I want you to join me. Look at all the things that people built. You might see a mess. What I see are people inspired by each other, and by you. People take things from what you have and are making something new out of it.
-Emmet, The Lego Movie
Team building. Just let the word sit there for a few minutes. Say it aloud if you'd like. Maybe it's too painful to say out loud because you've just remembered every team building event you've ever attended in your professional life. Did you have to make something out cardboard or maybe produce? How about making it through a ropes or obstacle course with co-workers you don't quite trust? I know, you had to go on a boat in the middle of a river for an entire day and there was no alcohol. Or snacks. I know how you feel; I've experienced my share of painful team buildings myself over the years. I always challenge myself to think of two things during team building activities:
- The intention is positive. My boss is not doing this to torture us.
- I will get something out of the experience. Now that thing might be something small like I didn't tell a co-worker they were lazy when not helping with the task at hand but that's still something.
My new role is still in learning and development but now I'm less product training focused (in theory) and more focused on actual learning and development. I'm working on creating learning programs that I believe will help foster a culture of learning at my company...once they get rolled out to the workforce. I work with some wonderful people and like Corky in Waiting for Guffman, I have a vision. I feel more energized about work these days despite some of the frustrations and the slow movement I've been experiencing on some fronts. Our small team has accomplished a lot since October and I'm proud of that.
Which brings me back to team building. This week I participated in a full team offsite meeting complete with brainstorming, discussions of synergy, and you guessed it, team building! My actual team is rather small but we belong to a larger team in the grander picture of our organization and this is the group that I would be team building with. I don't know all of them well; we're spread out across two offices. Despite being part of the same group within the organization, not all of jobs intersect all that frequently. Getting to know what people actually do at work was very exciting.
What I was most looking forward to was the team building activity. I knew what was going to happen because I was involved in the conversations around planning it. We were going on a scavenger hunt at Jungle Jim's. What could be more fun than a team building scavenger hunt at the most unique grocery store I've ever been to?
|Our base camp before the scavenger hunt; sort of Medieval Times-y.|
|Jungle Jim's has an event center. You can get married there.|
As we moved into day two, we had already started down a path of thinking differently about the ways in which we interact individually, by teams, and across our department. I was responsible for some of the content during the second day. This made me both excited and a little tense as it would be my first presentation to my brand new team. It went well and several people have mentioned how it gave them something to think about related to how they do their jobs. I am not naive enough to believe that everyone enjoyed the event and the meetings as much as I did, but I do know that there were people who participated as active learners and came with an open mind and got something out of the event. Like Emmet tells President Business, people can be inspired by each other to do exciting and new things or to think differently about what we do now. Inspiration and possibility - wonderful ideas to move us forward.
Everything isn't always awesome but when you're part of team and know that others are there to help you it certainly makes everything feel awesome. (And now that song is in your head - my work here is done.)
|Not my team but we could all use more Legos in our lives.|
Coming soon to the Island: I'm doing everything wrong when it comes to summer and fun, we'll take a trip back to Dinosaur Land, and I discuss summer movies.