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  1. Better team building starts with deep understanding of yourself and your team

    August 25, 2015 by Alison Hill

    by Alison Hill

    We’ve all had them – team building sessions that were fun and gave us a day out of the office, but ultimately didn’t accomplish anything. Back in the office, the same two team members refuse to cooperate, everybody seems fuzzy on goals and communication still seems to go wrong.

    Although well-intentioned, team building activities without a clear purpose and strategy are unlikely to address the team’s challenges. But when planned with solid knowledge about the team members and the issues you want to address, team building exercises are a powerful way to unite people, develop their strengths and work their weaknesses.

    Start by considering the challenges your team faces. Is it communication? Or perhaps your team is new and people don’t know each other, leading to lack of trust. When there is significant change, such as when teams merge as a result of downsizing or outsourcing, there can be resistance to change, holding the team back.

    Set objectives for the team building session. This will help you to choose activities that will effectively help you to address the issues and create lasting results. Clear objectives will help you to create measurable outcomes.

    Most importantly, UNDERSTAND before you seek to change. This means getting to know your team members individually as well as understanding the dynamics between you.

    A team-based assessment before you begin planning your team building strategy allows you to build on a solid base of knowledge. There are many tools that help teams to do this. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a powerful way to understand both individuals and groups. A survey of the team before any events are planned will show:

    • The personality types in the group
    • How each person prefers to work in a variety of situations
    • Issues in the team

    Challenge Consulting can create tailored team building sessions to suit your team. The MBTI survey is completed confidentially online by each team member. Our facilitator then develops reports for each team member as well as one for the whole team. Team leaders participate in a debrief session, where we discuss the results and the challenges in the team.

    Challenge Consulting then runs a workshop tailored to your team, exploring individual and team results. This can be run on your own premises as a half day or full day event, and is interactive and practical. You will leave the workshop with:

    • New insight into yourself and your team
    • Ideas about how to solve issues
    • Clear objectives for improving teamwork

    There is then the option for one-on-one coaching and a focus group session, and a future program tailored to your team.

    AND it will be fun!

    Teams need to learn to depend on one another to succeed. Effective team building needs to happen continuously if you want your team to be successful. Why not take the first step by looking at our team building page and contacting our facilitators to see how we can make your team amazing.


  2. Team building events – Do they work? – By Stephen Crowe

    July 22, 2014 by Jenna

    Building effective teams is on the to-do list of nearly every manager I know and an effective team can be more productive than an average team. One of the tools often offered to managers to enhance their team performances is off-site team building exercises. The sort of exercises I’m talking about are those that are supposed to enhance your trust, communication, problem solving etc. by attempting team based physical or mental challenges. But do they work?

    Well my opinion is a decisive, yes and no. I think that there is value for newly formed teams or teams with new members, but not because the exercises are effective at changing the long term behaviour of members or that they uncover previously undiscovered personality traits. I think the value comes from the participants spending time together outside the work environment completing a focussed task. In short I think the value is in the fact that they get to know each other away from the pressures and preconceptions of the office environment. They get to know the person not the position or role they play at work. This has the potential to break down barriers and to speed up the relationship building process and this can result in a team that is more tolerant of each other and communicates better.

    In saying that the value is not in the exercise, I do think the nature of the exercise is important in that it establishes the environment for the team to communicate. A session of paint ball does not foster open communication.
    I’m not alone sitting up on the fence though, a quick scan of articles on the internet shows that are just as many people fiercely in favour of team building exercises as there are against.

    So how do you effect change to an established team that is not operating effectively? Well I think the answer is, the old fashioned ways, careful selection of team members including consideration of their personality types (e.g. using Myer Briggs Type Indicators), establishment of clear roles and goals, public celebration of team success and private counselling when things don’t go as planned.

    There have been hundreds of slogans used to motivate and recognise the value of teams by many notable people over hundreds of years but I think at the end of the day what counts is hard work and a common determination to succeed.


  3. Workplace Conflict: How do you take responsibility?

    August 30, 2011 by Jenna

    Challenge Consulting has a Facebook page. “Like” us now to stay in touch re our new blog posts, weekly poll, links and more …

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    The Challenge Consulting office is on edge. As we always are at this time of year. The level of competitiveness will soon reach fever pitch. The coveted title of ‘Tipster of the Year’ is up for grabs! It is true that some members of the Challenge Team are more excited than others about the end of the NRL Season approaching. We won’t name the tipster who elatedly declared “It is nearly over!” when made aware that this weekend is the final round of the season. Naturally they were over moon to hear that the tipping continues for four more rounds of finals action – when each correct tip will earn double points!

    So as I sat down to write this week’s Challenge Blog – of course I had to use a sporting analogy. I had planned to use the recent Phil Gould spray on the Sunday Roast about head high tackles being an accepted “part of the game” as the basis of my sporting metaphor. But then Friday night happened. Two of this year’s most successful NRL Teams were involved in a brawl that has since resulted in both clubs being fined $50,000 by the NRL and 11 players facing charges, just a week out from the finals.

    This week the Challenge Poll asked: “Who do you think is most responsible for managing workplace conflict?”

    In the case of the Storm versus Sea Eagles, there have been varying views as to responsibility: Wayne Bennett (Coach for St George Illawarra Dragons) – declared “The players have got to be accountable. We just can’t keep blaming someone else”, whilst Monday morning NRL Chief Executive David Gallop weighed in to say: “This isn’t a time for anyone to be looking for excuses or deflecting blame to others … both clubs need to face up to their responsibility for the overall behaviour of their players.” Whilst pointing out “As much as we are keen to take any lessons that can be taken I stress that anyone who blames the referee for what happened on Friday night is wrong and that they are looking to escape the real issue at hand.” Perhaps the real issue at hand is the question of how did the culture of the NRL get to the point that this year’s two most successful teams participated in such an ugly brawl?

    Our recent Challenge Consulting Poll suggested that mostly the buck needs to stop with Line Managers, with 52% of respondents suggesting that Line Managers were mostly responsible for managing workplace conflict. The remainder of the votes were split pretty evenly amongst: HR, Senior Management, and Co-Workers, with a handful of voters selecting: ‘other’ and confirmed that managing Workplace Conflict is the responsibility of everyone. But what role should everyone play or how can we help Line Managers to ensure that conflict doesn’t become counterproductive?

    ►      “Each and every one of us is responsible. As much as line/senior managers should step in where necessary -it is up to all of us.”

    ►      “While Senior Management should ultimately be held accountable, HR should provide the strategic guidance and tools for management to be effective in the management of conflict.”

    ►      “Everybody should share this responsibility. Effective policies and procedures will empower all staff to recognise conflict appropriately, deal with it in a professional way, and limit the negative effects on the rest of the business.”

    During the recent Challenge Consulting discussion forum we discussed that conflict based on tasks and ideas is not always negative if managed effectively. In fact, a lack of conflict in some teams can be a sign of dysfunction. But we do know that conflict not managed proactively or effectively can have a range of negative consequences*, and can escalate out of control, much like what we saw on Friday night. During the Discussion Forum we explored the different conflict management styles people adopt, and confirmed that some organisations through their procedures, environment, and culture may escalate counter-productive workplace conflict**. Some could say that the examples of players pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour over the last few weeks may have influenced the conflict we saw on Friday night. But does this deny responsibility? No.

    Each one of us, regardless of level in the organisation, has responsibility for creating an environment where we can be our most productive. Senior Management needs to lead the way through their behaviour and actions. HR needs to help in developing the framework so that there are clear boundaries as to what is acceptable, what is not acceptable, and what to do when things have moved beyond what is productive. Line Managers need to develop the skills to build trust in their people through open dialogue and proactive feedback that encourages collaboration and proactive sharing of ideas. Whilst each one of us has responsibility to take the time to understand our peers and work within the frameworks that have been set out for us to manage conflict effectively. When counterproductive conflict does occur, we each have responsibility to manage it immediately, respectively and consistently.

    And for those playing along at home – Carmen Mackrill, Della Einfeld and Patricia Hegarty are currently leading the Challenge Tipping Competition – who will take the coveted prize? No doubt the competitive spirit will heat up over the coming weeks, but with Senior Management leading the way, a clear framework for managing disputes, and open and transparent dialogue, our conflicts should be based on the task at hand, rather than counterproductive behaviours, because at the end of the day we have a Tipping Competition to win!

    Want to know how Challenge Consulting helps Line Managers build their Conflict Management Skills – Effective Supervision Workshop or how Challenge Consulting help teams proactively manage conflict – Team Building Workshops.

    How do you help manage counterproductive conflict in your team and organisation?

    Disclaimer: During the discussion forum we discussed that sometimes Workplace Conflict reaches a point that may need external mediation. For more information, please refer to our article on Workplace Bullying and the references listed.


    * When it’s not always black and white, Human Capital Magazine

    ** Hershcovis, Turner, Barling, Arnold, Dupre, Inness, LeBlanc, & Sivanathan (2007). Predicting Workplace Aggression: A Meta-Analysis, Journal of Applied Psychology 92, 228–238.


  4. About Us

    March 14, 2011 by Jenna

    Established in November 1992, Challenge Consulting is an ever-evolving, always-adapting organisation. It has at its foundation a strong, talented, people-focused team working daily on the front line of candidate and client management.

    We are a recruitment agency. Our close-knit team of Consultants and Account Managers is focused on providing clients and candidates with a job placement experience that is both professional and personal.

    We are also more than a recruitment agency. Our suite of People Services encompasses Team Building, Organisational Diagnostics, MBTI and Professional Development Workshops, Outplacement Programs, Psychometric Assessments, Online Skills Testing, and Career Guidance Programs.

    We work with clients and candidates nationally and internationally from diverse backgrounds and industries. Our goal is to provide a superior, innovative and dynamic service with every project.




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