Teambuilding Under Pressure – On Top of the World (Cup)

Teambuilding for success


Every four years, nations around the world turn their eyes toward the FIFA World Cup. Football is the world’s most popular sport with more than 3.5 billion estimated fans, and it transcends cultural boundaries in a way that most sports simply don’t. People might unite to support their own national team, or the spectacle of the tournament might draw them in. Whatever the case, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has produced high drama, joy, and surprise in equal measure.

But what makes a team tick?

The players who make up a national team squad may share a homeland, or heritage, but throughout the year they typically play in different, geographically scattered leagues, often at different levels of the game. To succeed, they must come to understand each other, and to internalise the manager’s vision in a small time period, under tremendous pressure. Beyond this, team members may have to deal with internal competition for a place on the pitch. Teambuilding is an art.

Positively oriented competition can drive innovation and breed close bonds within a team. But if it is not handled well, the consequences can spell trouble. In the workplace, it is important to balance these factors to get the most out of your own team. Sometimes, when caught up in the midst of projects and deadlines, it is easy to lose sight of how to make the most of the players on your pitch.

So, what can you do when the clock is running down? There are no great secrets, but it can be a challenge to assess the situation when so much can change in a moment.

Take time out. Refocus, and set the team up for success. One of our teambuilding workshops can help you hit the target, and reach your goals. Don’t let it come down to penalties, talk to us today.


Rolling the DICE: Don’t gamble with Change Management

Teambuilding for Success

Teams and organisations in transition face many challenges. Successfully recognising, responding to, and planning to overcome these issues is central to effective change management. In “The Hard Side of Change Management“, Hal Sirkin, Perry Keenan, and Alan Jackson outline their research on factors influencing effective organisational change. They propose the DICE Framework as a tool to assess the prospects of any individual change project.

Through their research, they identified four principal factors which correlate with successful execution of transitions in the life cycle of a business. Firstly, there is the Duration of the change program. Next, the Integrity of the collective team performance. Then, they consider the Commitment of the involved parties to the mission. Lastly, they cite the Effort required to balance existing work and change-related needs.

Connecting Dots on the DICE

With respect to the Duration of the change program, the authors determined that timely reviews of a project have more weight than the overall project’s length. Because of this, they suggest planning for review cycles of no longer than eight weeks. More frequent reviews are likely to be needed for complex changes and organisations.

The Integrity of the teams involved in handling transition is highly dependent effective leadership and team composition. A team with a blend of viewpoints and skills is stronger than one drawn together by one executive’s preferences. Therefore, an inclusive approach to forming transition teams is best.

Commitment in the DICE framework is two-sided. First, there is the perceived enthusiasm of “influential executives.” Interestingly, the authors note that influence doesn’t necessarily derive from higher titles. Secondly, team leaders must bring employees onside, because transitions will falter without their Commitment to the hard work of change.

Change can be intimidating, and it can sap a team’s energy and excitement. Low morale can have striking negative effects on overall business performance, let alone specific initiatives tied to major change. Consequently, the authors advise against expecting greater than a 10% increase in Effort from employees to adapt to change initiatives. Of course, the reality is that there is unavoidable work in coming to grips with new systems and processes. But demands must not be unreasonable.

By applying the DICE Framework to your change project, you can predict the likelihood of its success. Sometimes, however, hard truths require a soft touch, and bringing teams together in new ways can help to navigate transitions.

At SoCo Escapes, that’s what we do best. To learn about our “inspiring and creative” teambuilding activities, get in touch today.



The Morale of the Story

Beat the Drag of Low Morale

It has often been said that if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. But even jobs that bring great satisfaction are likely to have days or projects that call that wisdom into question. When a member of your team is struggling to remain positively engaged due to low morale, that can be a real problem. If that drifts like a cloud through a team, or even the whole organisation, that problem can become a crisis.

What are factors in poor workplace morale? Drs. Ben Hardy, Tanya Alcock, and Jon Malpass addressed this issue in a paper presented at the CIPD Applied Research Conference in 2016. According to their research, there are three principle domains to consider: Value, Future/Goal, and Interpersonal.

  • Value: Staff are likely to be influenced by the degree to which they feel their contributions are valued by the organisation, as well as the value they perceive their work holds in relation to organisational goals or positive real-world effects.
  • Future/Goal: Worker morale is also impacted by the ability to correlate one’s work with individual goals and collective organisational progress. Understandably, if it is difficult to observe direct results or changes arising from the work one is performing day in and day out, it becomes hard to muster genuine enthusiasm.
  • Interpersonal: Relationships in the workplace are not just about how well people get along – although it is certainly desirable to have a many positive links as possible – but about fulfilling the intrinsic need for social belonging. When employees don’t feel like they are part of a group with a collective identity and purpose – when they don’t feel like part of a REAL team – morale suffers.

SoCo Escapes teambuilding activities don’t have the power to reform a workplace or to change systems and processes that are harming morale. But work published in Small Group Research reports that teambuilding “has a positive moderate effect across all team outcomes”.

To beat the drag of low morale, or to preserve the strong team you already have, contact SoCo Escapes to book an engaging teambuilding session.

A group of people with hands stacked in unity
Strengthen your team with SoCo Escapes


Fake News and Real Teams

Keeping It “Real”

“Who’s on first. What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third.” The recounting of a baseball team’s line-up was the centrepiece of Abbott and Costello’s famous “Who’s on First?” routine, but a properly functioning team is no joke and can have a significant impact on the fortunes of any business. Organisations depend on individuals from different academic, social, and cultural backgrounds to work together toward a set of common goals. But it is not enough to simply throw a set of people together and label them a team.

According to the work of J. Richard Hackman, an expert on organisational behaviour and psychology, teams must be “real” in order to be effective. Research that he conducted with his colleagues established that teams need to have a known and firm constituent membership, and that there needs to be a genuine interdependence of team members upon each other. After all, how can a team truly act as a unit if people are unsure about who is a part of the team, or about whose skills and expertise are needed to solve a specific problem?

The success of a team requires not only leadership to guide unity of purpose, but also a familiarity within the team, not just to promote stronger bonds and a sense of collective responsibility, but to maximise the corporate value of the team’s accumulated knowledge, experience, and perspectives. Costello didn’t know who was on the team, and that created the vacuum of information necessary for Abbott to fill. While it makes for a great piece of classic comedy, it’s no way to run an organisation.

Teambuilding activities offer a proven, enjoyable way to help bolster the realness of teams. To learn more, or to book, contact SoCo Escapes. Today, not Tomorrow. He’s the pitcher.

A picture of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello at a microphone
Abbott and Costello performing “Who’s on first?”