Today people need to intereact more than ever but our work environments are loose, compressive and isolating all at once. We do more on our own. We don't see our neighbors.
People need shared group time to commune
Shared time builds community and meetings offer the faintest shadow of that. We need more opportunities to come together and begin to appreciate the full range of skills in one and other.
So how do we drive shared time? Here are a few things you can do to help groups build community:
- pot lot meals – shared experience builds community: Bringing food to work that we make at home is an offering of ourselves to each other. No store-bought buffet ever hass the same impact. Old? Yes. Outdated? No.
- camp fire stories – now we tells the story: You may not be able to build a fire in your office but you can certainly have a campfire experience and yes bring the marshmallows. Take it outside if you can to relate the heroic, tragic and comic stories from the team's past with members acting out their parts. Have fun, share your history, pass on tribal knowledge.
- meet 'n greet – hi, my name is: Work in a larger org? Rotate meet and greets by team or department on a weekly basis throughout the company. An Open House for people to drop by and find out who you are, what you do and what's happening. Key point: do this in the same common place every week to make it easy for people to find you.
- project celebrate – when we win, we win: Finish that project well? Share the news. Have public announcements. Stumble a little and learn? Do the same thing. People are curious. Make it safe to share.
- book clubs – reading is fundamental: Every professional discipline has a reading canon. Celebrate that, provide time and place for people to discuss books they select and watch team building and skills grow.
- ice breakers – they have a place: The reason seasoned facilitators use them is they work. Use them frequently and watch creativity, empathy and delight emerge.
- buddy system – you go, I go: Pair people up to follow one another around one day a month. You'll be surprised how much they learn and appreciate from one and other. Cross-pollination at its best.
- adopt a charity – we care: Our world does not start and end at the company's doorstep so why should teaming. So many needs can be addressed with time and energy as opposed to dollars. Give time and energy as you see fit – no one can tell you what is appropriate here. But doing so as a group has boundless rewards, that we know.
Finding ways for group time in a world that emphasizes individuality has rich benefits to the team and the larger environment. Personal growth, organizational impact and business results can all be positively affected.
Have fun growing your community.