So, a team is what you are hoping to build? But, what kind of team? A team who uses the academic approach to getting things done or one that brings real-world experience to the situation at hand? What criteria, then, do you use for choosing your teammates? Team building programs during the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s took place in the woods at the height of the now infamous ropes courses. These courses were designed to engage organizational groups in a series of team activities that voluntarily made people face self-imposed limitations while hanging from trees and cables. The next decade lead the way for classroom-based team building sessions that included behavioral profiles and performance assessments, such as the universal language of DISC and its model, along with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
To answer the questions in the opening of this text, we feel that organizations must build and develop the “GREAT” team. Building great teams hits at one of the most discussed topics within business media and the workplace: Organizational Behavior, leadership & process, and inter-office politics. The day of the individual worker is over, as today’s corporate arena demands that workers possess the ability to effectively work as team-led associates within an organization. It is a scenario all top leaders and managers knows well: The organization, their people, and their systems all require efficient and effective processes to remain constant in its approach to move quickly toward new and innovative ways of reaching mission-critical objectives. This is a task that is directed by the senior officials within team environments that are lead by great initiatives. They must be committed to draft and manage the right team – a GREAT team – of commandos to lead the effort.
As we look forward to the next generation of team building programs, people will be coming out of the woods, out of the classrooms, and out of the convention centers. The question then is: Where will they be going? The answer; they’ll be headed to learning environments with a sensory-rich atmosphere that enhances military training and simulation as the team building practices that increasingly requires experienced quality from the battlefield, in business, and across industry.
In April 2005, the Wharton School of Business students, staff, and sponsors traveled to the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in Quantico, Virginia to learn what they were really made of. The venture, aptly titled “Learning Leadership and Decision Making Under Uncertainty and Complexity,” sought to expose the future business leaders of the world, to the types of training exercises that have produced generations of successful military leaders. While there are obvious differences between battlefield leadership and corporate leadership, there are also many parallels that can be drawn – especially in the constantly evolving business landscape. We could be nimbler in our decision-making. We could be team players, even from the top. We could lead by example. And we could actively train our subordinates to eventually lead us. Sounds like hogwash? Don’t forget that the U.S. Marines has a proven track record – 233 years and running. And by the way, this program at the Wharton School of Business lives on today.
Just as in the experiences at the Wharton School, live training continues to evolve from the military training paradigm toward new solutions that prepare warfighters (the title given to associates that are a part of a GREAT team environment) to fight against asymmetric enemies often embedded in civilian populations and organizations. Since 2005, the Bison Group has invested substantially in new live training solutions to counter challenges faced in the business marketplace, specifically Military Operations Counter-IED Devices: Decision-making, collective behaviors, and cultural influences.
However, the heavy financial burden of the U.S. economy, another form of conflict, “Domestic War on Terror (DWOT),” has taken valuable resources away from future planned training and simulation and instead toward extending the life cycle of organizations in trouble. Therefore, industries are being forced to deliver temporary solutions for less instead of future-oriented growth strategies. Future-oriented growth strategies for teams are designed to increase capacity to the individual and organizational system and building GREAT teams using military strategy and tactics that provide proven solutions where people and organizations achieve high levels of performance.
One way of ensuring that GREAT teams are developed for such a task lies in the adoption of “Business WARFIGHTING For GREAT Teams;” a high impact and hands-on curriculum that demonstrates how-to use the “Six Lenses of Innovation for teams, also known as the “Preemptive Strike” measures: (1) Establish Achievable Aims; challenge deeply-held orthodoxies about who their customers are, how they interact with them, how they define their products or services, how they configure the value chain, and so on; (2) Identify Means; harness emergent trends and discontinuities to substantially change the way things are done in their industry; (3) Ensure Intelligence; leverage core competencies and strategic assets in novel ways to generate new growth; (4) Enforce Security; understand and address deep customer needs that are currently going unmet; (5) Engage the Strike; a deliberate Battleplan used by a strategic and numerically inferior power to head off a situation in which ultimate defeat would be inevitable; and lastly, (6) Flawlessly Execute the Exit Strategy; just as everything has a beginning, all things have an end. Leaders are instructed how-to establish exit points using 32 solution-centric precepts to face fierce challenges in short time frames using the process.
Team building programs, like this Next Generation program, are the start of a team development revolution and your team should follow close by. Don’t consider becoming a GREAT team, simply learn to transform into one! To learn more about Building GREAT teams using Business WARFIGHTING strategies, visit www.thebisongroup.com or email the author at: Dpitts@thebisongroup.com.