Team collaboration is essential to the success of any business. And yet, creating a foundation for teams to thrive is a difficult feat for many organizations; even more so today, when teams assembled teams are more dynamic than teams of the past. For this reason, team building should be at the top of any business leaders list if they want to keep their competitive edge.
We at ImageThink know that teams are not born, they are built. As graphic recorders, working closely with thousands of teams in leading companies from major industries, we’ve had the opportunity to help build teams from the ground up. Now, we’re sharing some of our key components of team building, to help you build the perfect team.
Developing a Team Mantra
Every team needs a mantra or rallying cry to inspire team members and unite them to the greater whole. Mantras are usually visionary statements that are reflective of the team’s culture. Over time, they are naturally used by the team because they signify a value or belief inside of the company.
In developing a team mantra, we have team members work together on each of the team’s identifying elements, starting with a unique team name. Once a team name is chosen, we get into the collaborative process of creating a rallying cry to serve as the articulation of the most important aspects of their collaboration. Graphic recording helps capture all the all of the inspiring thoughts from individuals to reveal an image of statements that encapsulate the team.
Identifying the Why
Realizing a team’s full potential requires aligning on a vision. To do that, teams need to identify their purpose, along with their team’s strengths and weaknesses. With visual support and creative exercises, working through these areas makes the process smoother and more collaborative.
Real time visual capturing by graphic recorders can ignite a team and energize them to discover what motivates them to show up. Visuals help clarify the team purpose or vision and allow team members to absorb it into memory – one of the many great perks of using visuals to aid business practices.
With the “why” defined, teams can shift their focus to their strengths and where there is opportunity to grow. A fun, creative exercise we like to conduct with teams is our “What’s your superpower?” activity, which calls on individuals to identify their personal strengths visually. When team members highlight their strengths through a superhero image or emblem and share it with their group, it connects like-strengths between team members, and provides a way to determine team roles. Identifying strengths also reveals where there are gaps, individually and as a team.
Creating a Safe Environment
A crucial aspect of team building is ensuring that the team environment is safe, and that team members have access to the resources they need to achieve the goals that have been set. Working visually provides a medium for team members to feel comfortable addressing what they need in order to work effectively throughout the duration of the collaboration.
Throughout the time a team spends together, check-ins are a great way to promote team safety. And, as a graphic recording firm, we’d like to suggest going the visual route to do so. The “Blob Tree” exercise is an exceptional solution that allows team members to share how they’re feeling in the moment or in their current situation. By using a visual depiction – a blob – team members can disassociate and speak openly and honestly about themselves.
Planning in Intervals
After a team has identified what they collectively wish to achieve, it’s time to plan a course of action. In a session facilitated by ImageThink, we help teams inch them closer to the goals they have set for themselves. Working in distinct time periods (i.e., 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.) allows teams to think objectively about their time together and consider how they can get the most out of their collaboration.
Objectives planned in time intervals and captured visually gives teams the opportunity to identify what success looks like, and measure and track efforts via steps. And, of course, it’s always nice to have a visual track record to fall back on if necessary.
Setting Milestones or Mapping a Team Journey
A wonderful aspect of having a graphic recorder present in team gatherings is that they can provide a visual mapping of milestones or a journey reflective of the team’s time together. After all, team building should eventually lean into the work that the team will do together.
A team or journey map is an excellent way to assess a team’s current position, and project an end result. Additionally, the visualization of milestones helps determine the importance of tasks, and measures progress along the way.
If you’re assembling a new team in the new year, or looking to improve processes between departments, an ImageThink graphic recorder can help set your team or organization up for success. Connect with us today to learn how we can help with team building, goal setting, and bringing your ideas to action.