frequent request I receive from business executives, managers and team leaders. Almost always, leaders request team building because they cannot articulate exactly what they do want or need, or why they really need it. They just know a lot of time seems to be wasted on “relationship issues” or “we could always be more productive with a little more team work.”

“Team building” means little because it can mean so many different things in context. Most often, team building requests are about fixing or improving relationships among group members. In my work over the past 20 years, I have found that relationship issues are seldom the root cause of team problems; they are more often the symptoms. So allow me to offer a basic primer in understanding the nature of effective teams and what team building generally is all about.

First, start with an effective definition of team building. This alone will help shape a high-quality intervention with
your team. My definition is:

Team building is an Organization Development technique for improving a work group’s performance and attitudes by clarifying group goals and clarifying members’ expectations of each other.

Begin with some appreciative inquiry among team members. Consider positive qualities about your team that you can build upon. What are some of your best memorable moments? What happened or what worked that made the situation positive for the team? What kinds of actions and attitudes could you replicate from that event? What are some individual strengths on the team? Stay focused on the positive to appreciate what you have already that might be working keeping and improving further.

Consider what your team would look, feel, sound and be like in its “ideal” state in the future. What adjectives and phrases would best describe the team then? What would be the rewards to the team and to individual team members if you achieved this desired state? What would be the consequences for doing nothing – what would it mean to you as individuals if the team did nothing to progress toward this desired future?

Search for specific inhibitors to your team’s performance that might keep this team from moving toward its desired future. List all possible obstacles without any evaluation of ideas up to this point. Just record the thoughts of everyone without further analysis. List all possible inhibitors.

The “relationship issues” will come up first, but you will need dig deeper. Root causes of inhibitors need to be explored in the order listed toward the end of this article. Most importantly, team building must be an ongoing process – not a half-day activity or outing. Team building activities of that nature are effective only when used as a single element of an overall strategy for team development. Develop a customized approach depending on the context and commitment to change from leadership and team members.

Now, for each inhibitor, list possible solutions. Again, you are still brainstorming, so no evaluation of ideas; just record the ideas. Once you have discussed several alternative solutions for each inhibitor, begin to evaluate the possible solutions that could improve the team’s performance, attitudes and mutual expectations. Choose the best solution(s) for each inhibitor with some degree of group consensus. Develop an action plan for addressing each inhibitor in the event that it occurs, assigning responsibility and personal accountability for each step based on individual team members’ strengths. Determine dated milestones for when and how the team will track its progress toward the desired future.

Remember, your goal is specific: to improve team performance and attitudes by clarifying group goals and members’ expectations of one another in the following order. This requires focus, disciplined adherence to a structured process, and at least some assistance from a skilled facilitator from outside your team and organizational culture. This simple model works for any kind of team, whether it’s a marriage, a family, a church, a neighborhood or civic group, a government task force, small business or Fortune 500 corporation.

Goals

Do team members have a clear, shared understanding and articulation of the same mission, goals, vision and even values?
By the way, you might call this all-important clarification process, which is the first step necessary to get team members “on the same page”, as “The Intersection of Purpose”.
Teams I have worked with are amazed at the transformation of their attitudes, among other outcomes, just by achieving success at developing a clearly stated common mission. This is one of the reasons why I say Strategic Thinking and Planning is perhaps the most powerful “team building” activity any group can pursue.

Roles

What roles are necessary for the team to be effective and who will play those roles (individuals, Strategic Business Units, product lines, locations, departments, etc)?
Within each role, are there clearly identified goals that support the team’s overall purpose and mission?
Do team members share mutual expectations of one another (and SBUs, etc) in their respective roles?

Rules

Is everyone playing by the same rules? These include written rules like policy, procedures, regulatory issues, written core values…
This also includes “unwritten rules” – the ones that really define team and organizational culture. Typically, it is often a continuous, and sometimes very difficult and time-consuming challenge to identify a team’s unwritten rules. Team members and team leaders are typically hard-pressed to do this heavy lifting, but it can pay big dividends and nearly always requires outside assistance.

Relationships

Yes, relationship issues can produce root cause inhibitors to team success, but should only be accepted after the other three causal areas are explored and well-defined with a great degree of consensus.
Usually, when goals, roles and rules are clarified, the relationship issues take care of themselves. Conflict still exists, but is productive and exists for good reason – as the necessary ingredient for innovation. No longer is conflict about “right versus wrong” or “win versus lose”; now it’s about win-win relationships and “what is the best right answer among all our team members’ possible right answers?”
Where relationship issues still exist, now they can effectively be addressed through tools and activities like sharing behavioral style assessments (i.e. DISC) and traditional team building activities.
Now, with all this said, I do use traditional team building as a means to introduce organizations to more profound solutions. But I am very careful up front when I say “yes” to these agreements. Unless relationships are the only inhibitor to effective team development, these activities provide short-term fixes at best.
If you are a team leader, perhaps the most powerful question for you to consider before all others is, “What if I am the problem?”

Business Finance Training and Effective Business Solutions

Business finance training refers to programs that teach individuals how to handle various financial duties. Finance training is similar to finance tips in that both help business owners make better monetary decisions, but training programs offer a more detailed explanation of finance strategies. Training programs vary in price and can be used by the owners and employees of a business.

The most basic business finance training provide information on budgeting, preparing financial statements, managing cash flow, strategizing, forecasting, improving performance, and applying basic procedures and concepts to more effectively manage a business. These programs are recommended for new business owners to help them understand standard business practices. Once these basic methods are mastered, more specific financial training may be looked into.

Advanced business finance training delves more deeply into a certain financial procedure or concept, usually at a higher cost than basic programs. Advanced programs may teach business owners how to set up effective business models, make decisions based on quantitative analysis, manage and control accounts, practice due diligence, measure productivity, and strategize concerning mergers and acquisitions.

Taking part in any kind of business finance training gives a business owner the resources to make more intelligent business decisions that result in increased productivity and profits. Many different types of courses are available either online or at a specified location. Some programs may even offer the option to train at the business. Taking into consideration the needs and abilities of a business is the key to finding the best business finance training.

A business finance solution generally refers to methods of funding and maintaining the finances of a business. Most solutions involve ways of obtaining working capital, but others also offer ways of protecting and increasing that capital.

To obtain working capital, business owners look to finance solutions that offer funding by several different means. The most common means are loans and financing. Asset-based loans use a business’s assets, such as inventory and equipment, as collateral. A business may also opt for a property loan in order to acquire commercial space. Invoice financing, such as factoring, involves liquidating or selling a business’s accounts receivables in exchange for quick funding. Some businesses look to trade financing to supply their inventory. The business will tell its financer the amount and cost of goods needed, and the financer will pay for the goods. The business then repays the amount financed over a specified period of time.

Most companies that provide business finance solutions also offer ways to protect and increase a business’s capital. Credit protection safeguards a business from daily risks, such as customers not paying on time, so that the business does not suffer incredible losses. This makes it much easier for the business to borrow money in the future, and it protects the balance sheet. A finance solution may also offer business insurance plans that increase the stability of a business. The most common types of business insurance are employee and public liability, car, property, and health insurance. These business finance solutions are designed to protect businesses against potential losses.

Functions of Business Finance

Strength and soundness of business depends on the availability of finance and competency with which it is used. The abundance of finance can do wonders and its scarcity can ruin even a well established business. Finance increases the strength and viability of business. It increases the resistance capacity of a business to face losses and economic depression. It is just like a lubricant, the more it is applied to the business, the quickly the business will move. Following headings explain the importance of finance to business:

(1) Initiating Business: Finance is the first and fore most requirement of every business. It is the starting point of every business, industrial project etc. Whether you start a sole proprietary concern, a partnership firm, a company or a charity institution, you need ample amount of finance. It is equally important for profit seeking and non-profit activities. It is equally important for a multinational organization and for a free dispensary.

(2) Purchase of Assets: Finance is needed to purchase all sorts of assets. Even if credit is available some down payment is to be made. Mostly finance is needed at the start of business for the purchase of fixed assets. These fixed assets consume a large amount of initial investment of the entrepreneur, so he may face liquidity difficulty in running day to day affairs of the business.

(3) Initial Losses: No business attains high profit on the first day of commencement. Some losses are normal before the business reaches its full capacity and generate enough revenue to match cost. Finance is necessary so that these initial losses can be sustained and business can be allowed to progress gradually.

(4) Professional Services: Certain business need services of specialized personnel. Such personnel have rich experience in specialized fields and they can provide useful guidance to make business profitable. Nevertheless these services are costly. Finance is always needed so that services of such professional consultants can be hired.

(5) Development: Business is always exposed to change. New innovations and emergence of new technologies replaces old techniques out of market. So in order to remain in the market, it is needed to keep the business well equipped with all emerging tools and techniques. This required finance. New technology is always expensive as it is better than others. So finance is needed to purchase new equipment and keep the business running.

(6) Information Technology: Information technology has now changed the geography of the business battle field. The home markets have now extended virtually to other comers of the world. The whole world can be your customer or competitor. To face such a fierce competition, IT is needed. Skills and competency in IT can perform miracles. But finance is again the decisive factor. It is very much needed to incorporate expensive IT products in the business.

(7) Media War: The advertisement and promotion have now become a vital elements for the success of business. The way a businessman approaches a customer and convinces him to purchase his product has become more important than the quality of product. With advertisement on International media, a businessman can reach the minds of millions of people around the globe. However, advertisement is a luxury which every business can’t afford. Huge finance is required to meet advertisement expenses.

(8) Resource Management: Finance is very essential for efficient resource management. Resources here include capital and human resources. Maintenance of plant and equipment and training of employees all need finance. Establishment of new industrial units, expansion of plant capacity, hiring of well learned skilful laborers – all
these factors can lead to huge revenue but at the first place they need finance to start with.

(9) Stock Investments: These investments are those which are made to hold ample stock of raw materials in hand. Bulk purchase of raw materials is profitable in a sense that purchase discount can be attained and there is no danger of production halts. So companies most often hold huge amount of stocks and raw materials. But such an investment can be made only if a company has sufficient capital or finance to carry out its daily operation easily besides holding huge stock.

(10) Combating Risks: Everything is exposed to one or more risks. A business is also exposed to variety of risks. These risks include natural hazards, burden of any huge liability, loss of market or brand name etc. Finance is needed to make business powerful, so that it can sustain occasional losses and liabilities.

The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

Finding proper business financing is not easy at the best of times for most small and medium sized business owners and managers.

There are a number of reasons that collectively explain why the business financing market can be so difficult to understand and navigate.

But probably the single biggest reason is the lack of useful information about how the business financing market actually works.

Business financing information and education sources predominantly come in two forms: 1) Text books; 2) Major bank advertising.

If you’ve ever read through a educational finance text book or taken a business financing course, you already know how difficult it can be to apply the theories, principles, and strategies to a small or medium sized business.

Our formal education system provides limited information as to how the market place works, how to plan for financing requirements, how to manage periods of growth, decline, transition, start up, etc.

Sure academic books and courses can go through all these areas in great detail, but is the information practical, real world, something you can relate to and apply yourself as a manager or owner of a small or medium sized business?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO.

Most finance text books speak to big business financing dynamics that are not easily transferable to small and medium sized business scenarios.

Outside of the formal education system, the next great source of business financing information is the information provided by the major banks, which they tend to make available to you by the boat load through their broad based marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, the information by itself seldom helps you determine if a particular institution would be able to provide you with financing, or what would be required to qualify for a loan.

The good news is that business financing sources continue to grow in numbers as more and more lenders carve out a particular piece of the market to service.

In order to take advantage of these alternatives, you need to have a solid approach in place when seeking business financing.

Here’s a short list of things to consider

>>> Develop a solid, ongoing, understanding of both your personal and business assets, income, and cash flow.

Regardless of the business financing model, these elements will always come into play to some degree.

Being able to demonstrate a solid understanding of your business financials is also an indication of your ability to manage the underlying business.

>>> Monitor and manage your personal and business credit.

Small and medium sized business financing is focused on both personal and business credit histories.

Regular reviews of both personal and business credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies are important to avoid errors and credit practices that can severely damage your borrowing power.

>>> Develop your marketing position.

Yes, seeking business financing is a marketing exercise.

When applying for business financing, you’re marketing your business to lending sources and they in turn are marketing their business financing programs to you.

Think of the lender as a customer to better understand what they’re looking for. Then, develop a business proposal that addresses all their potential needs and concerns.

>>> Research Lending Sources

There are lots of business financing sources. But there is also lots of variation in the types of business applications each one is prepared to consider.

Broad based lenders rely on credit history and net worth. As you get more specific in terms of financing application and industry, lender programs become more narrow and can be harder to locate.

You need to consider things like industry, sector, and geography when looking for business financing sources.

Financing consultants and business loan brokers can be an excellent source of information to aid you in this process.

>>> Qualify The Lender

Before you make a formal application, find out if the lender has the programs and lending track record to meet your specific needs.

Too often, the lender is doing all the qualifying.

>>> Compare your options

Depending on the scenario, there can be several financing strategies that could work for your business.

Make sure you take the time to compare before making a decision. The extra time spent could save you considerable time and money in the long run.

>>> Start Today

Regardless of what your business financing needs are right now, you should regularly invest time staying on top of your business financials, monitoring your credit, and researching financing sources that fit your industry and potential future requirements.

When the time comes to acquire capital, your proactive efforts can make all the difference in getting the capital you need with terms and timing that are acceptable to your business.