At the 2016 Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Winter Symposium, a panel addressed the idea of “trends” versus “fads” in meetings, technology, and more. When the discussion gravitated toward what’s happening in the area of teambuilding events, the room filled with examples. Everyone, or so it seemed, wanted to share a story about the coolest, most fun, or most creative activity they ever planned.

As I sat in the back of the room taking notes, I thought, “These are great ideas but they need context. Shouldn’t they be clarifying the objective or expected outcome for each example given?” I began to write a list of likely purposes for holding teambuilding events:

  • To get out of the office, have fun, and take a break from the daily grind
  • To get to know each other better, to help new team members acclimate to the group
  • To show appreciation for a job well done or to acknowledge a milestone reached
  • To solve a problem, brainstorm, or think critically about a situation
  • To get comfortable taking risks, resolving conflict, or developing an entrepreneurial spirit
  • To improve communication
  • To share a vision, establish goals and priorities, or clarify roles and responsibilities
  • To emphasize accountability to the company, a client, each other, or to oneself
  • To enhance trust and respect

The reasons could be “all of the above,” but that would require one heck of a complicated teambuilding exercise!

First, the Foundation
Whatever the desired outcome, the first step in teambuilding is trust building. Teams can’t work effectively together without a basic level of mutual trust and respect.

Following are the five building blocks of trust:

1. Credibility: Others believe that your assertions, opinions, judgments, or beliefs about something or someone are highly likely to be accurate.

2. Confidence: Others have no doubt in an expected result, action, or outcome that has your name on it.

3. Integrity: Others know that you are principled, well-intentioned, truthful, honest, and consistent in your words and actions; you will do the right thing, in the right way and for the right reasons.

4. Respect: Others have admiration for or deference toward you because of your position, accomplishments, knowledge, skills, experience, or character.

5. Loyalty: Others have unwavering allegiance and devotion to you.

Establishing trust is the first critical step in developing a top-performing team. There are no formulas or shortcuts. Consistent behavior leading to the five facets above, over time, is the only way to earn the trust of others. Trust building is not a trend or fad; it’s a necessity to build effective teams.