The project is over, you’ve had the final retrospective and the team is beginning to think about what is next. I have always that a celebration was an effective means of transitioning from one project to the next. While the communal consumption of food as a team is a simple and powerful tool that should be part of your team-building toolkit, I have always found that stepping away from the ordinary pizza lunch and doing something a bit more out of the ordinary leaves a more lasting impression. That lasting impression can cement relationships and re-energize the team.
Many management pundits and social psychologists have remarked on the power of celebrating together. A simple twist I would like to suggest you occasionally try is the family potluck, each team member brings their favorite celebration dish. One of my favorites is puff pastry wrapped brie with a cranberry reduction. A friend of mine is proud of his very special steamed dumplings filled with minced pork and red chilies (very spicy). By including the team and their whole family we end up with cacophony of sights, tastes and noises, all of which helps create a deeper understanding of who each person on your team really is. I think we would all agree that our families or significant others are part of the broader team community.
Doing food as a team isn’t a new concept, but it never loses its luster. Take the next step and make your next celebration even better than the ordinary pizza lunch.
Post Thought Note: It has been suggested that the word potluck is code for the “boss is too cheap to buy me lunch.” As leaders we nee to consider if that is our intent and if so we have a broader team problem a single project meal will fix.