Monday, 14 December 2009

Team Lunches/Dinner for Integration - Do's and Dont's

Team Lunch / Dinner – A word that is used, executed, performed every day for various teams around the world... Every team has some or the other way of celebrating / collaborating. Team lunch is common across. I haven’t seen a Team that have had no Team lunch/Dinner. It can be with the Managers, with colleagues, with clients, with Management anyone. However not everyone derives the real meaning of Team lunches. For some of them Team lunch is:
1. Eating good food at company expenses
2. Time out from office
3. Exploring restaurants with office colleagues
4. Blowing company’s money out
5. Managers attempt to please people and keep em Happy.

Unfortunately, it is none of the above. The very much objective of Team lunch is Integration. The Managers think that there is a time needed to have a bonding between the team more than their office desks. They need to integrate with others based on not what they do in office but beyond that. Thus we go a lunch / dinner out. I thought of writing this post to derive a few things:
1. Understanding the Objective behind Team lunches / Dinners / Events
2. The Do’s and Don’ts of Team Lunch / Dinner
3. Etiquettes – With the next post

Understanding the Objective behind Team lunches / Dinners / Events
Every meeting needs to have an objective; meetings are done to prepare the objectives, execute them or finalize them and approve them. If you or your Team is doing meetings without objectives your management needs to do some serious thinking. A team lunch or Dinner is also a meeting (just a one with informal objective in general and Integration of employees in specific).
The Integration objectives can be including:
1. Get the old and new employees together, make them share a word.
2. Let the old employees derive the futuristic of the organization
3. Share a laugh
4. Prepare team for the next big announcements to come, a casual update
5. Create a rapport between members(foundation of Love and Bonding)

The Do’s of Team Lunches / Dinner
1. Organize the lunch / dinner in a time when the entire Team can be present.
2. Take the Team to a place where the sitting arrangement can give you enough space to move around.
3. Choose a non noisy restaurant, after all you need to speak not listen to music and dance
4. Organize smaller and casual games before food so that team can relax, choose games that can be played when sitting
5. People who are centre of attractions, bring them in the centre of the sitting arrangement
6. Get a helpdesk to arrange a restaurant that serves food your Team likes and can eat.
7. Prepare your lunch, prepare your speech, and prepare your schedule.
8. If you want to have longer time with the Teams, take em for a Dinner as lunch would mean longer time off from the work. Start early if you are for Dinner so team can reach home in time.
9. Be courteous to ask colleagues to give them ride if late.
10. Discuss casual elements of work with starters. The dinner table is not a work place so discuss only those things that don’t affect people or individuals directly. After all the lunch/dinner is to moralise not demotivate.
11. Start conversations with those who are quite, involve people into conversation.
12. Keep one surprise element to every lunch/dinner reveal it towards the end, announce it at the beginning. Remember one lunch should increase Team’s curiosity to join other.
13. Make people realise how much they missed when they miss a team event.
14. If you have visitors in the event, then discuss about Teams likings, their achievements, individual achievements.

Don’ts of Team Lunches and Dinners

1. If you have people who get high with alcohol, do not include alcohol in your event
2. Don’t let groups getting created on the dinner table
3. Do not discuss office issues; this is not a place to do it.
4. Humour is good, but if it is going beyond a limit it can cause pain.. Avoid people drilling others who are serious in nature and can react.
5. As a Manager start with the Team and finish with them. If the lead is not with the Team to enjoy who is going to bond?
6. Don’t focus on just eating and drinking. Do not let people do it too.
7. If you are there for a Team lunch / dinner doesn’t mean that you are there for food only.. Make a point that you speak beyond food.
8. Don’t crack toilet, physical or boss jokes.
9. Don’t make announcements that have higher impact at the beginning or middle of the lunch / dinner.
10. Don’t do your speech when the food is on the table.. that’s the time when Team cannot focus on you. This can be between starters and main course or main course and desserts i prefer the later.
11. Don’t mix announcements with this event. Do it later.
12. Don’t go to the same place where you always have being. They may be disinterested. New place every time can make Team curious to join.

Remember the Team lunch and dinner is for us to interact, bond. Using it for just the sole purpose may not be very helpful. So when are you taking your Team out for lunch next? Do you have more Do’s and Dont’s?