Making Transformational Teambuilding Possible

After more than a decade of “the war for talent,” the quest to build and grow an engaged and excited workforce has remained elusive. There are seven main steps to organizing and executing a transformational team building which can create a culture of collaboration and execution of strategy and results in any company.

If you believe the research that “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and the only way to achieve business results is by enabling teams to become highly engaged and happy, then transformational team building is for you.

Webster’s dictionary describes the verb, “transform” as “to change (something) completely and usually in a good way.” If you are a part of a disengaged, unexcited, low performing team, you know how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning to go to work. And, transformation is exactly what you need.

Here are seven steps for transforming your team to become high performing, highly energized and engaged.


Before the beginning of the transformational team building event, leaders must make clear which objectives they hope to accomplish as a result of the event. The first objective is to transform the core leadership team. The second is to transform their organization. The creation of both objectives is a compelling reason for change and a set of clear outcomes.

Transforming requires giving time for employee to air grievances, active listening, and choosing employees who will help in the design and facilitation of the meeting itself.

Transform the Executive Team

Three of the most important competencies to lead change and transformation in a system are 1. establishing trust, 2. “being” in effective relationships and 3. having a unified vision for a compelling future. The major difference between traditional team building and transformational team building areas is that these three competencies become highly developed through careful planning, active listening, dialogue, and gathering real-time data from employees.

Planning the Transformational Session

The design team plans and perfects the event well in advance. Typically, the selected design team plus one representative from the executive group should meet 3 to 5 times over 1 to 3 months prior to the transformation session. The objective of the design team is to plan in detail the most compelling and powerful meeting that they have ever experienced.

It is not unusual for this to be a 40 to 70-page document that will be revised 15 to 30 times. The design team is challenged to continuously improve the meeting agenda until they believe that transformation will absolutely occur.

Logistical Support

The event location, selection of team building activities, interactive dynamics and factors specific to realizing the conference’s objectives must be taken into consideration. Prior to the event a support-team leader choreographs each step of the script with the needed materials and the movements of a floor support team, which should have one member for every 25 participants in the full group.

Facilitating the Transformation Session

In this step, participants engage in a process called “real-time change.” That is, they grapple with fundamental issues that they or the planning team have identified and that involve them in customized interactive activities to resolve their challenges. Past examples include integrating different IT systems or cultures from an acquired company; creating interdependencies after a corporate restructuring; coping with rapid growth; and doing work right and fast.

When facilitating the session, it is important for planners to choose which approach they want to use for scheduling breakout sessions. A serial approach means that small groups meet all at once and focus on teambuilding solely within small teams, all meeting simultaneously. In contrast, the sequential approach requires that the large group participates in all events together in back-to-back order.

Implementing Commitments & Actions

The design team must also concentrate on making changes possible after the event takes place. For example, towards the end of the meeting, leaders often develop action plans which allow cross-functional working groups and implementation teams to ensure coordination of follow up activities.

Leaders must also diffuse ideas to all parts of the organization, including remote teams. They should reinforce practice by modeling the new behavior necessary to make a paradigm shift and grow that culture.

They must also institutionalize structures for change by modifying or creating new processes that can be integrated into the organization’s daily operations, such as annual business planning.

Measuring Results

Lastly, if the conference is successful an organization should expect to see that talent not only develops… it transforms. As a result, participants tear down barriers and put in place a rich web that weaves the organization together in a profound and fundamental way.

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