As we step into the final few months of 2022, we at Summit are finding it difficult to believe that this year is already almost coming to an end!
2022 has been a year of tremendous recovery and change, and in recent weeks, we as a team have taken some time to reflect on the changes that have emerged occurred over the past year. Specifically, we’ve noticed 5 distinct trends that seem to have affected many of the teams we’ve worked with this year.
We hope that our observations and reflections will be helpful to you as you reflect on your own team progress this year and prepare your teams and organizations for the year ahead!
1. THE RETURN OF IN-PERSON TEAM BUILDING
In March of 2020, team building as we knew it pretty much stopped overnight. After a brief period of “what do we do now,” team building turned virtual. Although virtual was a good stop-gap, it did not, and cannot, replace in-person team building.
We had a few start and stop periods of in-person meetings in the fall of 2021, but it was not until spring 2022 that we really saw a return to in-person meetings. With this came the return to in-person team building, which went from 0-100 in a matter of days.
At Summit Team Building, we saw our busiest June ever as this in-person rebound began, and this trend looks to continue well into 2023. So, what are groups asking for and what are they in need of?
2. TEAMS ARE EXPERIENCING A DECLINE IN COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION
We all know the huge impact that the remote work environment has on our teams. Yes, working from home provided many benefits, but overall collaboration and communication fell significantly within most teams. This resulted in the formation of silos, breaking down of trust, stifling of creativity, and numerous other group dynamic challenges.
Now that teams are meeting once again, we need to remedy this.
3. TEAMS NEED RELATIONAL RE-CONNECTION
Within our business model at Summit Team Building, we offer three types of services: team building, training and development, and motivational keynotes. In pre-pandemic times, the make-up of the business distribution was about 40-40-20 respectively. Since in-person team building began once again in the spring of 2022, the distribution has changed to about 80-10-10. What does this mean and why is this happening?
This year, many teams are conducting their meetings in-person for the first time in several years. During these meetings and offsites, we’ve noted several key observations.
First, many team members are meeting one another for the first time. With many new hires having been on-boarded virtually over the past two years, many are coming into their team offsites this year never having met their colleagues in person before. Further, colleagues who have worked together since before the pandemic have not seen one another in-person in a long time.
Many team members, therefore, are not (or no longer) familiar with their teams. This applies to leaders as well, many of whom have also been on-boarded virtually over the course of the pandemic. As a result, both team members and leaders have come into their meetings without a full understanding of the individual styles and makeup of their teams.
So, what have teams done about this dilemma? From what we’ve observed, we’ve noticed that teams have – and rightly so – recognized the importance of investing in relational (re)connection; hence, the massive demand for team building.
Team building programs tend to be in the 90-minute range, they are fun, engaging, energizing, and focused on relationship development. We suspect that the impact that these programs have on team relationships is one of the main reasons why we’ve had so many teams asking for team building programs.
One of the guiding tenants at Summit is that “relationships are the foundation of all high-performance teams”. Without a strong foundation built on relationships, it will be difficult to achieve full potential as a team.
4. TEAMS NEED TO HAVE FUN TOGETHER
As people, one of the primary ways that we build relationships with one another is by learning to have fun together.
Without a doubt, this applies to work relationships as well. Leaders are increasingly realizing that intentional, well-facilitated, and fun experiences are the best way for breaking the ice.
Especially in offsite events that consist of content-heavy meetings, many team members simply are no longer used to sitting through these long, in-person meetings. The need for fun during these events cannot be overstated.
This is where team building programs shine. Team building programs generally get people out of the meeting room and connecting in a fun and guided fashion. The goal of the team building program is to help people re-connect, to foster positive team interactions, to energize the team, and make them feel part of a team once again. Further, there is learning going on related to team problem solving, communication, overcoming challenge and many more important team skills; however, in team building, this is more organic and not done through a lot of content presentation and discussion.
This is another key reason why we’ve seen an unprecedented surge in team building requests. Teams just want to connect and have fun together. We call this “playing with a purpose”.
5. TEAMS NEED TO RE-LEARN KEY SKILLS
Finally, there is another trend just on the horizon. Once teams have begun to re-connect through team building, they are finding that they are not performing at their best. There has been some dysfunction that has crept in, and now, this must be dealt with. This is where training and development comes in.
Teams need to re-learn how to work effectively together again. We are starting to see a strong increase in requests for training workshops to help teams regain their strength. Communication, as always, is a struggle. When relationships are held back through remote work, trust will naturally decrease and this impacts communication in a negative way. Teams need to learn about each other through training workshops, and to look at the skills that make them effective communicators. This allows them to collaborate, make decisions and overcome challenges and changes effectively.
Training and development workshops are generally half to a full day in duration and are focused on learning and application to enhance team and individual skills. These are often stand-alone training workshops but are sometimes connected to a larger meeting or conference.
Building a high-performance team is similar to assembling a puzzle. There are many pieces required to make a complete puzzle. Team building and training are two critical pieces to this puzzle and if they are missing, you will notice it.
Do any of these trends resonate with you and your team? We would love to connect with you and talk about how we can help you address your team’s current needs, and prepare them to thrive in the upcoming year. We look forward to connecting with you!