“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan
The COVID-19 vaccine was developed in record time. Multiple stakeholders across the globe – governments, scientists, corporates, members of the medical fraternity, etc – collaborated to create a vaccine in a few months when historically such a process has taken years. While the vaccine development process became a testimony to teamwork, the pandemic itself was a test of how teams would fare. Dispersed members, online operations, and blurred boundaries between work and life, have pushed teams to adapt and find new ways of thriving together.
As teams continue to operate online or embrace a hybrid work model, activities that build trust and cohesion among team members must be tailored to meet this new normal. Here are some simple but effective activities that help your people understand each other better. You can try them with your team, irrespective of whether the members are in a single location or signing-in from different continents.
- Put up a world map and ask each member of your team to throw a dart aiming at their place of birth. Next, ask each member to talk about his/ her fond memories of the place. If this is done virtually, a collaborative Google Map can be shared. This activity ends up being a fun way to learn about your co-workers and also acts as a cultural exchange platform. Such a task can also be used when onboarding new team members or to facilitate conversations about diversity.
- Louisa May Alcott the American writer said, “It takes two flints to make a fire.” In keeping with the spirit of these words, the second task requires team members to pair up – ideally, in groups of two people who will interact often with each other. One member of the pair speaks about an unpleasant situation or a negative experience they had with the other. The other person then talks about the positive side of the situation. Learning to see a silver lining in the storm helps the team analyze its weaknesses and think of how to deal with them efficiently in the future.
- Another task to try every couple of months – an anonymous ballot. Each team member can write about an aspect of the team they like and appreciate, and about another aspect they think the team needs to work upon. If being done online, digital tools can be used to collect such feedback. Once the comments are in, each suggestion can be read and discussed by the entire team. Anonymity helps with honest feedback and the discussion can be used to acknowledge and iron out the differing opinions that can arise in any team.
The benefits of a well-functioning team are unparalleled. As teams deal with workplace changes brought in by COVID-19 and reimagine the way they work, a simple truth to remember: none of us can do alone what all of us can do together.