Team building is a serious matter and its form should be adapted to the specificity of the organization and the team and approved by the management. It should be considered as a profitable investment in terms of money, time and engagement that will certainly be returned. MeetingPlanner.pl is interviewing Jagoda Gandziarowska-Ziołecka, board member of Pracownia Gier Szkoleniowych, awarded with MP Power Awards® 2018.
MeetingPlanner.pl: From your perspective and basing on your experience, observations and collaboration with clients what is the value of team-building and integration projects?
Jagoda Gandziarowska-Ziołecka: More and more often I can observe that our clients don’t consider integration as only an idea to have fun but also as an element contributing to build a team. They tend to look for long-term options enabling them to work on collaboration skills. They are aware that there is a direct correlation between them and productivity and results. Integration has impact on work environment and atmosphere but it also improves the exchange of information within the organization. If we have already met somebody, it is easier to talk to him, ask, admit to a mistake and we know where to look for the information we need – these are important factors facilitating the achievement of goals. That is why what clients’ seek nowadays is not ‘a one-time show’ but integration activities planned as a process – a series of meetings every couple of months. Many clients are quite spoilt because they have already seen and organized many different forms of team-building and spent q lot of money on it. They don’t expect to be surprised but want something that will have genuine impact on the quality of everyday work and collaboration. Quite often they are relieved when we propose a series of meetings instead of a single event (after which participants asked: ‘we’ve had great fun but what was it all for?’).
MP: What is of key importance when it comes to the efficiency of these programs and projects?
As well-thought and planned integrations can indeed improve significantly a team’s productivity, they should be treated seriously, as a valuable investment (of money, time and engagement) with expected return. Therefore several matters should be addressed on various stages. Before the project it is important to explore the context, the needs of the team, to get to know their challenges and goals from the organizational perspective. The goal of the integration as well as success factors – in other words what should change after the meeting, what the expected reactions and behaviors are – should be discussed with the client. Then the best solution adapted to participants’ needs can be chosen appropriately.
During the event it is recommended that the client’s representative or sponsor expresses the goal of the meeting – why they are there and what the expectations related to the meeting are. It’s not only the attractive formula or good fun that improve participants’ engagement – it also, and very importantly, the approval of the management and recognition that it is a valuable experience worth disengaging from current professional activities (not answering e-mails, putting the phone away). In order to be present and attentive. Let people do it.
The Tree of Life – one of Pracownia Gier’s proposals for team-building in the company/organization
After the meeting it is important ‘to strike while the iron is hot’. During the event we work with games, simulations and metaphors. Even short debriefing after these activities bring multiple practical conclusions. Participants should have the possibility to implement them in their everyday collaboration. An integration meeting always end with a conclusion – people feel more motivated and involved, they hope for a better communication and collaboration afterwards. It is very important that the management is supportive. I can observe that many different organizations pay attention that the results of the integration get deeper. Sometimes it can be a very small change – time to have coffee with others, to exchange information, time to celebrate successes and focus on appreciating the efforts of others or the manager asking his/her subordinate ‘what support do you need from me?’.
MP: Does the industry, I mean both the clients and agencies, need to be educated in this area?
JGZ: Education is required in that aspect that team building is a serious matter and that its form should be adapted to the specificity of the organization and the team and gain the management’s approval. When we work with agencies we always require to have the possibility to talk directly to the client or the business sponsor of the event. To convince him that his engagement is of key importance to the success of the project, to the return on the investment made. Also to get to know the organization and its particularities and needs. Sometimes it means to withstand a terrible time pressure imposed by the client and arrange for a meeting. Few really understand this need but the collaboration with them is the best. It is not a one-time undertaking but turns into a long-term cooperation and assistance. We act as a ‘home doctor’ who is consulted not only in urgent matters but also to provide advice hot to improve the immune system and take care of our health and to make routine check-ups. It is literally team building. One-time events have the same effect on collaboration as one-time visit to a fitness club on the condition of our muscles.
MP: What, in your opinion, ‘ethics in this industry’ means? What are its key indicators and what problems do you see??
JGZ: There is one answer to all these questions as for me ethics in the industry is related to trust and transparency. We can offer something valuable to the client only if we are aware of what the issues and needs of the organization. We can organize a meeting with the client and people from the agency to discuss the project and offer an attractive solution. But the agency needs to trust us to reveal the name of the client and be sure we won’t undertake anything against them. It also requires some time to get to know each other, to meet in person and discuss the rules of collaboration and our mutual interests and needs. It is difficult to make business over the phone without knowing the interlocutor who, additionally, withhold any information about the client. I understand that it is the result of various bad experiences and I am sorry for that.
According the Jury
‘When I think, leader, power, strategist, energy and competences it always leads to Jagoda Gandziarowska -Ziołecka as e = mc2. It can’t be different! An equation for the success in the industry.’
Sylwia Banaszewska, president of the board at MeetingPlanner.pl
Jagoda Gandziarowska-Ziołecka, Method and Quality Director and member of the board at Pracownia Gier Szkoleniowych rewarded with MP Power Award® 2018 in the category: Meeting planner – team building/outdoor
Since 15 years Jagoda has been using simulation games in processes related to building new teams, improving communication and implementing goal-oriented and based on trust collaboration rules. She advises large corporations how to take teams through changes and transformations. She uses the Cliftonstrengths Gallup’s methodology to develop strengths-based programs for teams and organizations. She was a lecturer of the games-based method at the university of Warsaw, Leon Koźmiński Academy and Collegium Civitas. She has written scientific and popular science publications on the applications of games and simulations in the development of teams and organizations. Expert in the leadership program Game Changers Academy.
The goal of the MP Power 12 plebiscite within the frame of the MP Power Awards® competition is to award experts and personalities in the event industry.
The original article is available at: http://www.meetingplanner.pl/artykuly/wywiady/art,107,jagoda-gandziarowska-ziolecka-do-integracji-trzeba-podejsc-powaznie.html