I think team maintenance is more important than team building. Team maintenance in the workplace is often overlooked as the part of the team growth process. It’s all about team-building, but what happens after the team has built the initial connection (or re-connection)?
Team maintenance in the workplace preserves the bonds, connections and networks necessary for collaboration. Most teams work hard to build these bonds, but they can go away. Teams are essentially people gathered around a mission or common goal. If these people have some form of a connection (or a relationship), they are able to perform cohesively.
Cohesion is the connection. Collaboration is the medium by which work is accomplished. By working together, a group of people are empowered to be effective, solve problems and be creative.
Team maintenance includes the systems and resources that keep staff engaged and the team connected. It is not always easy. In her article, “Maybe Collaboration Doesn’t Work?“, Beth O’Neill promises “collaboration isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come naturally.” Read the entire blog post for great insight on facilitating consensus.
It’s a Start…
Team-building, on the other hand, tends to be more introductory. It’s the first step toward a group of humans understanding one another and building a sense of trust. After the initial “connection”, team-building should soon morph into team maintenance. It becomes something done regularly to renew existing connections and bolster ongoing trust.
Once your team has completed group formation, brainstorm ways to strengthen those connections throughout the year. Consider it a team “oil change”. That was corny, I know. Yeah, team maintenance ensure success …in the long-term.