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Lynn Flinn for TBLN

Lynn Flinn, CPA, president and managing partner of The Rowland Group of Staffing Companies, has extensive experience in staffing, leadership and business. This week’s question submitted by Carla Grogg, co-owner with husband Kelly, of Grogg’s Green Barn Garden Center and The Reserve, a space providing private events and garden-to-table dinners in the Tulsa area.

Lynn,

Owning a business that is open to the public has given us numerous opportunities to build and connect with the people of Tulsa in various ways. By being flexible and open to change, we took a piece of our retail space and turned it into an event space. By making this change, we have seen many private parties, but the ones that stand out to me the most are the team-building events.

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From lawyers groups to young professionals, each was looking for a space outside the office that was engaging and unique. As a small-business owner, I am proud to say we offer both. What sports do for us as young ones, I believe team-building can do for companies. It’s important to take time, especially in today’s culture, to get to know one another on a more personal level.

When it comes to team-building, what are your thoughts on items that should be included and considered to make it not just another meeting and a success for the company?

Carla,

Many companies do a great job of planning team-building events, while some company leaders really do not understand why they are important. I will say, as a baby boomer leader, I used to be in the latter category.

After seeing the impact team-building events have had on my team, I have come to see significant value in these events. Millennials have shown us the importance of building strong teams through activities outside of the office. Most of us are too busy during the work day to take time to talk or get to know much about our co-workers, and these functions allow us to socialize and learn more about others on our team.

Before deciding what the team-building activity should be, determine the goal of the event and design the activity around the goal. Consider the time involved and who should be included in determining the agenda.

Err on the side of inclusion to ensure a positive outcome. Leaving some people out of activities is not team building. Consider whether the activity is suitable for all people to participate and determine whether to hire an outside facilitator and what venues will work best. For big events, it may be necessary to assemble a small team to handle all of the necessary planning and execution details.

Successful team building events can include:

• Exploring and explaining the work styles and/or personalities of team members.

• Education about initiatives and/or strategic planning.

• Social interaction, including playing games, going to sporting events, trivia, making something together, etc.

• Completing challenging activities to stretch our comfort zones, such as ropes courses or escape rooms.

• Team parties to celebrate achievements or special occasions.

• A combination of one or more of the above.

When done well, team-building activities can be fondly remembered by employees for many years; they can also help build better relationships and increase communication among your team members.

Lynn Flinn is president and managing partner of The Rowland Group of Staffing Companies, which specializes in the placement of Accounting, Information Technology, Engineering and Energy professionals. Send questions for Leader 2 Leader to lynn@rowland-group.com.

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