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Corporate Team Building Tips to Build a Rockstar Agile Team

Relationships ebb and flow. At work, at home - it’s a fact of life. 

With colleagues, friends or family, there are times you can feel such a connection, so in sync. You’re on the same wavelength. You know what we’re talking about, that reading-your-mind, finishing-your-sentences kind of connection. When you find and tap into this kind of connection at work, great things start to happen.

Other times, people can completely drift apart. Whether that person is halfway round the world or sitting right next to you, it simply doesn’t matter, something has changed. You might find yourself looking over at this person, thinking, “hey, isn’t it crazy how we used to be so close? Remember how much fun we had when we...” So, what happened? It might just be that you’re in different places in your life. Or maybe you’re feeling disengaged, uninspired, and undervalued. The demands of 21st century living can be overwhelming at times, for anyone.

Sometimes you just need a reminder, a helping hand. Whether at home or at work, relationships take some time. They need maintenance. Acknowledgement, gratitude, TLC.

Things get complex in the workplace, spending so much time together in a pressured environment. Whatever your industry, whatever the size of your team. A single office, multiple locations, a distributed team or a remote team, work from home. The arrival of a new employee, the departure of an old one. Mental health.  All these factors only contribute further to the ever changing dynamics of the 21st century team. Events like these can completely alter the mood and energy of a team.

You will have noticed the knock on effects, when one person is feeling the strain, the whole team can be affected. This shift in thinking, this change of energy, will undoubtedly have an effect on performance and well being, whether it’s a reduction in quality, quantity, or in the team’s ability to be flexible with an agile mindset. Conversely, a new arrival of positive energy, a force for good, can spark change in a team, office or working environment. We all have our effect on one another, we need to be careful how we use it.

Here at Totem, we like to think of this effect as a jolt. A supercharged emotional impact. A force for good. At Totem, we’ve developed our very own feedback method, the Positive Impactful Feedback Method (PIF). It really is one feedback method to rule them all. The PIF Method is central to everything we do here at Totem. You’ll see elements of it in both our “Feel Good” Corporate Team Building and our flagship product, Totem the “Feel Good” game, a unique relationship building tool gamifying psychology and personal development techniques. 

PIF

Agile team building has been the term on everyone’s lips for some time now, with the phrase officially coined in 2001 in the agile manifesto. The agile framework is considered a major turning point in how software and systems are developed.

1. An agile team should work by project or in batches, allowing them to reach completion, assess and evaluate their performance or working methods and then adjust accordingly.

So what’s all this got to do with Totem?

Self assessment and evaluation come from getting to know ourselves and those around us better. At Totem, we offer unique activities helping people find and tap into their own unique areas of genius. Our activities are centred around getting to know the other players and their own individual talents and qualities in order to help them shine.

2. If you want to build great agile teams, it is absolutely essential that your employees are engaged, empowered and motivated. 

Don’t know where to begin? 

At Totem this is what we’re all about! We help your team members identify their strengths, you’d be surprised how many people really don’t know what they are best at! By declaring and acknowledging these strengths as a team, employees can start operating in their unique area of genius, tapping into their unique skill sets and adopting an agile approach. This kickstarts a unique cycle, one you definitely want to be part of! Finding your area of genius, being your best self, these are the first steps towards feeling empowered at work for an agile team member.

3. Agile teams are self-organising and self managing. In a successful agile team you will find individuals naturally directing themselves and their activity rather than a traditional management approach. 

Disrupt your workplace through agile transformation with Totem! Make the shift from outdated management practices and team structure of silos, red tape and hierarchy and join us in the 21st century workplace with our agile team building!

4. In an agile project team, team members have a strong sense of accountability, for the end customer, a company stakeholder, their colleagues, whether that’s those who are working alongside them or teams company-wide, they are depending on them to deliver and that’s what counts. 

Learning what makes us tick and getting to know each other better, Totem’s corporate team building activity fosters this sense of belonging that is essential for employees to develop true accountability and operate as an effective agile team

5. Anyone in a leadership role in an agile environment should focus on providing vision and building an autonomy supportive environment. A high performing agile team will become self reliant with decentralised decision making. Teams should be multidisciplinary with diverse skill sets, allowing them to make decisions quickly within the team without having to seek outside advice. A cross functional team has a complete picture of their workplace. This means understanding the company’s entire processes, where they fit in and what part they play. Agile team leaders should be talented coaches and mentors. Your team members need an agile coach with a clear goal and vision to work towards as a high performing team.

Can you sum up the vision of your organization right now, on the spot? 

Let us help you outline this and more in our "Feel Good" Corporate Team Building activity!

6. Agile teams thrive in environments where they feel safe enough to take risks, without fear of criticism in the event that it doesn’t pay off. 

With our "Feel Good" Corporate Team Building activity, trust is developed to a level where healthy discussions can take place, with team members feeling comfortable enough to respectfully disagree or clash on certain issues, fostering new ideas and solutions.

Simply grouping together employees with shared skill sets is no longer considered an effective way to build teams, now agility is key. 

Design, Build, Test, Deploy

Many agile teams work around Design, Build, Test, Deploy.

Design - understanding company vision and knowing their purpose, team members are able to set their own goals and self organise.

Build - as a cross disciplinary team, team members have the skills needed to carry out their mission without consulting external influences, eliminating the need for back and forth, miscommunication and time delays.

Test - the team’s strong sense of accountability to each other and to other teams means they can assess their own work to ensure quality and performance.

Deploy - project completion, seeing the end to end process and having the autonomy to declare a project complete and deploy it.

  • Agile teams should keep in mind the value they are delivering to the customer.
  • Agile team members shouldn’t have competing responsibilities, meaning they are full time team members. If some are freelancers or contractors, try to ensure a majority of their time is dedicated to the current project to instill this sense of unity.
  • For better or for worse, results are attributed to the team as a whole rather than blaming individuals when things don’t go to plan.

Cross Disciplinary Teams

In this way, the focus is very much on results and not roles and responsibilities. In this cross disciplinary team you will find technical minds contributing to the development process and marketing strategy and even the most creative minds being able to give their take on the most dense technical processes. These days, it’s hard to deny that at least some form of teamwork or collaboration is essential for producing great work. It’s a common misconception that agile teams are reserved primarily for engineering and software development, but agile team theories can be applied across any area of business, from marketing to HR and finance.

Team Size

A team should be made up of between 3 and 10 people. Although one person may contribute to multiple teams, in this case it is unlikely they will consider themselves a full member of the team. In terms of agile project management it is thought that this can affect the cohesion and togetherness of the team. One theory is that communication quality diminishes as team size increases, so you might find it more effective to have two smaller teams than one large one.

Structure

Mentoring is no longer a hierarchical process. It is not restricted to junior team members learning from senior leaders. In an agile team, everyone learns from each other, regardless of ranking or seniority, for change, flexibility, adaptation and continuous improvement. This is the information age and there are no barriers to knowledge. People work side by side and are not intimidated by those with senior titles and larger responsibilities. We are learning all the time and we want to learn from each other on a daily basis at work. 

Reflection

Reviews and retrospectives are essential in building an agile team. This begins with self reflection, before learning to understand those around us. We’ll say it again, this is our speciality here at Totem. We want to make the workplace more human. Performance and well being can coexist, let us show you how. 

The concept of an agile team was developed over 20 years ago now. Agile teams have become a stalwart of today’s workplace. These small, independent teams are a tried, tested and proven structure for driving ambition among a close knit group of colleagues. 

In an agile team, everyone has a vital role to play. This serves as a wonderful morale boost. This sense of accomplishment bolsters our self confidence, furthering our autonomy and independence. 

“I like to believe that times are changing, that our innate need for giving and receiving love, for connecting deeply with others, is becoming more and more accepted. We enable people to access a positive part of their humanity, to connect with their colleagues, understand and express what they like about each other”. - Jade Tremblay, Totem CEO and Co-Founder

Here at Totem, we’re all about bringing out the best in people, helping them shine. It’s our mission. We’ve been on this journey for several years now, honing our expertise. For our founding team, personal development and empowering people has been a lifelong passion. Our work at Totem combines our personal experience with the latest psychological research, providing solutions that can be used at work or at home, with colleagues or with friends, for adults, children and teens alike.

Our corporate team building activity can be hosted live on site by one of us, a certified Totem facilitator. Alternatively, it can be conducted virtually online, this works well for teams across multiple locations. You can even take the reins and host the activity yourself, putting your own spin on the event and giving you complete control, an event customised for your teams.

Schedule a call with us today.

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