Learning about Team Building at Service Square

On Monday, Jan 20th,  at Service Square we had another round of training conducted by Vigneswari, on team building.

I was preoccupied with unsettling worries during the training. The staff did not look very enthusiastic at the start. As the training progressed, I remained in my worried groove. The rest of them loosened up a bit.

Vigneswari started with the difference between a group and a team. A team consists of a small number of people working together, towards a goal.

It stuck me that the 3 housekeeping teams have not yet jelled and they do not live the spirit of what teams represent. It is only Vasanth who tries to energise his group. The rest of them have not come out of their limiting beliefs. Most of them have made good strides in reaching office on time. They also keep getting appreciation from customers for the good work they do. Beyond the good feedback, they do not take initiatives particularly in selling.

Vigneswari spoke about the important components of a team which are, trust, care, communication, conflict resolution and responsibility. I wonder why she did not touch up on Goals.

When there is an atmosphere of trust within a team, everyone covers one another’s back. The leader of the team has a huge role in creating that atmosphere. I constantly keep asking myself, whether what I say and do are congruent and authentic enough for people to operate in trust. Unless I keep showing up doing the work setting an example for others, people will not trust what I tell them about work.

While explaining aspects of communication, Vigneswari touched on the harmful effect of acting or speaking when one is under stress of extreme emotions, particularly anger. How I need to improve here!

She conducted a few team games to communicate the concepts behind team building. Most of the games were played in two groups. The group where I belonged did not do well at all. I could see that Mathan’s group consistently scored higher in everything they did. There was more energy and clear leadership within that team.

Games can charge an atmosphere. They create enthusiasm within teams. The learnings from games can be transformational when the discoveries come from the group participants, in an atmosphere of reflection.

We lack fun within Service Square. It should not be only about work and more work all the time. It makes a world of difference when people work in happiness.

The role of a leader in a team cannot be over-emphasised. Almost everything revolves around the ability of the leader to take his people towards a common goal. Without the enthusiasm and clarity of the leader people grope for direction.

At the end of the programme, Vigneswari spent some time with me. After identifying that Service Square’s thrust area ought to be business, she gave suggestions in an earnest way, about what could be done to get more business. For someone who was in charge of growing the business of First Flight from 10 people to about 1000 in TN and Kerala within a matter of a few years and then spearheading the marketing of the entire organization, it seemed odd and galling to be listening to marketing tips. Yet, a closed mind is an invitation to living in a state of numb atrophy. I am grateful for what Vigneswari offers from her genuine desire to help.


Then we came to the crux of the problem – my enthusiasm levels. It did not need any prodding for me to lay the main issue on top of the table. She knows and I know that my personal and business demons are for me alone to slay. Dealing with these are essential for growing the business.

While I was discussing with Vigneswari, I could see that outside in the main hall, the 3 groups were meeting separately. It was the first time that I saw them do this. After she left, two of the groups came to me to discuss about their plans.

Yesterday, during a meeting with Mathan and Dhana, we spoke about how we can use the training sessions to drive change within the organization. They can be used for energy shifts to higher levels. It will depend upon the efforts taken at the top level to follow up on the topics covered during training sessions. Along with me, Mathan and Dhana have a huge role to play.

These days I keep discussing particularly with Mathan and Dhana about crucial changes we have to introduce in our thinking to transform Service Square.

  • Ways to offer customers much greater value than the price they pay.
  • Creating experiences for customers in every service we provide, every time.
  • Time is money. Calculate the cost and returns of every hour.
  • Paradigm changing ideas to take the business to exponential growth.

At the end of the meeting we shared some interesting thoughts on the Unique Selling Proposition of Service Square. I suggested that the USP has to be communicated in every communication uniformly, by every staff of Service Square, to everyone we come in touch with. And it has to be contained in a very short sentence.

This morning I came early to office early. I found the house keeping staff trooping in as if they had all the time in the world. I demonstrated to them what tough love is through some plain speaking.

While remembering all the lessons on team building, we will stay confined to the peripheries if we do not remember this valuable truth concerning any worthwhile endeavour:

Take Care To Get What You Like, Otherwise You Will Be Forced To Like What You Get.


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