by Andy Canada
Having a strong team culture is an easy thing to talk about and promote, but it is more difficult to actually take the time to build and sustain that mentality within your team.
A strong culture depends on many ingredients, including:
- Strong leadership
- Having the right individuals on the team
- Setting goals and benchmarks to focus on
- Having an environment that allows for collaboration and open sharing of ideas
- Taking time to build team unity
Generally we do not spend much time talking about our JGA team on this blog, but this week I would like to share some insight into how we strive to build a team culture here at JGA and have fun doing it.
From the list above, we have great leadership and team members. We all work together on our strategic plan and ensuring we meet benchmarks. And, we meet once a week as a team to touch base on client work and share ideas. But I would also like to share an example of how we work to bring the team closer together.
Earlier this week our team set off for a true day of team building We didn’t talk shop (at least not very much), though we all did check email and voicemails, but for the most part we all just had a good time and caught up on each other’s lives.
It might not sound like important work, but a day out like this allows everyone to build closer relationships and a stronger team overall. At JGA we try to do at least two group activities a year outside of the office. It isn’t a great deal of time but it does take a commitment to plan ahead and make sure that all, or at least the majority of the team, can participate.
If you have never been zip-lining it is certainly an experience – especially for those of us that are not crazy about heights – and it took us all out of our comfort zones a little bit. We all encouraged each other, laughed about our “landings,” and just enjoyed each other’s company.
The time at Oliver Winery allowed us to learn about their wine making process and sample a few of their excellent wines, but it also allowed us to visit another ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company and just relax and build further on our team camaraderie.
These activities might not be listed on everyone’s list to help build a team culture and chemistry at work, but the important thing is for your organization to commit to setting aside the time to get everyone together and share in an experience. Maybe it is trip or a team building program or maybe it just a pitch-in lunch, but the time together away from the meeting table, off of the computer, and off the phone is truly invaluable.
We all have deadlines and tight calendars but if you work to build a team culture, hopefully the deadlines won’t feel as stressful or worrisome because you know you have a team standing with you to help anyway they can. It doesn’t just happen overnight but it is worth the effort and planning to move your organization in that direction.