• Alexandra Horn

Team Development Tip for Teams

All teams go through different stages of development and the truth is, if you’re not intentionally focused on the process, it might not go the way you hoped.


Below we have a Team Development Tip that you can use at any stage of the team development process, but it is particularly effective at the beginning, when a team is just coming together, or their have been new additions or a shift in leadership.



We do a lot of work with teams throughout the Dallas-area, working with our clients from a wide variety of sectors, and with this, we understand the challenges to creating a team that communicates, collaborates and supports each other at a high level.


Team development is a big part of what we do (through the team building workshops we design), focusing on how to build a team that functions at a high level, getting buy-in from every member.


And when it does all come together for a team, it’s exciting to see the group work together to accomplish goals as a team, picking each other up, with everyone contributing to the success.

Team Development Tip for New Teams


As referenced above, this is the best time to engage in specific team development activities. This is often called the “Forming” stage, when most team members are open and willing to work together, to learn their roles, fully understand the objectives of the project or department, how they fit in, what their responsibilities will be…and the team culture starts to take hold.


Now is the time for an intentional focus on developing the culture you want and creating the foundation for how the team will communicate and work together moving forward.


“Yes, and…”

Here’s a tip that will serve you well as your new team starts to come together:

Embrace the concept of “Yes, and…”


As an improv-based corporate training organization, the principle of “Yes, and…” is foundational to much of what we do with our clients. We’ve written about it in the past, highlighting how we integrate the concept into our Corporate Workshops with clients focused on everything from a Presentation Skills workshops for a sales team, a creativity and innovation workshop, and of course with our team building activities and workshops.

With team development, if the group knows right from the beginning that everyone can contribute their ideas and opinions in a supportive environment, one in which colleagues will not only accept and respect what they’ve said, but also add to their thoughts (and in turn they know colleagues will do the same thing for them), it creates a powerful dynamic of cohesiveness, connectivity and exponential collaborative power.


The power of “Yes, and…” will also directly lead to team members feeling higher levels of satisfaction about their jobs, roles and leadership.


In practice, it’s as simple as putting in place the guidelines that when a team member is speaking, everyone is responsible for actively (actually) listening and when they reply, they’ll do so by taking a “yes, and…” approach. They acknowledge what’s been said (the “Yes” part), and add something of value (the “and” part)…and they’ll do this first, before entering into the judgement phase, or critiquing the idea.


The analysis phase will come, but in the beginning, if everyone knows their contributions will be acknowledged, valued and built upon, they’ll commit to the overall team and goals.

Think of the difference, and we’ve likely all been in a meeting like this, when someone in a group suggests an idea and the first comment from a colleague is along the lines of “we already tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work”…and if you haven’t heard something exactly like that, I’m sure you’ve heard a version of it at some point.


That type of comment right out of the gate can be pretty deflating, and even worse, foundationally corrosive to a team’s ability to come together and reach their goals.

Making “yes, and…” a part of your culture, takes that off the table. It doesn’t mean you’re going to move forward with every idea or suggestion, but it does mean you’re going to create an environment where everyone is comfortable contributing, and ideas are given an opportunity to be explored in a respectful supportive way.


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If you’re interested in learning more about how we can work with your team, reach out to either one of us - Alex at Alex@improvtoimprove.org or Kayce at Kayce@improvtoimprove.org

We also have friends in other regions who do what we do with Team Development.


Vancouver TheatreSports have been working with teams for a long time in Canada, as have Dad’s Garage in Atlanta with their sessions (Vancouver team building workshops and Atlanta team building workshops).

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Alexandra Horn

Co-Founder

Kayce Kuntz

Co-Founder

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© 2016 Improv to Improve.  Dallas, TX

Photography by Mimi van Amerongen