Make cooperation run smoothly

Team development made a big difference

How to make cooperation and interaction run smoothly

It can be difficult to calculate the real output of the investment in a team development course. Nevertheless, experience shows that both time and money have been well spent on team development in order to achieve the set out business goals.

Team development made a big difference

It can be difficult to measure the profits of investing in team development, but it cannot be questioned, when cooperation goes wrong due to misunderstandings and balancing of expectations. Experience during the development of Marmormolen (The Marble Pier) at Nordhavn has proved this to be true - a team development course definitely made a difference.

The below text is an extract – you can download the entire article above.

At the time when the contracting company Aarsleff and the demolition company Tscherning won the tender for developing Marmormolen, they decided that the members of the steering committee responsible for the major construction project were to complete a team development course. They have now learned that this investment was money well spent in terms of physical goals achieved in Sweden’s Vasa race and business-related goals in terms of keeping to the time schedule and the budget plan – while still maintaining a high level of ambition.

Team development was vital to the project's success

In recent years, the old commercial harbour in Nordhavn has undergone a major development from having been the location of decaying fishing boats and large industrial cranes to becoming the location of new residential areas in Copenhagen. In that connection, Aarsleff tendered for a major site development contract for Marmormolen in consortium cooperation with Tscherning. In order to avoid negative impacts on cooperation, Bent Kock Nielsen from Implement Consulting Group (Implement) was asked to conduct a team development course for the steering committee called "Marmorstyr".

The double mission

Bent Kock Nielsen is a consultant and partner at Implement, where he has worked since 2008. He is the leader of the practice that works with personal energy and energy in management groups, teams and organisations in general. When Bent prepares a team development course, he likes to base his course on the management theory of full engagement. This was also the case with project Marmormolen, where the basic idea was to support the business-related issues with a physical dimension and vice versa.

Bent Kock Nielsen
Bent Kock Nielsen
+45 4138 0060

The Vasa race mission

Not only did the use of full engagement in project Marmormolen mean that the site development project needed to comply with important business-related goals, but there also needed to be a physical goal, which in this case was that the members of the steering committee were to participate in the Vasa race in Sweden. The Vasa race is a 90 km cross-country ski race, and it is known to be physically challenging. The steering committee members were favourably disposed to the physical dimension included in the team development course. “It is not only about professional skills, it is also about sharing a physical goal to help create a better result”, Carsten Lund, the divisional manager at Aarsleff, sums up.

The project plan for the site development project was both ambitious and tight, which meant that it was critical to agree on direction and pace as well as being able to handle the obstacles. Training preparations for the Vasa race became the social glue that held the group together: “It was not so much the Vasa race, as it was training for the race that gave us a sense of community”, says Carsten Lund. In connection with training for the Vasa race, the steering committee completed a managerial development course. Two days a month, Bent participated in the steering committee’s work, where he offered supervision, sparring and counselling. Also, he arranged and conducted training group sessions. On these trips, he and Marmorstyr worked with team training and managerial development training.

Good cooperation spread to the organisation

During the initial phase, all steering committee members underwent physical testing and a 360° assessment to allow them to prepare for and focus on the continued work and any managerial and physical challenges they might face. After having completed the team development course, Carsten Lund says: “We met at the training sessions and spent time together, which connected us in another way than if we were colleagues who simply came and went”. Feedback showed that it meant something to the group dynamics to not only keep focus on cooperation on the construction site and milestones in terms of time and budget, but to also focus on the physical mission.

The steering committee concluded that the team development course had a beneficial effect on the workers at the construction site as well: “The particular synergy and effect resulting from the managements of the two companies having good and intimate knowledge of each other on the project as well as their desire to work together have spread to the organisation”, says Carsten Lund.

Most important milestones in Project Marmormolen have been completed within the agreed time schedule and budget plan despite high ambitions: “Things have gone very well – for both us and the client. We have kept to the time schedule and so on”, says Carsten Lund: “We have succeeded, not least thanks to the project steering committee.”

When evaluating whether it would be beneficial to spend money on a team development course, it can be difficult to calculate the real output of the investment. Nevertheless, both managing director Søren Tscherning and Carsten Lund are convinced that both time and money have been well spent:

“We have achieved what we wanted. I do not know if one can say that we achieved a better result on the bottom line, but it has certainly been easier to work together to achieve that goal”, as Carsten Lund expresses it.

As for what we have achieved thus far, I can conclude that the teamwork has been of critical importance to the project result. Had we not done it, we would have been faced with great difficulties, which we might not have been able to overcome.

Carsten Lund

Søren Tscherning shares this view: “I am convinced that the fact that we have worked together, spent time fine-tuning time schedules and adjusted our expectations have resulted in a much better bottom line – for both us and for Aarsleff. In 2012, some of the activities that needed to be completed have been under extreme time constraints, but we managed to complete them. So even though it might be difficult to measure the effect of a team development course on the bottom line, it can be measured against the fact that we have been keeping to schedule despite extreme time constraints and the fact that we began a month too late. However, we still managed to do it all."

The above text is an extract – you can download the entire article at the top of this page.