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Happy teams can build themselves


We hear a lot, and quite rightly, about the narrow employment policies of many practices. You can either take the bold 'ostrich' approach - like Nicholas Hytner, who, when recently accused on his new appointment to the National Theatre of being another white, middle-aged, middle-class man, smoothly replied: 'Yes, I am a member of several minorities, '- or you can do something about it.

But once you have created your diverse practice, how do you deal with social life and team bonding? There may be lots more creativity and new ideas, but how do you make sure all those different people can work well together? That bottle of wine cracked open on a Friday afternoon will not go down well with the Muslim (or the recovering alcoholic).

An afternoon's go-karting may rule out older or disabled members of the team. A weekend away, to get to know each other better, could cause problems for those with childcare responsibilities or elderly parents. A Friday-night barbecue won't go down a storm with the orthodox Jew.

So do you limit yourself to a bland event, a tea-tasting on a Wednesday lunchtime? You could instead consider a really radical approach. Run your practice as efficiently as you can, so that overtime is eliminated and occasionally you can send the whole team home early. That would be novel, and you will probably find everybody is so happy that you will not have to worry about team-building at all.

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