Do you only see the shortcomings of your team and struggle to celebrate the victories? If you only see the brown spots when you look down at a beautiful green lawn, you’re overlooking a great chance to celebrate. T oo often, we’re too busy to celebrate what we have achieved. Do it often to unleash the power of your team and everyone’s joy of celebration.
What exactly is team building anyway?
When you think of team building, one of the first images that comes to mind is usually of some recent shared activity. Even if it wasn’t so recent, that was probably your first thought.
[quote]Let’s see. Wasn’t the ropes course the last thing we did together? No, I think it was that obstacle course, that crazy thing out on the woods we did? Nope, it was that scavenger hunt we had that time. Couldn’t find squat as I recall. Does that count?[/quote]
Here’s what that event often looks like
You show up in clothes you normally wouldn’t be caught dead in, but figure, hey, what the heck, it’s an outdoor challenge.
[quote]They said dress down and be prepared to get dirty. No one said not to wear these torn cutoffs and the sleeveless sweatshirt I had in college. Oh well, there’s not that much mustard on it, is there? Ooh, doesn’t smell so good either. I probably should have popped that baby in the washer first, huh?[/quote]
After everyone’s eyes stopped watering, you were broken up into teams.
You were probably paired with someone you didn’t know very well, or maybe had never met. Maybe you did know them and they’re the last person you’d want to be hooked up with. Tough luck, baby. It’s a team-building event.
I gave it everything I’ve got … I think ….
They probably kept their distance anyway … you know, the sweatshirt and all … but stood there proudly with their creased jeans and clean polo.
After a short briefing … and a few cheers, jumping jacks and “hoorahs” … you and your new partner(s) took off on the course. You took 9th place with a spirited effort, and pounded back a few beers before the BBQ and bowling started.
That may be a bit over the top, but it’s not a totally unfair description of most of the events I have witnessed.
Is that really teambuilding?
[pullquote]Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. ~Sam Walton[/pullquote]
There is nothing wrong with those events. They might contribute to stronger relationships with your teammates and a deeper appreciation of the collaborative process.
But, you might create a more lasting impression and a more powerful bond by replicating in your business environment the kind of celebration that accompanied the ceremony that recently occurred in San Francisco.
Where is my championship ring?
On April 18, the San Francisco Giants received their 2014 World Series championship rings in a ceremony prior to their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
What was striking about the ceremony wasn’t just the pomp and circumstance.
Yes, it was pretty cool to watch four parachutists spiral out of the sky and land on the field bearing the first two of the championship rings. Each of them wore bright orange flowing streamers … except for the last man who was sporting a huge and unfurled 2014 World Series Championship flag.
Jazz it up. Make it cool.
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Cool, too, to start the ceremony with a “procession of the rings.
Members of the San Francisco Symphony were situated alongside the infield. Police motorcycles with lights flashing and officers mounted on horses headed a trio of classic cars carrying the ring bearers, which paraded around the outfield warning track to the area behind home plate.
This is true team building
What was striking wasn’t just the pageantry, but the inclusiveness of the award ceremony and how it embodies the true spirit of teamship. (Yes, that really is a word.)
The infield dirt was packed with Giants, since 21 members of the active 25-man squad were on last year’s postseason roster.
You expect that a few of the leaders, e.g., the EVP of Baseball Operations, Brian Sabean and Giants Manager Bruce Bochy would receive a ring along with the 25 players on the active roster of last year’s World Series team.
[highlight]You may have not expected that the very first ring went to longtime equipment manager Mike Murphy, who has been with the club since starting as a bat boy in 1958.[/highlight]
Retired Hall of Famers? Check.
Sitting in five neatly spaced chairs at the edge of the infield were five San Francisco Giants who are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. They received honorary rings even though their playing years passed long ago.
Don’t miss that point … “even though their playing years passed long ago.”
You might not have expected the clubhouse manager, trainers, assistant trainers, line coaches and staff to also receive rings, and while not all of them participated in this public ceremony, all of them received a ring.
Players traded in the off-season? Check.
Players no longer affiliated with the winning team also receive rings. Juan Aribe, now with the rival Dodgers, got his ring privately when Los Angeles came to town for a three-game series.
Non-players affiliated with the team, including front office executives, coaches, and locker room staff, to also receive rings. After the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox ordered over 500 rings.
Find a win to celebrate
Celebrations are powerful way to reaffirm the values of your organization. When you hit the pause button and take time to celebrate, it tells everyone that their efforts are valuable and you believe it’s worth the time to celebrate them.
Celebrations should also be an integral part of your winning culture. If your company isn’t winning at something, it wouldn’t exist, so it shouldn’t be hard to find something to celebrate.
Be creative. Be original. It might not be as old-fashioned as pouring milk on the heads of your teammates at the Indy 500, but establishing a timeless and unforgettable tradition is a good thing.
Remember. Gratitude is one of those potions where there’s never too much … and you never run out.
Celebrations mean joy … and joy lifts everyone’s spirits.
It’s no secret why children squeal with delight at birthday parties and other celebrations. We may control those emotions as adults, but there’s no question that our spirits are raised and our hearts are buoyed when we’re part of a celebration that recognizes our contribution.
It also stimulates the power of positive thinking that permeates our team and has a lasting effect.
Please. Please try this at home.
Why not celebrate with the same excitement and ceremony when an important event happens in your organization?
A new store opening.
The introduction of a new product line.
A new sales or profit milestone. How many years you have been in business. An employee milestone in terms of number of people employed.
Make sure you don’t leave anyone out
When you do celebrate an important win, make sure everyone is included.
If there are people you are inclined not to include, consider why they work there in the first place.
If they aren’t contributing to the goals and success of the organization – in a way that should be equally celebrated – they probably shouldn’t be working there.
If it’s a team, everyone deserves to be recognized
If they are, and you passed that test, then everyone should be recognized for the joint and collaborative effort it took to achieve that milestone.
Try it sometime. Add some pomp and circumstance.
Jazz it up. Make it cool. Make it exciting.
It may be the most fulfilling and memorable teambuilding event in your history.
Question: What’s the best team building event you’ve attended. What made it so great? Visit our Facebook Page to share your thoughts and comments.