I feel like the term team building gets thrown around all the time these days. Don’t you agree? What does that even mean?! Even though the Jewel Toned Interiors design team is considered a micro enterprise (a workforce of less than nine individuals,) to me it is even more important that we are all on the same page and share the same vision.
I would have liked to experienced this ‘importance’ with peers in my previous workplace ,so now I implement quarterly pow wows for the JTI Team. We block our calendar, hunker down in the conference room and discuss the status of our design company. It sounds daunting but it doesn’t have to be with strategic planning, let me explain…
At the start, I introduce it as an ‘open floor’ and let everyone know that although it is not a ‘Debbie Downer’ session, it is a time for us to be honest and openly share our thoughts and feelings about our positions and our responsibilities.
The first hour is spent discussing Pareto’s Law which in business is how often 20% of your clients provide 80% of your revenue. It can also be said that 20% of your projects provide 80% of your enjoyment in the process. We talk through the various projects we have on the books and separate them into smiley, neutral or frown-y categories. I then take the happy face or clients in the smiley section and move the ones that pay on time up as they are our true diamonds in the rough. (I can’t get enough of jewel related puns these days!)
Taking personality tests and strength finders has helped all of us realize how we differ from each other and what makes each other “tick.” We spend the next hour reviewing the results. Good tests to use are, Gallup Strengths finder, the DISC personality test and the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator. Any new hires are given extra time so we can listen to their findings and then update them on the attributes of the rest of team. After we go over our individual traits, we talk about how some positions naturally need to be shifted to better serve each other and the company.
At this point in the day a vendor brings us lunch and we have a little “downtime” to laugh and relax.
To begin the next hour activity, I have stacks of sharpies and different colored post-its on the table. Although a bit idealistic, I call this “JTI Utopia” and ask everyone to share their personal and career dreams. I set a timer for three minutes and each of us writes out the ideal situation for work. This is open table so anything goes! I just say to use your imagination and try to imagine your dream job.
The next hour is spent goal setting by taking the hopes and dreams and putting them into a timeline. After the three minutes are up we go around the table presenting our ideal scenarios. As a cohesive team we then decide whether each one should go under the 3 month, 6 month or 1 year category. In turn, at each pow wow we discuss which previous goals were reached and which ones should be on target for the next three months. Here is a photo of some of our more interesting goals:
Regardless of the status of the company at the time, the rest of the day is pretty much fun, we either play a game with prizes and/or have another vendor bring us wine and nibbles.
I cherish these days as it is an opportunity to learn more about each other. It is important that everyone within a micro company like JTI has an entrepreneurial mindset as it keeps the momentum going for our design clients. I am so grateful to work among such talented and creative minds! This is what Team Building means to me…