Strategic Team Building: The Missing Ingredient in Strategic Planning

strategic team building & development activities

A colleague of mine once worked for a small organization that underwent a leadership transition. The new leader wanted to develop a brand new 10-year strategic plan. He summoned nearly everyone in the organization to an all-day strategic planning session. Then, he divided everyone into teams and assigned specific initiatives. Everyone left the meeting excited and motivated.

Within a year, the organization had very little to show for the countless meetings, employee hours, and finances invested in this plan. Teams were fractured and frustrated. After three years of struggling to gain momentum, the organization quietly abandoned the initiatives and drew up a new plan. Leaders and employees were frustrated and disappointed. What had gone wrong?

Sadly, I hear this story far too often. Leaders develop strategic plans, only to watch them fall apart in the hands of a seemingly talented group of employees. Teams walk out of development seminars feeling great about themselves and one another, yet they struggle to execute initiatives handed down from the C-suite. Why does this happen?

Why Strategic Plans Fail

Strategic planning often ignores the interpersonal aspect of team dynamics, and team development ignores the strategic business aspects. When this happens, leaders feel forced to choose: do we focus on teambuilding or strategic planning? Which is more productive?

The problem is that this is not an either/or scenario. As author Patrick Lencioni says in his book, The Advantage, the most successful organizations are not only competent – excelling at strategy, marketing, technology, and finance. They are also healthy – excelling at communication and collaboration wile minimizing politics, confusion, and destructive conflict.

Research shows that up to 70% of strategic initiatives fail, and not surprisingly, the key reasons cited behind this failure often has to do with team dynamics. Having both a solid strategic plan and a high-performing team where all members are aligned around and committed to the purpose, vision, and strategy are necessary for success.

In short, integrating team dynamics with strategic planning is imperative to goal achievement and company success. 

strategic team building: the missing ingredient in strategic planning 1

Strategic Team Development Activities that Lead to Success

 Companies that succeed know that the key to executing strategic initiatives is a high performing team.

Strategic Team Development isn’t another session with trust falls or feel-good brainstorming. Instead, teams deep-dive into developmental sessions that focus on building trust, moving from judging to valuing, and developing an environment that promotes shared purpose and buy-in to a company’s mission. What does this look like in an everyday setting?

  • Team members clearly understand how their actions move the organization closer to executing strategic initiatives and they take ownership of those duties.
  • Teams proactively identify and address challenges through collaboration and problem solving.
  • Team members are willing to be vulnerable and ask for help or clarification when needed.
  • Teams celebrate together when they accomplish their goals and encourage and hold one another accountable when they miss the mark.

The Bottom Line

Companies who want to succeed should look at interpersonal dynamics and strategic planning as a partnership rather than a competition. If my colleague’s organization had worked to develop their teams as much as they worked to develop initiatives, their experience might have ended differently.

Don’t let your strategic plan be part of the 70% that fail. There is a better way! Strategic Team Development can bridge the gap between team building and strategic initiatives. Invest in the right training today and see the difference it can make in your team’s performance and success. Here are 5 Tips for Team Building and Leadership Training Courses Available to Meet Your Goals.

If you’d like to know more about Strategic Team Development, or assess your team’s role in strategic planning, schedule a meeting or download The Holy Grail of Teamwork eBook.

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POSTED ON: Team Development