The sub-title of this post? "When NOT to invest in a team skills workshop".
I'm prompted to write this post because a friend called and asked me to lead a teambuilding program for the 40 staff of his growing physical therapy business. After a brief conversation I advised him to save his money and NOT hire me.
Here's the situation: The group is to have a staff retreat (the last one was 3 years ago) which will take place after they work for half a day (attending to patients). This retreat will last all of four hours and I was asked to deliver "some kind of teamwork training" that will improve communication - - the staff is experiencing some real communication challenges that are adversely affecting the bottom line. My portion of the retreat is to last no more than 60 minutes. There is no budget (or time) for an analysis of the current situation which will help reveal the root cause of the communication problems the group is experiencing. There is no plan or budget for follow up / follow-through.
I explained that a quick-fix is not going to solve the problem and attempting to apply a quick-fix is likely to make things worse.
Quick-fixes don't work. Imagine someone walking into a fitness center to announce they are willing to invest just 60 minutes to get fit. The next time they are willing to invest in their fitness is in another 3 years. Though 60 minutes at a fitness center is better than nothing, it is only a start. The place to start is to determine the current level of fitness and then develop a fitness plan and then begin the plan and evaluate continuously. Going to the finess center once every three years for 60 minutes will produce a short term "feel good" experience (maybe) but that's about it.
I shared the above analogy with my friend. He understood the metaphor but, he said, "I have a business to run! A business where patients show up everyday all day long. I can't afford to stop my business to do team skills and leadership training with my staff."
Covey calls it the 7th Habit - - taking time to "sharpen the saw".
My friend couldn't believe I would turn down business. I suggested his resources would be better invested coming up with clear mission and vision (something I would help with) and then determining how training would support that mission and vision. He said he didn't have time for that.
Maybe he will call me back when his team (business) is in crisis. People tend to have the resources (time, money, etc.) when there is a crisis.