Is Music Team Building “Real” Team Building?
by Billy Kirsch, President
Some content provided by
Anne Thornley-Brown,M.B.A., President
Executive Oasis International.
What is “real” team building?
It means different things to different people, and the term ‘team building’ is used in different contexts. Many team building providers take pride in their ability to provide programs that are catalysts for change within organizations, to propel organizational growth, evolution, creation and sometimes healing. I consider myself to be one of these providers. Although, when a client has no goals other than to just gather and have fun (team recreation), I’m okay with that too. Fun has an important role to play in shaping a vibrant corporate culture.
Within the context of team building that effects organizational change, can musical team building provide effective results? YES. Music is memorable: a powerful tool for engaging a group, pulling them into a highly interactive and inclusive activity. But, is this real team building? That depends on everything else.
So what is the ‘everything else’ that creates a shared experience that is a catalyst to change? What are the ingredients to transform just another day of fun into ‘real team building’? Here are some examples for each phase of effective team building.
Key Team Building Ingredients
Pre-program questionnaires are vital to ascertain a client’s objectives, challenges and ideals. They can be as simple as an email questionnaire and as detailed as a pre-program assessment tool such as the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument(r), or The Team Dimension Profile. With a pre-program assessment and client objectives, clients can make sure their team building initiatives key in on the specific areas that need to be addressed.
During the Program
This is key. Participants must understand the objectives of team building and how it relates to their day-to-day business realities.
Participants work in small groups to generate the content for their songs. They are given a theme and focus that is relevant to their organization. They come up with challenges, ideas and solutions.
These are then woven together to generate song lyrics. Music stimulates the brain and helps people generate creative solutions that they would not be able to access just by talking about it.
Performance is fun and completely stress free. Teams help each other by displaying lyrics so that they are readily available.
An effective debrief is also vital to produce lasting results from team building.
Questions and discussions might include:
- What new awareness, relationships and goals were created during the program?
- What insights did the group gain into its dynamics
- What did you learn about your colleagues they you weren’t aware of before?
- How can teams create a realistic plan of action to effect change and to capitalize on new awareness’s, goals and relationships?
But an effective debrief won’t mean too much if there isn’t a follow up plan. This could include a follow-up session by the team building facilitator. Follow up can also include such simple elements as email reminders to participants and surveys several months out to assess big picture results.
Music Team Building: How it all Comes Together
In my flagship program, Team Building Through Song(tm), the creation of lyrics helps groups:
- define and distill who they are
- create or re-discover their shared experience and mission
in a step-by-step facilitated process.
This provides a dynamic, energizing and memorable experience with a great take-away.
Is Musical Team Building ‘Real Team Building’?
Yes – it can be. There are a variety of programs for teams that use music. Some are effective and some aren’t. Remember, the music is a vehicle, a tool, a part of a larger program designed to engage and promote growth. Simply bringing a group of people together to have fun with music definitely requires teamwork. However, it isn’t team building until one adds certain key ingredients. In the right hands and by adding the right ingredients like facilitation, debriefing and follow-up, music can be great fun and an effective and memorable catalyst to ‘real’ team building.
Biography: Grammy nominated, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter Billy Kirsch has harnessed the power of creativity to lead a successful life as an entertainer, songwriter and entrepreneur. He has a passion for teaching people how to connect with their creative abilities to innovate, originate and problem solve. Through is company, Kidbilly Music, Billy provides team building programs, educational seminars and keynote addresses. Kidbilly Music Blog discusses music through song and music team building in greater detail.
Photo Credit: Kidbilly Music (c)
Executive Oasis International is a Toronto based management consulting firm that designs and facilitates team building retreats and simulations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Canada, Asia, and the Caribbean.