Team leaders must avoid wasting time on frivolous team-building activities that bear no relation to the work they have to do.

Weave group activities into team meetings to generate something of value such as brainstorming sessions about customers and their needs.

Here are a few tips on team building:

Strengthen team bonds.
Team building occurs when team members expand in their knowledge of each other and their work at the same time. Individuals must be confident to express their viewpoints or they will never feel like team members.

Be specific about criteria.
If everyone agrees that ‘must improve customer satisfaction’ is the most important criterion then no one can object to a solution that does so, even if it is not ideal from their perspective.

Shift from functional to team or project thinking.
Continually reinforce the message that serving the company and its customers as a team is better for individuals in the long run.

Use data to make decisions.
Require data for all major decisions by the team. It then becomes very difficult for people to support personal preferences that aren’t best for the organization.

Frame issues in term of a process.
Encourage process thinking: What inputs are needed? Where can you get them? What are the steps? Who are the customers? It’s imperative to encourage process thinking if you want to overcome individualistic attitudes.

Projects are much more likely to succeed when team members work together and progress as a unified, single-minded unit with a definite objective.

Source: Project Management, Gary Heerkens