Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0183, December 14, 2004 | 7,000 Subscribers...


Dear friends,

I recently ran across a thought provoking article on team-building that really caught my eye. It's entitled, "Why Team Building Doesn't Work and How You Can Build Your Team," by Hildy Gottlieb. In this week's article, "Does Team Building Work?," we draw on some of Hildy's insights and advice, to make several intriguing points about team-building of which I think all facilitators and trainers should be conscious.

Join me this Thursday at 1:00 PM EST for a 90-minute telediscussion around insights I've gained in building this ezine, our Virtual University,, and lots of other information around getting started with your online business. Please see details at the end of this issue. I hope you'll join me and take that first step to putting your business online in the new year.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Does Team Building Work?

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar: Behind the Scenes at 90-minute teleclass for the "would-be" Infopreneur, explaining the nuts and bolts of building an Internet Business

Resource: Why Teams Don't Work: What Goes Wrong and How to Make It Right

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please send them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


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Group Process Skill

Does Team Building Work?
This popular intervention may not be what the doctor ordered.

The Point

I recently ran across a thought provoking article on team-building that really caught my eye. It's entitled, "Why Team Building Doesn't Work and How You Can Build Your Team," by Hildy Gottlieb. In her article, Hildy highlights several intriguing points about team-building of which I think all facilitators and trainers should be conscious.

First off, she notes that Team Building has become increasingly viewed as "the solution" in organizations where team members aren't getting along. These efforts usually focus on the particular individuals who have "bad morale" or who are unproductive. She summarizes the thinking behind team building as always the same:

Team Building proposes that it is possible to build trust and engender positive working relationships among people who obviously aren't feeling any of those feelings to start with (otherwise, the team building wouldn't be necessary!), although concerted effort on the part of those who are "misbehaving.

There are certainly untold numbers of cases where organizations have tried Team Building and declared it a failure--usually blaming the team. "We've tried everything, but we just can't get them to work together!" Still, organizations continue to look to Team Building to boost both morale and productivity. So what's going on here? Does Team Building work or not?

Where "Team Building" Often Fails

Many people hate Team Building exercises that may feel contrived and too "touchy-feely," especially by those people who may be distrustful in the first place. It may be difficult to build trust using a tool the participants don't trust.

Team building often happens offsite in a retreat-like setting away from the workplace, or over a weekend. This new environment, combined with Team Building activities might create some great short-term effects, but once back in the environment where the problems started, they usually return, and in full force.

Very often, Team Building is management's prescription to heal the symptoms of deeper issues they are failing to seek or to see. If this is truly the case, no wonder Team Building results are so often short lived. They can be likened to taking pain killers for a broken leg--they work great when you're taking them, but miss a dose and you're hurting again!

If team dysfunction is only a symptom of deeper issues, issues that frustrate and confound team member's best efforts, it's natural for frustration to increase. And when we're frustrated, we're not usually on our best behavior. So we snap at each other, argue, get sloppy with our work, etc. which just adds to the confusion and frustration further. In time, this appears to be a team with a problem, which is certainly true. But if we only look at the surface level problem and not the deeper cause, we become like allopathic physicians treating chronic illnesses--we keep medicating, never getting to the source.

With that said, what are some of the suspect sources to the deeper issues we're alluding to? I think we all have experienced them. Things like lack of leadership and direction, ineffective policies and systems, no vision, poorly articulated values, dysfunctional or mis-assigned individuals. None of these problems lie with the rank and file, nor will they respond to Team Building efforts. These problems need to be dealt with head-on.


Getting to the Source

Once we're aware that something is amiss in our team, Hildy recommends asking the following simple questions about the apparent problem to help peel away the layers to its source:

1) What is this stopping us from doing?

2) Why is this important?

3) How is this keeping us from better helping our group or the organization?

Though these questions sound simple, sticking with them long enough to uncover their answers causes us to dig down to source issues. Here's a hypothetical example to show how these questions might work in a real situation.

Staff Example

A 10 person working group at an IT organization feels it needs Team Building because they argue all the time and are always missing deadlines. Taken at face value, one would assume the goal of Team Building is that the team would work better together. By asking "What is this arguing stopping us from doing?," the team might note that the arguing was keeping them from solving problems and getting their jobs done effectively. When asked "Why is it important for them to do their jobs effectively?," some members might admit that they really didn't know. Now the team can begin talking about their uncertainty about roles of some members and how their work supports the organization's overall mission. By asking "How is this keeping us from better helping the organization?" the discussion can lead the team to realize that if they don't clearly know their tasks and how they fit into the overall picture, they can't do much to make their team or their company any better.


When approached by a group wanting Team Building services, engage your client in an interview to uncover the source of the issue that's causing the team problems. Team Building may still be needed, but perhaps not. Perhaps the leader needs coaching on leadership or management skills. Perhaps one team member needs to be confronted individually about his/her behavior and clearly presented with expectations and consequences. It could be that the policies or systems in place in the organization are stifling and frustrating the efforts of the team. Maybe certain dysfunctional behaviors are being rewarded either directly or indirectly that are impeding the team. Perhaps the tools, resources, or something else in the work environment is frustrating the team's efforts. And maybe all the foundational pieces are pretty well in place and a Team Building intervention could really help the group. If this is the case, it's very likely to make a difference if the systems and structures people return to flex to accommodate the new desired behaviors. In either case, be a detective and look for what's under the cry for help to best serve your client.

Are there any new actions you might take before engaging a group in a Team Building session in the future? Please send us your comments.

Why Teams Don't Work: What Goes Wrong and How to Make It Right. by Harvey A. Robbins, Michael Finley

Read Chapter 5 on "misplaced goals, confused objectives," and you'll start getting a good handle on where most team problems lie. How many of us really understand what Demming meant when he stated that a good goal is not a number? The authors do. They know that a good goal is something that brings out passion. A good goal gives people something to respond to, buy into, claim ownership over. This is not a happy talk book about teams. With all the things that can go wrong with teams, and do, it's surprising they work at all. "Teams are trouble." Having this book available on your reference shelf will help you handle and minimize the inevitable missteps the next time you're asked to serve on a team, or lead it. --Michael Chiodi, author, The Art of Building People

In the Spotlight

A "Behind the Scenes" Look at

A 90-minute teleclass for the "would-be" Infopreneur explaining the nuts and bolts of building an Internet business

December 16th, at 1:00PM EST (NY Time).
Hosted by Steve Davis, Founder of

I have been struck by Steve's ability translate my ideas into a web page design that really works for me and for my clients. He has also been extremely responsive to my needs and time constraints as we are adding components to the site as I speak. Steve is not just a great web designer, he becomes your coach as you work through the process and explore ways to not just build your site, but to take a business development approach to doing it. With Steve as my web designer and website host, I have my own personal guide helping me navigate my way through this new territory of e-commerce.
-- Margaret Wall, B.A., M.Ed.,

A 90-Minute Teleclass Tutorial

In my recent discussions with friends, colleagues, and readers, I've come to realize that many of you out there may be interested in what I've learned over the past few years about building my Internet-based Virtual University, And that this information may be just what you need to get started with your own online business.

Perhaps many elements of Internet business like accepting payments online, the difference between a merchant accounts and payment gateways, how to record and stream teleclasses and interviews, how to design an html ezine, how to select a shopping cart, how to register a domain name, basics of web hosting, etc. are a mystery to you and are stopping you from moving forward. During this class I hope to demystify these things for you and support you in taking action.

Automate Your Sales Process

This teleclass will be held December 16th, at 1:00PM EST (NY Time). Here are some of the things you'll learn from this teleclass:

  • The scoop on domain name registration and directing it to your host.
  • The basics of web hosting and what you need to know about selecting one.
  • How to decide the best way of accepting online payments for you.
  • The difference between PayPal, ClickBank, and Shopping Carts, how each of them work, and how much they cost you.
  • What features you need to make sure any payment processor or shopping cart has before you sign up with them.
  • The difference between a merchant account and a payment gateway, and how they work with your shopping cart.
  • Make more sales by discovering which payment methods are easiest for your customers.
  • How to accept payments in more than one way on your website (e.g. credit card and e-check).
  • Learn about the security aspects of online payments.
  • How to record and stream teleclasses to generate passive income.
  • How I design and publish my html ezine, the Master Facilitator Journal.

Steve Davis's gentle guidance and masterful understanding of building Internet businesses has opened up a whole new world for my company and a streamlined infrastructure for my work. Because I'm both a techno-phobe and a very busy professional, this expansive marketplace would otherwise have been inaccessible to me. His years of experience in trolling for the best solutions and his patient willingness to hand-hold and guide has de-msytified the process, saved me countless hours of work and created a platform for my business to rapidly grow and to handle much greater volume easily.
Jan Allen, Director, The Field Coaching Institute

90-Minute Audio Recording of the Live Teleseminar, Written Notes, and More

Five Free Bonuses!

1.Real Audio Recording of the Teleclass. You'll be able to access a real-audio recording as often as you wish to review the material. Or, if you can't make the class live, this is the next best thing.

2. Written Notes. You'll receive a pdf file of the written notes I use to conduct the teleclass.

3. Resources List. You'll receive a collection of vendors and online resources I use that will help save you time getting your business up and running.

4. 30-minute Free Consultation ($100 value). A free coaching/consulting call with me to discuss your particular needs and the development of a simple action plan to get you started with your Internet business.

5. 20% Coupon ($50 to $200 Value) for my Web Services. Receive 20% off my web and ezine design and consulting services should you choose to have me design your web presence.

Purchase Info

Live Teleclass + Real Audio Version + bonuses ($29.95)

Sign up for this live teleclass and get the chance to interact with the instructor asking questions you have about the topic.
Can't make the class? No problem. After the class, we'll email you the link to a real-audio recording of the seminar to listen to on your computer at your leisure. Or order the CD version below to listen to anywhere.
You'll also receive access to written notes summarizing the highlights of the class for future reference along with all the bonuses listed above.

Click Here to Purchase Live Teleclass + Real Audio + bonuses: $29.95

Live Teleclass +Real
Audio + bonuses + Compact Disk ($34.95)

Receive all of the above plus a Compact Disk recording of the seminar in the mail that you can listen to at your leisure.

Click Here to Purchase Live Teleclass +Real Audio + bonuses +CD: $34.95 + s&h

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