Online Team Building – Is it a Boon or a Bane?
This pandemic caught us off-guard and then we were in the middle of a boxing ring ducking out of the harm’s way. The five senses of mankind traditionally ascribed to humans are vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch. I propose “Virtual Sense” as sixth sense and How?? Let's deep dive into this new era of Online Team Building & introspect whether its a boon or bane.
Teams are important because “You are in it together”. Simply put, that you can achieve your biggest obstacles if you have an online team-building venture that shares a common goal and works together to achieve it. Andrew Carnegie rightly said, “It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” As MBA students and working professionals, we were donning a dual hat. The fact that we were online-only could have proved a “Black Swan” moment to this engagement but we refused to maintain this Status Quo. We practised what was taught and got our innovative minds at work. Through active networks on Whatsapp and SM handles we set out this journey I reckon “Connected by Dots” or dotcoms.
Step 1: Team Forming
We started putting the pieces together individually. First, the councils were formed city-specific to have representation within the cohort and then we collaborated across cities through the “nucleis” or the “leads”. Models were working in silos but sharing the Best Practises. Soon we evolved what we can call “Joint Agendas”. Despite our learning curves which were different we did underline the long term gains and then stuck to them as common threads.
Step 2: Team Storming
Like any Team development, this was the phase where we all guarded our interests as individual cohorts and then came a time with more adversary and ambiguity of Corona we had a common evil to fight, which was how to keep the momentum and soon we spoke in one voice.
Step 3: Team Norming
The plethora of activities/webinars we organised as clubs soon had a common ground which was “Learning and development” using this common ground we set out to have calendar invites which were synced to our mails and therefore the conflicts were minimal. The events were on shared platforms and soon we realised that cascading information ensured more participation which in turn was the encouragement every speaker sought as their purpose. Each other viewpoints became the enablers as we were learning from experience and failures were forecasted.
Step 4: Team Performing
This is where the theme of this article starts to play out. The first of the On-Line events which showcased us(ISB’s Pgppro) as “Achievers” was“Abhyudaya 2020”. From empanelling the speakers to moderating the event to recording sessions and answering the queries all of this was well orchestrated by the senior cohorts ably supported by ISB. The success of this unprecedented event online boosted our joint efforts and brought forth “Virtual Team Spirit”. The lessons learnt were few on the operational aspect but more on the fact that we needed this collaboration to be sustained as the end of the pandemic was nowhere and the light at the end of the tunnel was dimming… Hence “Online Team Building” was now a necessity and then emerged in events like Case Study Competitions in B Schools where members from different cohorts were in one team. “Advaita 2020” was another event where PGPPro not only participated but also organised this flagship event. Now we had a complete list of events where we have made our mark. There were competitions on “Photography” and webinars encouraging “Yoga” and “Story Telling” and as we look back to where we started a year back there is no ambiguity which prevailed and we were eventual winners!!
Finally, to break the shackles and taking a cue from the evolving guidelines of covid allowing sports, this idea was conceptualised of “Your Pace or Mine” a running challenge to all cohorts. No Team Building exercise is proven unless tested and with the long lay off from adventures this was the icing on the cake. After all, Fitness comes from the discipline which is the Bedrock of Leadership. So, what did we achieve by now was that the bond of “PGPpro” at ISB we associate with was agnostic to city or year of inception. There were friends, philosophers and guides from whom we derived strengths and they were “Mentors” enabling us in our quest to Success.
The fact that many of us are best pals across cohorts without even meeting face to face tells a story that “Virtual Sense” does exist and is here to stay. The tenets of Online Team Building is to get closer and to build trust and thereby increasing communication and foster relationships. The company or in this case the B School culture was thus effectively simulated even online through these protracted efforts of one and all. Hoping our Teamwork will make the quintessential Dreams Work…!!