Team Building Doesn’t Happen in a 50-minute Workshop

In leadership, Tips re: Professional Development on August 8, 2011 at 2:26 am

One: down to the road block, we’ve just begun, Two: the guards are through, Three: the Major’s men are on a spree, Four: Major and Wladislaw go through the door, Five: Pinkley stays out in the drive, Six: the Major gives the rope a fix, Seven: Wladislaw throws the hook to heaven, Eight: Jiminez has got a date, Nine: the other guys go up the line, Ten: Sawyer and Gilpin are in the pen, Eleven: Posey guards points five and seven, Twelve: Wladislaw and the Major go down to delve, Thirteen: Franko goes up without being seen, Fourteen: Zero-hour – Jiminez cuts the cable, Franko cuts the phone, Fifteen: Franko goes in where the others have been, Sixteen: we all come out like it’s Halloween.

Fans of classic war movies will recognize the ‘chant’ above from the movie THE DIRTY DOZEN.  Building a team of commandos requires hours and hours of drill, the practice of mission-critical skills, and many hours of mission rehearsal.  And even when things don’t go according to plan, high performing teams know enough about what’s required that they improvise, adapt, persevere, and overcome.  That’s the way it works in Hollywood.

This weekend I had the opportunity to teach a leadership elective at a Toastmasters Leadership Institute session.  As folks entered the room, I asked that they sit in birth month order from one side of the room and conference table to the other.  Participants followed my instruction for the most part.  You could see this group of individuals FORM-STORM-NORM-and-PERFORM.  I’m not sure they ever became a team.   In a 50-minute session, I doubt that even Maj. John Reisman (Lee Marvin’s character in the aforementioned movie) could whip this group of “misfits” into shape.  Team building doesn’t happen in a 50-minute workshop.

Team building is a serious business.  In the market place jobs are on the line, profits earned, and stockholders are happy when all goes well.  When things go wrong, not so.  People are laid off, money is lost, careers stall, and bills can’t be paid.

High performing teams are not easily re-formed when disaster strikes or a tragedy happens.  Today’s Washington Post headline report that “30 U.S. troops die in helicopter crash.”  Let us bow our heads and mourn the loss of our nation’s SEALs and special operations crewmen.  For those who believe, let us also offer a prayer for their families.


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