Invest in your crayons – reap the benefits

By on September 1, 2014

Looking after your employees, while identifying their unique attributes and skills, is the key to unlocking your businesses potential.

Using the analogy of a box of crayons to define the different members that make up a team, Colette Lourens, Industrial Psychologist of niche consulting firm, Bizmod believes we can learn a lot from crayons. “Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have strange names and all are different colours…but they all live together in the same box.”

Lourens says that when defining employees in this regard it becomes evident that team building is a very important component of every organisation.  It is unfortunate then that team building has been tainted by the view and expectation that it is merely a fun breakaway with no relevance to the organisation or employees work life.  “A fun day out of the office may sound appealing, but after a few days the effect has worn off and employees revert to their old behaviour,” says Lourens.

Team building can be a creative and alternative tool to clarify individual expectations, enhancing skills and abilities and forming a cohesive unit.  Lourens provides the 6 tips below to optimally bring all your crayons in the box together.

  • Have a clear understanding of underlying issues that the teambuilding activities need to address – does the team need to get to know one another, does poor communication or a lack of trust slow their progress or is conflict between certain people creating division in the team?
  • Ensure that the facilitator understands the expectations of the session.  Provide the facilitator with the background, history and context relating to any current situation and team dynamic.
  • Activities should facilitate discussion and engagement.  Participants should reap the benefits of both self-development and developing as a cohesive unit.
  • Set aside adequate time ensuring sufficient time for engagement, debriefing and reflection.
  • Determine a realistic budget based on your requirements.
  • Prepare the team by providing details to what the teambuilding activities will entail.

Teambuilding should be strategically planned so that it elicits behaviours that relate to the challenges a team may be experiencing, linking back to their daily job and workplace habits.  “For an organisation and its teams to evolve, teambuilding needs to be an ongoing process.  This does not mean that every session has to be a breakaway, but there should be time set aside to strategically address this important component,” concludes Lourens.

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