NJM+E: What inspired you to create Team Builders Plus?
MR: Jeff Backal and I started Team Builders Plus in 1991 when there were just a few team-building companies in the country. In fact, most people hadn’t yet even heard about team-building. So you can imagine what our friends and family thought when we told them we were starting a team-building company. I discovered this new type of training while working on my MBA, and it instantly appealed to me. I had just left an organization whose culture was highly toxic, and I was excited about the idea of adding positive energy to the workplace.
NJM+E: What does Team Builders Plus do?
MR: Team Builders Plus offers a wide range of team-building programs, from fun events such as treasure hunts, building bikes for underprivileged kids and solving a murder mystery to working with teams to create ground rules for success.
NJM+E: What do you see as the biggest obstacle for most companies?
MR: The biggest challenge faced by most companies is grounded in poor communication. From ineffective interpersonal communications to the complete lack of communication, companies that invest in developing communication skills see major improvements in morale and quality.
NJM+E: What do you think most companies/employees do wrong and how can they do it right?
MR: Companies that do not create a learning culture will find that their turnover rates will begin to skyrocket as more of the millennial generation enter the workforce. With the shift from lifetime employment to lifetime employability, companies investing in training employees and providing managers with coaching skills will be able to attract and retain the best people.
NJM+E: Tell us a little bit about your book, Taking Flight! How is it different from other books about personality types?
MR: While most books about personality are clinical analyses of what makes people tick, Taking Flight! presents the four personality styles in a fable about four types of birds. By teaching people about personality style through an engaging story, people learn about themselves and others in a way that is accessible and sticks with them.
NJM+E: How do you think it helps people learn how to work together?
MR: By understanding personality style, people learn how to communicate more effectively to people of different styles. They discover that rather than treating people how we like to be treated, success lies in the ability to treat others how they want to be treated.
NJM+E: Give us a few examples of success stories.
MR: One organization that we work with has had every employee participate in the Take Flight with DISC training program. They report that understanding the DISC styles has helped to drive innovation and improve communication. In fact, each time they form a project team, they consider the styles of the potential team members and use the styles to begin with a conversation about their strengths and potential blind spots. On a personal level, I was particularly delighted by feedback from a training program participant a few weeks after the session. She wrote me to tell me that she had her husband take our free online Taking Flight assessment and their discussions about their styles saved their marriage. It doesn’t get better than that.
Merrick Rosenberg is a facilitator, executive coach, author and speaker. He has worked with more than half of the Fortune 100 companies in 45 states and worldwide. He is the co-author of Taking Flight!: Master the DISC Styles to Transform You Career, Your Relationships...Your Life. He co-founded Team Builders Plus in 1991.