Team Building Lessons Organizations can learn from the Kenyan Election Cycle, by VICTOR OTIENO

Team Building Lessons Organizations can learn from the Kenyan Election Cycle by VICTOR OTIENO


Most of us are familiar with corporate teambuilding and often associate it with staff members going out of town to the beach or Maasai Mara to have fun, bond with colleagues and play activities meant to galvanize team work.

While that is a good assessment of what teambuilding is, it is intrinsically myopic. Team building espouses total activities in and out of office that are geared towards increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the organization by ensuring all the different functions operate seamlessly. In short team building is aimed at ensuring the organization operates and performance like a well oiled German machine.

The Kenyan election cycles is probably the most dramatic if not the most expensive globally. Whilst they are associated with a lot of negativity, there are great teambuilding lessons organizations can learn from the political class and activities surrounding elections.

The strength and unity of a political party is anchored on how well it handles it nomination process. It is at this stage that it is able to recruit able candidates to fly the party flag in various positions in government be it governor, senator, Member of Parliament among others by ensuring they represent the interest of the party.

It’s therefore important that the process is perceived to be fair, verifiable and credible. As witnessed in most party nominations the process was not well managed leading to fallout and weakening of the teams.  Organizations must ensure that recruitment, promotions and remuneration process is just and fair to all staff members.

They say in politics there are no permanent enemies or friends and therefore politicians are known to be very good at coalition building. Simply put politicians have mustered the art of aggregating both human and non human resource to achieve certain goals such as forming government. Organizations must learn such critical attribute by ensuring people are able to work together regardless of position, race, educational background all to achieve overall corporate targets instead of focusing on uncorrelated departmental targets.

Communication is very critical to the success of any relationship or organization; this is evidenced by the way communication was done by the Independent electoral and boundaries commission. Using the illustration of a couple can have very good internal communication but at the same time be handicapped on matters external communication. For instance the language and information a spouse uses and divulge respectively  to communicate is a double edged sword that can be used against them to disunite them.

Similarly across organizations communication be it through formal or informal channels must be used to build each individual, organizational brand, departments and many more all geared towards fostering unity and teamwork.

At the end of the calendar year when going for the annual corporate teambuilding event; it will serve as a tool for reinforcing an already existing teamwork culture and not an isolated event divorced from everyday organizational practice.