Team Building Consultant – Consultant, Trainer And Facilitator

Team Building consultants generally use three overlapping, but distinct roles. Each of the roles mentioned below keeps the learning and Team training meaningful, self-reflective, team-reflective, and most importantly fun!

The overlapping of roles are best summarized in the explanation below:

o Consultant. In this role, he establishes and maintains contact with the client, jointly assesses the client’s situation, elicits information, designs programs, serves as confidant and adviser to the primary client contact.

o Trainer. In this role, he sets the tone of the training, then communicates, educates and improvises as he orchestrates and delivers the content through a sequence of activities and facilitated group discussion

o Facilitator. In this role, he leads the debriefings [processing], engaging and challenging participants to dig for deeper meaning, mediating disagreements and pushing for ever-greater clarity and understanding.

Each of these roles is inter-dependent upon each other. For example if the training lacks the full “buy-in” or approval of the primary client contact, (usually Human Resources, a Team Leader, or a Supervisor in some capacity), the program will fail to reach a higher level of success and fail to have a long term effect on the team and the participants within the team.

It is imperative that a discussion takes place between the Team Building Consultant and the client contact. All parties need to reach an agreement on how the program will progress, what objectives and goals are going to be reached as well as how to follow up the Team training program. What if the client contact is unclear about what objectives and goals to be reached? That is where the Team Building Consultant should meet, process and enable the client contact to better see and understand what it is that really needs to be addressed in the training session. If the Team Building Consultant can not facilitate a discussion to lead to clarity on goals and objectives both parties, the consultant and the client, should agree to go elsewhere.

Additionally during the training new evidence of inter-behavioral barriers may present themselves and the program takes an unexpected turn. This is when the true test of a trainer’s ability becomes evident. Does the trainer choose to stay the course and work on the pre-defined objectives? Does the trainer choose to go in a different direction and follow what has just arisen? Does the trainer have the skills, knowledge and abilities to in a synergistic fashion meld both together? Experienced Team Building Consultants have been in all three situations and the answer really is “YES”. It all depends on the situation at hand. That is why when choosing a team building consultant or team building company an organization must research and feel comfortable with the qualifications of the facilitator.

Some questions to ask team building companies are as simple as, who are your facilitators? Can you tell me an example of a program you have lead that is like our situation? Can you supply me with a list of sample questions you ask during the debrief [processing]? Give us a specific example of a program you have created that was a success? A failure? Can you provide my organization with a written proposal or agenda of what will be accomplished during our team training?

An effective team building consultant has the ability to move seamlessly through the consultant; trainer; and facilitator role. This comes from experience and Team Building consultants who are well educated and trained, in several fields. Choose the right consultant and always ask for and check references.

Team Building Success – 4 Steps To Implement

Do you want your team building program to be a success? While many factors play a part in creating a successful meeting, off site and team training program – here are 4 ways that work for organizations team success.

1) Full understanding why they are there.

It is imperative for the team to be knowledgeable of why they are involved in the team training. Transparency in the goals expectations and needs of the team and members that are part of the team make participants feel comfortable. If you plan on surprising the team with a jolt of, “The Company feels you are dysfunctional and we are going to spend a day team building” this will show a lack of trust and that you are treating the team as children. Even youth groups will not take well to this.

Meet with the team ask them what they feel is the team problems involve them in making decisions. Team members know what is going on and they will tell you what they need – all you have to do is ask.

2) Proper sequencing of events.

This is why meeting with the team building consultant is necessary. Sequencing is building from a “safe” point to a “riskier” point. If done properly the team grows and the program progresses. Whether it is 2 hours or 4 weeks – sequencing takes planning and time. A good starting point to understand how to sequence would be viewing Tuckman’s Stages of group development, Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. This illustrates the progression of teams in development. It is imperative to understand that at any point the team may shift from one stage to another. This should be kept in mind when sequencing team building activities and lecture based materials for the team program.

3) Focus on Processing and De-Briefing.

If you truly wish for a team building recreational event – realize that is all you will get a great time and laughs. That is a wonderful thing, and does build teams.

If you wish for an educational event (recreation – fun and education – fun) then do your research. The team building activities are just vehicles to deliver learning to the team. The point of hands-on initiatives is to allow the team members to reinforce and test new learning and skills gained during a lecture part of the team program. Additionally the hands-on and experiential nature creates a learning centered environment. Processing (with the right facilitator) is exciting and motivating. Before you commit to a program ask the facilitator to lead a small sample exercise. You should feel at the end that you learned and gained some knowledge, a great facilitator in the processing makes you feel like you taught him something.

4) Follow up and now what?

Team building and experiential training are long term projects. At the end of the session ask the team what to do to harness the energy and ideas that were generated. Create a concrete plan to follow up. Even go so far as to write down and put the goals and skills learned from the team building program into evaluations for the team members.

An effective team building program has the ability to encompass many different learning styles and skills at once. This is best viewed as a symphony of ideas. Any great composer (in this case team building facilitator) is able to keep the sounds beautiful and know just when different instruments are needed.

Invest in your teams abilities and the results sound like beautiful music!

How to Make a Building More Energy Efficient

Each day, thousands of people make a conscious effort to “go green” and become more eco conscious. While Al Gore may have popularized the idea in the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, citizens of the world have been banding together for years to help save the planet. Individually, each of us can contribute to the overall sustainability of the Earth’s resources to guarantee safe and livable conditions for future generations of all species, humans included. Energy consumption is one huge part of the puzzle. Humans are consuming electricity, primarily from coal-burning plants and other fossil fuels at an unprecedented rate in just living our day-to-day lives. One way to make a large impact on the amount of energy consumed is to conserve — make buildings everywhere more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. Energy sufficiency needs to be our big picture goal.

The following are ways to make an existing building more energy efficient:

• Start with what is called the “low hanging fruit” -Weatherization: Check the building’s insulation: Old, warn insulation, inefficient windows and air leaks will increase the rate at which heat leaves a structure during cold weather months and cooled air in summer. This will require the heating and air conditioning systems to use more energy to keep the building at the desired temperature. Installing additional insulation and caulking leaks is pretty easily done and pays big dividends in saving energy and money. Many communities now have Energy Audit services and Weatherization programs available to help with this effort and these programs are also investing in creating training and employment for “green jobs”.

• Turn off lights and unplug electronic devices that are not in use. Significant reduction of electric usage can happen by simply flipping the light switch or pulling the plug or investing in a smart power strip for your tv, computer and other energy hog appliances. Also, replace incandescent lights with compact florescent bulbs – Florescent light bulbs last upwards of 10,000 hours and use approximately 27 watts of energy to generate the same amount of light as 100-watt incandescent bulbs, which have a lifespan of only 1,000 hours. This not only conserves energy, but also eliminates the waste that is created from constantly having to replace incandescent bulbs.

• Replace older furnaces and HVAC systems – Furnaces that utilize a standing pilot light waste up to 35% of the fuel that it burns. Additionally, upgrading to more modern HVAC systems will help save energy in air filtration, as well as provide the building with a cleaner, healthier airflow. There are several tax and other rebates in place now to help with this investment, so while it may be pricey to replace old furnaces and HVAC units, you will save money in the long run with reduced heating and cooling costs with the additional incentive of a hefty rebate.

• Utilize electronics with the ENERGY STAR logo – Many commercial buildings use thousands of electronic devices, from computers to microwaves. According to its government sponsored website, ENERGRY STAR is “a government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.” Making use of ENERGY STAR sponsored products can reduce energy use by up to 50%.

These are just four of the many different ways to make a building “greener.” Never hesitate to contact an energy efficient building consultant if you have questions or concerns regarding strategies so that you can be more energy efficient, saving money and doing your part toward sustainability and energy independence.