Team Building. 8 things you can do now!

The techniques used to build Happiness are functionally the same, whether you’re working in Finance, Technology, Media, Luxury, Mechanics or Retail or any other industry. Group happiness in all these industries is the same across the board, and the happiness of a group is very different from personal happiness, much more complex. It’s somehow far easier to instill happiness in a group, regardless of their happiness level as individuals. If the group is happy, the individuals in the group are happy - at least while they’re in the group.

Here are 8 things you can do to make your team happier and more effective:

1. Act Like a FAMILY

Team building’s sole goal is to turn a group of individuals into a family, a tribe, a tight-knit group. You may not like everyone in your family, but you are connected to them by blood and common experiences. Generally, you trust and respect members of your family. This is what you’re looking to create in a team - everywhere, every time. Everybody wants to belong to a family, a community. We’re wired this way as humans. This is why people stay in a company even if they’re not “satisfied” with their work - it’s the people, the family structure of the community.  People stay because of the people they work with.

Take a moment and think about the people you know who could certainly change jobs (more money, more responsibility, more “aligned” or a nicer office or shorter commute) but don’t. Why? Many times it’s simply because they like their coworkers. Every manager’s goal is to create a place of such well-being that employees never want to leave. It’s also the best way to see which of your employees may not belong in your organization long-term. An intense and effective 8-hour long team building workshop will reveal the personalities of all team members. It’s fascinating and enlightening. At the end of the day, you know who belongs in the family and who doesn’t. Most do, and most want to be part of the group. But some don’t. “Bad apples” (or people who just aren’t a good fit) should be addressed immediately. Your job is to protect the group over individual talent, no matter how good that talent is.

2. TRUST One Another

What makes us trust each other? Trust is a result of 2 major factors. We know the employee is smart, we know they can do the job, have got the skills, knowledge and experience. But that’s not enough. Respect is not trust. We trust this person because they’ve got your back. How do we know this? What’s the evidence? Over time, we’ve seen their vulnerability, their truth, empathy and capacity for humanity. This is one of the most important effects of team building. I know it can be hard to see this in the day to day of company life - we can’t always be raw and sensitive and real, but you have to create space, from time to time, and allow these feelings to be fully expressed in a safe space. This may happen at a workshop, where there’s plenty of time for emotions to come out, or it may happen within the constraints of day-to-day office life.

If trust is built, a family is born and a tribe can flourish. Trust is the highest currency of any tribe. To create trust there’s only one rule: VULNERABILITY. People need to feel safe exposing their feelings. Once feelings have been shared within a group, there’s nothing more to be ashamed of. We know that we’ve all got something - we’re all the same. Vulnerability comes from the fact that we all want to belong, and when I say “all” I mean 100% of humanity. The truth is that all of us want to connect to something bigger than ourselves. Some maintain that they just want money and prestige. This is BS. They ALSO want to belong. So it’s really about creating a space of comfort to allow this to happen. Of course, this also facilitates compassion.

3. Amplify Your LISTENING Skills

It’s not common to focus on this, but listening is one of the individual skills you must foster to make your team happier. The more your group’s well being increases, the more attentive each individual in the group will be, and vice versa. Listening builds trust and awareness. Don’t teach it, do it. Modeling good listening will make your team happier.

4. Boost Your Creative IQ

The happier you are as a group, the more at ease you feel, and the more comfortable you are to share your ideas with colleagues. You feel sure that they too want what’s best for the group. You’re not worried about failure, or putting forth an idea that doesn’t go anywhere. Nobody will be mad at you or resent you for trying - they’ll understand that it’s for the good of the tribe. You took a risk and it didn’t work, and that’s all. Most companies fail because they’re afraid of risks. A culture of innovation is what’s needed for success. Ask people for 10 ideas per day. Make creativity a game. Make it joyful. Creativity is much less predictable than happiness. Enjoy it and have fun.

5. AUTONOMY

For this to happen, your group has to understand each other’s strengths. You have to make sure that people understand who is a leader (or who is capable of being one), who is the creative guy or girl, who is the empath. Yes, of course, people can change, but the first step is to identify existing relative strengths in one another and build on those. Building your team first means that everyone knows one another and we all appreciate one another for our unique qualities. First, help your team to reveal these strengths. Then, leave them alone to see how they work it out while you observe. Let them be. It’s magical to see your team empowered. They’re flying. All employees want to be recognized for their accomplishments and have a sense of autonomy. Make these things a priority.

6. Decide Your VALUES

Do this on your own, without a consultant, and do it with your teams. Work out your story, before you tell it to anybody else. Your story is as important as your product. Who are you? Why is your team important? What’s the common element here? Build your story around your people, not your product. What do you do to make the world a better place? How does what you do and how you do it benefit society most? What are your values and how can you improve the world? What’s your common vision? Try to keep it real and simple. Keep it free of buzzwords and jargon - just be you!

7. ENVIRONMENT Matters

Make sure your office isn’t boring. Make an investment in your space. Bring in colors, sofas, fun artwork, a fish tank, 3d machines, whatever you need to make your physical environment fun and comfortable. Make it FUN! It’s 2016, it doesn’t need to be stiff and boring at work. Take a visit to your local Google office and see how they do it. Of course, you don’t have to have a huge budget to make a difference. You can do a lot with a coat of paint and some strategically placed artwork. I personally can’t work for even an hour in a space I don’t like. It’s just not me. People do manage to get things done despite hating their offices, but how much of their well-being are you willing to sacrifice, and how much productivity are you willing to lose?

8. INVEST in happiness at work

Happiness isn’t a joke. It’s real. It’s science. It’s what all people strive for, but it’s the natural state of humanity. Some are good at Math, some at People. Not all human resources have time for happiness. There are so many rules and regulations these days! Data shows up to 30 percent more productivity in teams that hire coaches like me. Up to 90 percent of people are disengaged at work (Gallup). This results is 500 billion dollars a year in lost revenue in the US alone. Be happy, do something!

Are you (un) happy in your team? What would make you happier at work?

 

Arnaud Collery is a member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce. He is a full time team-builder , #chiefhappinessofficer and emotional intelligence coach. He is a principal consultant at kikaimining.com. His US clients have included : Cartier, Chanel  and the United Nations ; his overseas clients : Novartis, World Economic Forum-Mena and Silatech.  He is also the founder and principal at standupforpassion.com, an inspirational storytelling event in NY & Tokyo. He is active in technology & media. He is a hackathon winner as well as an award-winning filmmaker & comedian. He has worked extensively in NY but also in California, Japan, China, South Africa, the Middle-East  and France.  

Watch his Ted X on happiness at work :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZw3RnxT120