When (and How) to Take Time-Out For Team Building

The research is clear: creating a strong team culture is good for business.

Engaged teams are proven to increase profits and boost productivity — and the most successful companies do this by establishing and nurturing high-performing, high-trust teams. But when (and how) do they do it?

High-performing teams don’t form overnight. Team building takes time. When teams get busy, unfortunately the first thing that falls by the wayside is arguably the most important thing to do when the stakes are high and time is scarce — spending time together to make connections through thoughtful dialogue.

It’s rarely a bad idea to gather a team in person, but there are some times when it’s critical. Here are a few of those moments, and some suggestions on where to focus when you’re together.

When to Invest in Team Building

1. Got a new team? Host a team kick-off!

You’ve recently established a new team — this could be a new department/function, a new project team, or an intact team that you’ve started leading. Whatever the reason for your newly established team, you’ll want to bring people together as soon as you can to help establish trust, calm potential fears, and make connections. Be sure to set aside dedicated time (making team building more than just a once-and-done activity) to focus on building high-trust relationships, encouraging the team to voice their ideas, and co-creating the team’s purpose and vision.

2. Experiencing performance issues? Host a trouble-shooting session.

Is your team having trouble accomplishing its goals or been consistently missing targets? Did you recently receive negative feedback from clients or customers, or observe low engagement from team members? Your team may need a reset to help it get back on the right track. The good news is now is the perfect time to bring your team together to show them that you’re invested in helping turn things around. Host a trouble-shooting session to review the team’s purpose and goals, ground them in the discussion, and invite them to be part of the solution.

3. Is your team ready to take its performance to the next level? Host a team visioning session.

Take a minute to pat yourself on the back — your team is showing readiness to take on new challenges and achieve more. You’re looking for ways to support the team’s learning and enable continued growth, while maintaining the team’s focus on high performance. This is a great time to help your team identify what’s next, discuss where they want to develop, challenge themselves, and determine how the team’s strengths can best support the vision and goals of the organization.

Setting aside time for meaningful conversations and development through meetings, workshops, and off sites helps teams establish and build a foundation for long-term success. So don’t wait — take the time now to get and keep your team performing to its full potential.