Oxfam Trailwalker is an event that provides a dynamic and at times stressful experience, in which the importance of a strong functional team may be the difference between a journey well travelled and a journey endured.
In real life, teamwork success rarely happens by itself without some focused team-building effort and activity. Fortunately, the training and lead up to the event itself provides you with plenty of time and opportunity to build a high performance team.
There are two critical factors in building a strong team:
- Recognition by all team members that the event is both a physical and a fundraising challenge, and harnessing the team’s different skills and personalities. Using team strengths in full can compensate for any individual weaknesses.
- Directing all team efforts towards the same clear goals. This relies heavily on good communication and harmony in your team.
Here are some team-building ideas, techniques, and tips you can try as you prepare for Oxfam Trailwalker:
- Make sure your team goals are totally clear. What is your team’s motivation for doing the event? Make sure your goals are completely understood and accepted by each member of your team. For example your goals could be finishing as a team of four, finishing in a set time, or committing to a training schedule.
- Identify the various skills and tasks required to get your team ready for the event and to the finish line, based on your collective goals. Then allocate the tasks, many of which can and should be shared.
- Make sure there is complete clarity in who is responsible for each task, even though one or more of you might be contributing. Then make sure that you support and respect that person. You can always reallocate a task or responsibility if need be.
- Build trust within your team by spending as much time together as possible leading up to the event. Create an atmosphere of honesty and openness. It is important that you do what you say you will do, and, better still, are able to demonstrate it.
- For issues that rely heavily on team consensus and commitment, try to involve the whole team in the decision making process. This could happen at a group meeting or during training, where you can have a collective discussion of possible options and can canvas ideas. What is important is that each member understands the final decision. As formal as this sounds, it could always take place at the pub!
- Even when your team is spread over different locations, you can still maintain effective team communication. Just ensure that you keep all members informed and included, which can be easily done via email and phone.
- Be careful with interpersonal issues. Recognize them early and deal with them in full.
- Say thank you or show appreciation of an individual team member’s work. Remember it is like a bank account, where negative contributions can quickly leave you in arrears.
- Celebrate your team’s progress. It is important to register the small steps that you achieve on the way to the starting line. This can include achieving your sponsorship goals, completing a big training day, or securing your support crew.
- Keep a flexible team approach on the day. What you hope will happen is not always going to match reality. You might have to jettison some team goals for the sake of others, but nothing beats the experience of starting and finishing together.