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Archive for the ‘Team Effectiveness’ Category

How to Promote Creativity Through Team Building Activities

Friday, December 30th, 2016

When teams function smoothly, innovation and creative problem-solving come naturally. But achieving team harmony can take time and effort. Team building videos teach and encourage such skills as building trust between team members, demonstrating respect at all times, using good communication, and creating a safe place to voice new ideas and even fail. Then, facilitating team building activities helps team members practice those skills and gain camaraderie while doing so.magicofwess_thumb2x

When team members participate in collaborative team building activities, they learn to work together and generally get to know each other better. The activity can be something non-work-related like zip-lining or a scavenger hunt, or something relevant to the job, like a brainstorming session about a particular project or problem. Ultimately, the more trust team members feel towards each other, the more likely they are to feel secure being creative and offering new ideas and opinions.

For example, in the team building video The Magic of We, a team of leaders from Snapper Lawn Mowers came together on a Saturday morning to try and figure out, once and for all, why the parts on some of their lawn mowers simply weren’t fitting together after a recent factory consolidation and parts-supplier-overhaul. While there had been much conflict and finger-pointing  leading up to the weekend session, once everyone was together on the plant floor and was tasked with the common goal of assembling four lawn mowers from scratch, the leaders – assembled from every department of the company – set aside differences and began to collaborate with, and trust, one another. As they did so, they became energized in their quest to figure out the hardware problems and creativity flowed.

Ultimately, the Snapper team was successful – not just in solving the tough puzzle that faced them, but in building creativity, problem-solving and collaboration skills. They learned that good teams:

  • Encourage, share and explore questions and ideas.
  • Generate options, act on one or more of them, and learn from each effort.
  • Step outside the day-to-day environment and rules to encourage innovation.
  • Make fun a part of the problem-solving process.
  • Make problem-solving and creative idea-generation more hands-on.

For more about the Snapper Lawn Mower story, preview The Magic of We team building video. In addition to lessons on teamwork, the video also teaches viewers about communication, leadership, problem-solving, and even Lean Manufacturing.

To learn more about encouraging creativity in team members, Team Creativity profiles a team member who doesn’t express her ideas because she fears rejection. From her example, viewers then learn how to stop the “enemies” of creativity in team situations.

The Top 3 Secrets of Successful Teams

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Organizations and managers are on a perpetual quest to discover the best ways to maximize their teams’ effectiveness. Below, we share our top 3 secrets of successful teams. All 3 “secrets” begin with teamwork training – a key way to bring teams together, build trust, learn important team building techniques, and develop a common language for discussing teamwork. And for all 3 secrets, we suggest team building videos that will help you get there.

3 Secrets of Successful Teams

1)      Successful teams operate from an accountability mindset and seek clarity around tasks and communication. An accountability mindset is a framework for viewing all tasks, meetings and conversations: it’s how you think about accepting assignments with full ownership, how you take action to complete tasks – despite any obstacles – and how you think about accepting the results of your actions – not as a victim, but as someone who owns their results, good or bad.    positive-workplace-manufacturing260

Seeking clarity around tasks and communication is also vital to an accountable, successful team and includes steps like figuring out who is doing what by when on each to-do, and using that information to craft clear agreements for all team tasks.

Team building video #1: Accountability that Works helps individuals and teams get more accomplished correctly and on time. With accountability, you get better results, improved teamwork, and clarity. Without it, you get blame, finger-pointing, missed deadlines and low morale. This program reveals an approach to accountability that improves team and organizational performance.

2)      Successful teams welcome diversity, especially in terms of different team participation styles and team player personalities. Team leaders and members understand that there is great strength and creativity in having diverse ideas, personalities and communication styles on a team. With all that diversity also comes the potential for conflict, of course, but teamwork training can help any team learn to value the participation styles of others while teaching how to use our own styles and personalities to the maximum advantage of the team – all with respect, clear communication and collaboration.

Team building video #2: Team Building: What Makes a Good Team Player features best-selling author and team building expert Glenn Parker showing how to leverage the unique strengths of different personality types and work through the kinds of conflict that prevent high performance. Manufacturing, Government, and Healthcare versions of this program are also available.

3)      Successful teams create an environment where people can give their honest opinion and where plans and ideas can be challenged. When open feedback and constructive conflict are stifled and discouraged in groups, decisions go unchecked, and disaster can occur. Groups that are successful know that encouraging diverse input, being able to challenge assumptions or decisions, and having the freedom to speak up are vital to good decision-making and strong team morale. Teamwork training can help any group learn to create a team culture where input is valued and group members’ ideas (and even disagreements) are actively sought out.

Team building video #3: The Abilene Paradox depicts individuals who support plans they really don’t believe in — leading groups to meaningless, costly outcomes. This best-selling, classic training program has helped thousands of organizations increase profits and productivity by helping teams make better group decisions.

What is “Groupthink” and How Can I Avoid It?

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Have you ever been part of a group – maybe a workgroup, a sports team, or a committee – where everyone was so eager to get along, not rock the boat or make a unanimous decision that it affected group members’ ability to challenge a decision, propose alternatives, or speak up at all?

If so, you’ve experienced, first-hand, the phenomenon called “groupthink.”  

When psychologist Irving Janis began theorizing about groupthink in the early 1970’s (while studying disastrous large-scale policy decisions like the Bay of Pigs Invasion), what struck him repeatedly was the inability of well-intentioned groups  to see beyond their own narrow focus, to rationally consider alternatives, and to foresee how their course of action would seriously threaten – and in some cases destroy – the groups’ very goals and principles. Also notable in each case was the extreme desire group members reported to “please one another,” to be perceived as team players, and to retain their membership in the group.groupthink_video

Groupthink can strike groups of any size, in any department, at any organization. Because the risk groupthink poses to organizations is nothing less than ineffective group decisions that can lead to negative (even catastrophic) outcomes —  employees and leaders must learn to avoid groupthink by spotting it when it occurs.

One effective way to educate teams about groupthink is the Groupthink video from CRM Learning. It features Dr. James K. Esser explaining the 8 symptoms of groupthink: the more of these symptoms that are found in any decision-making group, the more likely it is that the group will develop groupthink. The Groupthink video also shows a haunting re-enactment of the meetings and decisions leading up to the fateful launch of the space shuttle Challenger, which Dr. Esser and others have studied as an example of faulty group decision-making, likely due to groupthink.

The best way to avoid groupthink is to create an “open” climate during decision-making processes – especially during meetings.  Leaders need to encourage free discussion and non-judgmental attitudes when others are speaking. They must avoid isolating the group from outside influences – even bringing in “outsiders” to help challenge assumptions and think critically about the problem the group is facing, and how data or information is being analyzed. Outsiders who don’t have expertise that directly links to the matter at hand, or who are in a different specialty area altogether,  can be valuable for asking new questions and thinking about problems entirely differently.

Similarly,  leaders and group members alike should be empowered to take on the role of “critical evaluator” – someone who has the power to challenge the group’s rationalizations and assumptions.  Critical evaluators lead the way in thinking through the potential outcomes and consequences of various decision choices.

Provide your groups and teams with the tools they need to avoid workplace groupthink with the Groupthink video from CRM Learning. It uses the space shuttle Challenger disaster and other historic examples to explain this phenomenon and how groups can avoid it.

What Makes A Good Team Player?

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Organizations which provide team building training to their employees recognize the power of what a high-performing team can accomplish, and they invest time and resources into building stronger, more collaborative teams. Team building videos and exercises can challenge employees to evaluate how they behave when on a team, and provide tips to improve communication, cooperation and trust.

But, what skills or personal characteristics make a good team player? Interestingly, the best teams are made up of very diverse people with different personalities, but that all coalesce by exhibiting self-awareness, interpersonal honesty, and mutual respect.teambuilding


We all tend to have different “styles” when it comes to working in a team. Some of us tend to be task-oriented, wanting to focus the group on the steps needed to accomplish the goal, while some people are more comfortable communicating, working to mediate differences and talk through challenges and ideas. Others still are great at challenging – they naturally ask “why?” or “why not?” and question assumptions, forcing the team towards better innovation and critical thinking. No matter what our natural style, though, it’s important to be aware of how we interact in groups and be able to “dial back” our style when necessary, or even switch styles when the team needs it.

Interpersonal Honesty

It’s important to understand that a good team player is not a “yes-person,” someone whose main concern is achieving consensus and not rocking the boat. As any good team building training will teach, teams only succeed when individual members feel safe enough to speak up when they disagree or feel something isn’t right. High-performing teams rely on members who are creative rather than conformist, and who bring interpersonal honesty to the table in order to push the group to higher standards.

Mutual Respect

With all the benefits of having a team comprised of diverse individuals – fresh ideas, different expertise and unique experiences – comes the potential for conflict and “head butting.” Therefore, team leaders and members should become adept at managing – not avoiding – conflict, and channeling it in productive ways. This begins by team members exhibiting mutual respect towards each other, even when they disagree. Behaviors like not interrupting when you disagree, listening with an open mind, and avoiding talking behind someone’s back all demonstrate respect. Because a clash of viewpoints is essential for creative, high-quality solutions.

CRM Learning offers numerous team building videos that help teams build trust and respect, learn their natural communication styles, and speak up against the status quo.

Team Building: What Makes a Good Team Player? focuses on Glenn Parker’s four types of team players, illustrating how groups can build on the strengths of each personality to reach team goals.

Groupthink A powerful reenactment of events surrounding the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger helps viewers see how “groupthink” can lead to costly decisions.

See other team building videos here.

Build Stronger Workplace Teams with Generational Diversity Training

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Bridging the generation gap in the workplace can seem like a daunting task. For instance, team building training can be difficult when you have multiple generations on a work team. Luckily, CRM Learning offers generational diversity training that also strengthens teams, including the video Please Respect My Generation!”.

Why is generational diversity training important?

Generational respect imageToday, you could have as many as five different generations in the workplace, each with their own opinions about other generations. Since generational stereotypes can be just as disrespectful as cultural and ethnic ones, it’s important to train employees about generational diversity so they learn to communicate better, deal with change, and develop a more respectful workplace.

Please Respect My Generation!” teaches how to bridge the generation gap amongst coworkers and translate age differences into an advantage. Viewers will learn the dos and don’ts of working with multiple generations. In this training video, you will hear from 5 different generations as they discuss their own generational traits and those of the co-workers they encounter daily. After completing this training, your employees will know how to communicate with various generations effectively and respectfully. Viewers will see that different generations offer a wealth of knowledge in different areas, and they will learn to understand and empathize with colleagues from a different generation.

Not only does “Please Respect My Generation!” bridge the generation gap, but it also encourages team building. No matter the level, role or generation of your employees, team building is essential for a productive, communicative workplace. “Please Respect My Generation” has the ability to tackle both topics in 23 minutes. Your employees will walk away with a greater capacity for collaboration and cross-generational understanding in the workplace.

Get your copy of “Please Respect My Generation!” and create a respectful, productive environment at work. CRM Learning provides the best training videos at the lowest prices. Visit our website and learn about our team building training videos.

How Can Emotional Intelligence Videos Improve My Team?

Friday, May 6th, 2016

ei_aluminum04When they think about building team effectiveness, most people don’t think of Emotional Intelligence (or “EI”) training because EI training typically focuses on the individual not the group. But, increasing the emotional intelligence of individual team members will ultimately improve a group’s effectiveness and enable them to use the power of emotion in their pursuit of organizational goals.

As humans, we all have our “blind spots” at work—areas where we over-react, or repeatedly make the same mistakes when dealing with certain co-workers or situations. In a team setting, these disruptive behaviors can undermine trust, respect and collaboration.

By helping team members develop the 5 Emotional Intelligence Competencies, you can build a cohesive team that works together and is less likely to fall prey to dysfunction. These five competencies are Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Motivation, Empathy, and Effective Relationships.   

The basic premise of EI Training is that people can change.  Employees can develop these competencies and become:

  • more self-aware (and have a better sense of their “blind spots” and what to do about them). 
  • better able to regulate their emotions, specifically learning how to cool down in times of anger and frustration instead of venting or taking it out on others.   
  • inspired to use the positive aspects of emotion to remain motivated… especially in the face of setbacks or challenges
  • more empathic towards others
  • more successful at building positive, respectful workplace relationship

With the help our Emotional Intelligence videos provide, you can create a more pleasant, safe and collaborative work environment for your entire organization.

More About Our Emotional Intelligence Videos and How They Can Help Your Team

The Emotional Intelligence Series contains 3 different videos that cover the understanding and demonstration of emotional intelligence as well as how it leads to optimal performance on the job. Host Daniel Goleman explains the science behind emotional intelligence and introduces scenarios that illustrate how improvements in the area of emotional intelligence impact employee well-being and overall organizational communication. The 3-part series is a perfect EI “how-to”course .

So, if you are noticing a dip in team productivity or an increase in emotional outbursts at your organization, the Emotional Intelligence Series, along with our overview video Emotional Intelligence, can help. Use them to fix common issues associated with negative emotions and to enable people to tap into the energy of positive emotions.

Visit CRM Learning for more training videos on interpersonal skills and other topics designed to increase productivity and create a better work environment. 

How The Groupthink Video Enables Groups To Make Better Decisions

Saturday, April 30th, 2016

challengerWorking effectively in a group comprised of different people and personalities can be one of the hardest challenges in the workplace.  Team decision making, in particular, is often undermined by unproductive group dynamics.  CRM Learning’s classic training video, Groupthink, exposes one of the most common ways groups end up making bad decisions.

Groupthink is a phenomenon that occurs when a group’s decision makers appear to be in agreement on a course of action– when, in reality, some team members have doubts. It happens a lot in groups where the desire to seek unanimity (either stemming from a strong sense of “esprit de corps” or out of a perceived pressure to conform) prevent the group from critically examining the proposed action…in particular, failing to fully consider opposing viewpoints.

Identifying groupthink, and knowing how to avoid it, helps ensure effective decision making at all levels of the organization. And, that is what CRM Learning’s groupthink video is designed to do. It uses a reenactment of the Challenger disaster, along with other historic examples, to powerfully illustrate how well-intentioned people can make bad decisions, entirely or partly due to groupthink.

The Groupthink video enables viewers to answer the questions below and apply the video’s lessons to their own group decision making:

Why do group decisions sometimes result in monumental error?

What drives groups to agree on a course of action despite the better judgment of some, or even all, participants?

What specifically can groups (and group leaders in particular) do to encourage critical thinking and give full consideration to opposing points of view?

CRM Learning offers a number of outstanding training videos on teamwork and group dynamics.  Each video has multiple options for purchase including DVD, USB Flash Drive or online streaming.  Classroom training materials are provided with DVD/USB Flash Drive purchases and may be purchased as add-ons to online streaming.

How to Avoid the Road to Abilene

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Has your group ever gone down the road to Abilene? This type of trip occurs when a group or team goes ahead with an idea or project due to the phenomenon of “false consensus”: everyone communicates their agreement with the idea, when in fact, some or all actually have objections or concerns, but fail to state them. This occurs in organizations because many people feel they’ll be ridiculed or censured if they voice objections. Trips to Abilene are a waste of time and resources and leave team members frustrated. Avoiding the road to Abilene in the first place is the best way to keep a fear of speaking up from causing your group to support a bad choice.

How to Avoid the Road to Abilene

  1. Encourage Disagreement: Create an environment in which group members are comfortable voicing differing opinions and are expected to stand up for their convictions. Facilitating discussion, keeping conflict healthy, and specifically asking for conflicting viewpoints allow groups to determine whether or not everyone is on board with a given idea.
  2. Avoid Depending on Unanimous Agreement: It takes an inordinately long time to truly reach a unanimous agreement. If people in a group know that the only way the project can move forward is if they pretend to agree with an idea, they are much less likely to present an opposing position.
  3. Create Avenues for Everyone to Voice their Opinions: No matter how you set up a discussion, not everyone is going to feel comfortable voicing their opinion. Setting up alternative avenues for discussion can help avoid that trip to Abilene. This might mean creating an anonymous suggestion box or hotline, or asking people for their opinion one on one. Everything you can do to diversify the way opinions are voiced reduces your chance of pouring resources into bad ideas.
  4. Be Careful with Language: The way a group leader constructs his or her comments can have a vast impact on whether or not members speak up. For example, saying “So we’re all in agreement?” encourages everyone in the group to say “yes.” Instead, consider asking “Does anyone have anything to add?” Being precise with language when wrapping up a discussion or responding to criticism can encourage, rather than put a damper on, opposing views.
  5. Ask “Are We On the Road to Abilene?”: If your group is familiar with the Abilene Paradox, asking straight-out whether it may be in play can help you recognize and get off of the wrong road.

Groups are most able to avoid taking the road to Abilene if they are first familiar with the concept. Video training is an effective way to introduce the Abilene Paradox and reinforce methods for avoiding it. Good training paired with thoughtful group management can dramatically cut back on ineffective group dynamics.

Recommended Training Resource: The Abilene Paradox is one of our best-selling videos. It’s an entertaining introduction to the concept of the Abilene Paradox that helps team members improve their ability to interact in groups and overcome their fear of speaking out.

Improve Workplace Productivity and the Customer Experience with Customer Service Videos

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

No matter your business’s size, you need a great relationship with your customers,  and that starts with your customer service team. Training your service team to interact positively with customers, and with each other, leads to improved productivity and cooperation. Customer service videos are a key resource when training your team.

Why are Customer Service Training Videos Effective?

Your employees won’t always walk into work knowing the best strategies for customer service. It’s up to you and your management team to make sure they have the skills they need to succeed. Customer service training videos are an effective way to make sure your customer service team is learning the skills they need to impress your customers and go above and beyond. Here’s why:

  • Through a combination of sounds and visuals, customer service training videos enable trainees to process information in two different ways. This helps to reinforce information in multiple areas of the brain.
  • Customer service training videos are engaging. By using compelling stories, actionable information, and humor, well-made training videos entice their viewers’ interest, helping ensure the information they provide is retained.
  • Customer service training videos feature variety of scenarios. Rather than reading or hearing about only one or two anecdotes, training videos allow their viewers to see how a variety of scenarios play out, providing more insight into the subtleties of customer service.
  • Customer service  training videos provide consistency in training. Unlike live presentations, you know that by watching the same video, the entirety of your customer service team hears the same information. This builds a common base of knowledge throughout your team.

The Benefits of Customer Service Training

Why bother with customer service training at all? Because it provides benefits for both your customers and your staff.

  • Customer Benefits: Customers who interact with trained service members tend to be more satisfied with their interaction. They’ll be more inclined to choose you over other businesses, and will enjoy the feelings of loyalty their positive interactions with your staff evokes.
  • Staff Benefits: Showing your staff that you care about their career progress and individual development helps to improve their motivation, confidence, and morale. They’ll communicate better with customers and with each other, improving productivity and creating a positive work environment.

Recommended Training Videos

The Customer Service Toolkit is a collection of 72 video clips that cover a wide variety of customer service skills.s. This collection is great for helping your team build confidence and improve their interactions with customers and with each other.


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