Prior to founding Recipe for Success, Culinary Team Building, I spent many years in the corporate world. During the early years the bane of my existence was getting my teams to work together effectively. I felt everyone was not pushing in the same direction and this problem was hindering our growth. I knew I had to quickly decimate this road block. I decided to break the concept of effective team building down to its lowest common denominator so that everyone could understand in simple terms what good teamwork was really all about.
To my surprise what I learned was that effective Team Building was really all about good communication skills.
Whenever you have more than 2 people working on a project, communication is key to achieving an excellent result.
Recipe for Success produces Corporate Team Building activities using cooking as a metaphor for working effectively together. You might wonder how does this communication concept apply to corporate team building and cooking? Have you ever gone to a restaurant with let’s say ten people and wonder how do they get all the appetizers to come out of the kitchen at the same time, all the salads at the same time , all the main courses etc. Well, back in the kitchen the cooks work in teams. One team prepares the cold items, one team the proteins, one team the vegetables, one team the desserts etc. All the various items from each team must be ready to serve at the same time or the dish will come out cold, unacceptable to their customers. How does the kitchen accomplish this difficult task being that they are inundated with orders that seem to come in all at the same time during the short service window. Only through excellent communication skills can the kitchen run smoothly and meet these challenges. As a matter of fact in a busy establishment cooks create their own shorthand language to keep everyone abreast of where in the process each dish stands at any particular time. A daunting task, I am sure you will agree. Only through this high level team communication is it possible.
Sports is another obvious team work activity where good communication is key. Lets look at Baseball, before each pitch the Catcher hand signals to the Pitcher what pitch he would like him to throw and where in the strike zone he wants the pitch to end up. Pitching is a game of inches with the pitch coming to the Catcher at 100 miles per hour and sometimes curving into the plate at the last second, imagine if the Catcher did not know where the pitch is going and if it will curve left, right, sink down or rise up.
Effective Team Work in the Corporation is where this concept of good communication skills may be most important. Good communication encompasses two major elements: Talking and Listening. First, you can’t have effective communication without everyone on the team being encouraged to put ideas on the table for discussion. All ideas have value. Some team members may be reluctant to voice their ideas and opinions. It is of prime importance that all team members feel what they have to say is taken seriously by the other members of the team. The more ideas and solutions that are discussed the better the ultimate outcome will be.
Secondly, listening is just as important as talking. If all team members are not actively listening, you cannot have a meaningful discussion. Listening means showing respect for all comments from all team members.
Like any endeavor, excellent team work takes practice. You might consider periodically arranging Corporate Team Building activities and exercises to strengthen that communication muscle.