Team Building in the Midst of Economic Turbulence
What a week! First there was the debt ceiling crisis kept business and political leaders around the world at the edge of their seats. Then came financial woes in Europe and concerns about the Euro and the Yen. Now stock markets around the globe are spiraling downward in their worst performance since October, 2008.
In the midst of this, I uncovered more incidents of wasteful spending on playtime for executives and employees by companies with declining performance. Have some executives learned nothing from the events of the past 3 years?
Scenario: A North American company that has enjoyed quite a bit of global success has been spending its “team building” budget organizing employees into rock and roll bands.
Nothing wrong so far. If a company is doing well, by all means celebrate. Your team has worked hard for it. In this case, the story continues.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the company really wasn’t doing so well after all. It has now come to light that performance had been declining. It’s laying off thousands of employees. THOUSANDS.
Give me a break! Talk about Nero fiddling while Rome was burning. I know some CEOs have the reputation of having egos like rockstars but this is carrying things a bit too far.
It’s Time to Gather the Troops
Roll up your sleeves and engage facilitators to guide teams throughout your organization in generating solutions for organizational challenges. The executive and sales teams would likely benefit from this exercise.
If you have the expertise available within your organization, use it. Instead of laying off internal trainers and facilitators, re-deploy them. If your organization does not have the expertise within its walls, invest in the services of an external consultant to guide you through the process. In case you think I’m tooting my own horn or just trying to drum up business for my own consulting firm, I would like to propose another alternative. Bringing in a retired executive who has successfully executed a turnaround strategy can add tremendous value as an on-call consultant for your team. I can think of 3 retired executives with stellar track records right off the top of my head. I would be happy to pass their names on to companies that request the information.
If there is no budget available for consultants, here is another option. Consider tapping into the services provided through universities. Business schools around the world will be re-opening in a matter of weeks. MBA students need consulting and marketing research with real companies in order to fulfill the requirements for their degrees. Teams of final year students will work with your organization guided by faculty. Some part-time faculty members are successful business people with a lot of hands-on business experience. Many business schools provide this service at no charge.
I pray that this crisis is of short duration. If it isn’t, we may be on the verge of a repeat of the stock market meltdown of 2008. Yes, it’s scary
If ever there was a time for companies to gather key players from across the organization , take stock, and generate a game plan with proactive strategies, it’s now.
No amount of playtime, golf, jamming in a rock band, or other placebos can substitute for good old fashioned brainstorming to tap into the collective wisdom of your team.