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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 37Conduct Occasional Team-Building Events

Offsite team-building events are expensive, often involving costs for travel, meals, lodging, and professional facilitators. The biggest cost is the salaries of the participants. As a manager, you must ensure that these events create enough value to justify the investment of time, effort, and money.

First, be clear about the goals and outcomes you want from an offsite team-building event. It is not unusual for a leader to say something like, “Larry, I need some team building. Can you facilitate a half-day for me?”

“Team building” means different things to different people. So I ask some questions.

  1. Why do you need a team-building event?
  2. What do you hope to accomplish?
  3. When it is over, if we are wildly successful, what will be different in the workplace?

Once you have clarified what you want to accomplish and why, you can move on to the most important step in this process: selecting the right facilitator. Your success will depend less on the agenda and more on the facilitator. Whether or not you accomplish your goals depends entirely on the talent of the facilitator. Because each team is unique, each of these events takes on a life of its own. A talented facilitator is attuned to the group and can sense when to detour from the planned agenda. A great facilitator can recognize an important moment, and knows how to capitalize on ...

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