The Benefits of Shared Experiences for Teams
Have you ever sat next to someone in a gate at the airport without speaking … then a delay is announced with the possibility of cancellation and suddenly your whole section of the gate is navigating the trials of air travel together? You just had a shared experience. Crazy how the relationship leaps from the “Can I use the outlet next to you to charge my phone?”, to running through the airport together to get the next best flight.
Shared experiences make people a team.
Here at Cloverleaf, we are all about taking a group of people and making them into a true team. While we do this through our digital platform, we wholeheartedly believe that shared experiences are an amazing way to increase team effectiveness. Here’s how:
1 - You’ll rush through the team development stages, (fancy way of saying: “you’ll have no choice but to get to know each other better”)
Part of the way teams can become more effective is “rushing” the different stages of becoming a team.
Tuckman’s Model of team Development (explained by us here), has four stages that teams go through:
Forming - Newly formed team, beginning to work through goals, expectations and the tasks at hand
Storming - When team members begin to voice their opinions, push boundaries and experience conflict as power is assigned
Norming - team members take responsibility and have a shared sense of ownership group goals
Performing - roles are clearly established and team is achieving their common goals by autonomous work
The quicker that working together and spending time together gets a team through these phases, the quicker a team is at their peak productivity levels in the “Performing” stage. *This is also a cycle that can be started over, but once again, the faster you can move through stages - the quicker you are back to a productive state.
2 - Create memories, to share
In this thesis, that talks about transactive memory, the more time you spend together, the more easily a pair or group of people is able to recognize each person’s unique abilities and natural strengths. While this process eventually happens when working with a team regardless, sharing experiences speeds up the process. As you are learning about each other's’ uniqueness you are increasing your social and emotional intelligence as team, something that HBR has written on many times including this article.
Aside from fancy science-y talk, shared memories simply gives a team a common experience to look back on and share together. There even becomes shared words and language that gets associated with the experience and memory. This can be especially helpful for remote organizations that typically only communicate online. Most articles on remote teams like this one, explain how it is best to get together in person periodically to help the team take shape and work best together.
3- Increased trust = Easier Feedback
Jumping into giving and receiving feedback as a team is hard when you’ve only been in the “work” environment. Trust is something that takes time, and certainly a certain base level of a relationship. This HBR article discusses exactly that, along with other ways to build a feedback rich culture.
4 - Sharing an experience means a better experience
It’s been proven that sharing an experience amplifies the emotions related to that experience. Why not elevate your senses AND associate an awesome experience with your co-workers with sharing positive experiences. Don’t believe us? Here is a study that proves this very thing (Hint: They find that chocolate tastes better when tasting with others).
Not sure where to start when planning a shared experience for your team? This article has a great write-up on the three types of shared experiences you should integrate into your team, and one you should avoid.