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Why Team Building Is a Leading Indicator – Microsoft Layoffs

This week Microsoft announced 700 in layoffs.  Our hearts go out to those in the layoffs.  It’s not just new people who get laid off, but now it extends to veterans.  This is usually a traumatic process at best.

As a past 10 year Microsoft veteran and a 15 year Microsoft vendor, I’ve learned that team building is a leading indicator not only at Microsoft, but many other companies. This was a surprise to me, but if you think about it, I think you’ll find them to be true AND they can be a tremendous asset to you in the future to better predict what’s coming next.  Let me share my insights with you:

“#1 No one buys team building when they’re firing.”

When you know you’re going to eject team members, then why invest in them?  I know this sounds simple but we have economic data that supports this in every major economic cycle since we started in 1997.  It was completely clear after 2001 as almost no company was buying team building and 2008 also had clear impact.  More importantly, my sales team were on the phones with major corporate buyers and hearing about on the ground reports of hiring freezes and widespread layoffs.  This led me to my second insight:

“#2 After layoffs and firings, managers hire team building to re-build their team”

How did we know we were recovering from the effects of 9/11? Our phone started to ring. We heard story after story of battered teams and massive layoffs. Managers were desperate for a way to rebuild morale, trust and performance for their employees that were still here.  They called team building. We created events that celebrated success, acknowledged teammates for their work and sometimes were just plain fun.

So if you want to know when we’re in a downtown or if you want an early indicator of when a recovery is starting, take note of this trend in your company or just give me a call and ask me how we’re doing.

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