12 Steps To Build An Effective And Cohesive Team

Successful team is a team that has members which enjoy working together with their colleagues. They work cooperatively with each other to achieve common goals. Cohesive team is also a team which manages to resolve conflicts which occurs among team members or their current work. This type of team is productive not because of the most popular, aggressive and verbal person dominating the team. They cooperate well with each other because they are assigned to each tasks, depending on their skills and interests. To accomplish this, managers are given the important task of leading the team.

These are 12 ways to build a great and productive team:

 1.          Identify common goals and purposes

 2.          Identify everyone’s role in a team

Everyone needs to have their own roles in a team. They need to know their own strength and skills. Everything must be done in specific terms.

 3.          Assign team members to follow up with other people who are involved in the progress

The people involved in the operation need to be kept in the loop. At least one team member need to inform the clients, higher ups or other teams if there are some changes that need to be made. Even if it was only small changes, it could affect others’ work if they are not in sync.

 4.          Prepare for conflicts

It is unavoidable for conflicts to happen in a team. You need to complete the task in a tight schedule. Disagreements between team members are normal. Some opinions state that conflicts can actually produce constructive ideas. Instead of demanding the team to stop it, a leader should let the problems arise so that team members recognize the problems and solve it by discussing it among themselves.

 5.          Conflict resolution

Find suitable ways to resolve conflicts. There are some ways to resolve conflicts successfully such as:

  • Let team member involved in the conflict to explain the problem as he or she sees it.
  • Lay down some rules so that people can have their say without interruption, or without feeling intimidated.
  • Encourage team member to solve problems themselves

6.          Leadership role

As the team leader, you need to encourage your member at the same time lead the team towards victory. You need to urge each member to be responsible on meeting their goals.

 7.          Team interaction in meetings

Each team member need to interact among themselves in order to help each other. They do not have to ask the team leader to become the middle person. Collaboration among members is encouraged to build up their creativity.

 8.          Allow team members to put their own thoughts into the assigned task

Encourage team members to have some input into their work. Do so by giving them flexibility on how they meet their work goals.

9.          Make room for minority views

These minority views are often ignored but they can improve the work done by the team. Those who can point out the flaws and voice out their opinions no matter how small it is should be heard by others without discrimination.

10.       Reward the team as a whole

Celebrate even the smallest success to keep the team motivated. It can be a celebration at a local pizza joint, a bonus, or even a congratulatory letter from a senior executive.

11.       Appraise each member individually

Humans are naïve creature. They need something to make them feel assured, and your praise will make their work feel valuable. Give each member positive feedback about their strength and role.

12.       Communicate team success

Be vocal about your success to your company. Let them know what your team had done. Acknowledge your team members and other persons who are involved indirectly in the project.

A group work is supposed to be a job where the team treats their work not as individual work but as a group contribution towards success.


Importance Of Team Building In The Workplace

Importance Of Team Building In The Workplace

Why is it team building is so important in workplace? You need a comfortable and enjoyable place to work, so it built up your motivation to keep coming to work every day. Employees are advised to work smarter in order to deliver the best results. Although individual work contributes to a team, it does not decide the success of a project. Team building in the workplace is important for several reasons.

Team building helps employees to have better communication among themselves and between them with the higher ups. Mutual trust and understanding among colleagues will be reflected in the quality of their work. Team building is a way to build that trust and motivation, for a better work output.

Let us have a sneak peak on some slogans that are suitable for team work. These are just word play but they mean so much in team work. Working in a team does not allow you to have individualism; you need to work in a team to achieve the desired result.

  • “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM”

  • “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan

  • “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others” – Norman Hidle

  • No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. – H.E. Luccock

  • Everyone is needed, but no one is necessary. – Bruce Coslet

  • Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean. – Ryunosuke Satoro


Each member contributes to a team, no matter how small. However, by combining strength and working together, they can achieve great things.


How To Be A Great Teamplayer?

Many hands make work lighter. In Hindi, they said “Two is better than one, four is better than two”.

Books had listed out many benefits of teamwork. Even though teamwork sounds like it was easy, most people still need training to build up their teamwork among colleagues. Differences in people’s personality make teamwork a bit difficult for them. While some people have natural gift towards team work, others need some helping hand to assist them to be more comfortable in working with other people.

Firstly, to encourage people towards team work, their mindset needs to be changed. To make people inclined towards team work, they need to seek advice from different sources such as seniors, read books and undergo team building programs.

Team work is hard to achieve as people like to work alone. Most had state that their best working quality is that they are not dependent on other people to complete their task. However, those in management might disagree with this as their work condition requires them to work among team members

There are several tips to help people to change their mindset towards team work.

  • Create an enjoyable team work and enjoy working with team members

Have fun while working with your team member. Your conversation does not need to be about work all the time. You can shoot the breeze with them, by talking about the newest movies in theater, funny stories you read online, or just idle chit-chat. This way, you can break the barrier and build mutual trust. At the same time, you can break the tense atmosphere of working in a team.

  •  Support your team member

There is a saying which states that ‘A good leader is a good follower too’. Most people have an urge to be a leader, but not everyone can be a good leader. You need to help your team member by guiding them with their individual task. Be polite to team members so they will feel comfortable while working with you, and this does not apply to team leader only.

  • Honesty in expressing ideas

Ideas are important to keep the team going. You can express your ideas spontaneously then the team can discuss on the pros and cons of your idea. Also, be flexible and prepare to change your perceptions in case of opposing thoughts made by the team.

  • Have a celebration upon success

It does not matter whether it is just a small party or outing to celebrate your success. It makes team member feel appreciated for their work. It is also a way to thank each member for their great work towards the team’s accomplishment. Besides, there will be a huge possibility that you will work with them again in the future, so this is a chance to build your friendship outside work so it will help in making work place more fun and enjoyable.


7 Tips for Team Building Activities

In a team building event, besides all the preparation for the event, there are also many other things to consider when preparing for a team building activity for your company or for your customer if you are the organizer.


1) When you have been selected to organise a team building event for a company, it is best to have a chat with the company management to ask them what they intend to achieve from the event.

When you involve the company employees before the start of the event, they will be very motivated.


2) Find out what the companies’ employee enjoy doing and design your activities towards building and exposing that potential within the employees.


3) Games may be fun for some and patronising for others, depending of course on how quick they are in following the rules of the games or their reflexes in catching a dropping ball. Most people want activities that will help them to learn and develop in areas that interests them, way outside work desk.


4) Propose some suggestions that can be put together as a collection of experiences and impress your current customer of how the past event was when people participated during your past events with other companies.


5) Do the employees have special skills?

If yes, then built your activities around those special skills.


6) Mix your activities using workshop approach

Workshop is where we combine the training, development, communication, team-building, motivation and planning. When the employees or staff participate in it, it increases their send of ownership and empowerment, and facilitates the development of organisations and individuals. Allocate an hour or 2 and organise a workshop and allow each employee to come up to stage to give a talk of their interests. Make them feel like a STAR for the day.


7) Ever thought of creating team building activities that involve the employees family members too instead of just staff only event?

By doing the former, you will encourage your employees and their families to appreciate your company more. A happy employee, means a higher productivity, and hence more sales or profits for the company.


In conclusion, the above 7 tips are worth considering when you are about to embark on a team building event for your customer or your company colleagues.


Meanwhile, if you are planning to organise a team building activity over here in Sarawak or Sabah, check out our team building packages here: Team Building Packages in Sabah and Sarawak

For more information, do email us at: Ask[a]SarawakBorneoTour.com


Best time to visit Kuching, based on weather condition, festivals and fruit season

What is your ideal weather for a vacation? Most people would answer sunny, while others prefer cloudy or windy or even rainy. Kuching is an ideal place for you to have your holiday as it has the perfect weather conditions. However, based on the month you are visiting, the weather might not be on your side.

Serikin, bustling with activities on weekend

Serikin, bustling with activities on weekend

Nice warm weather to tour Kuching

Nice warm weather to tour Kuching

The weather in Kuching is usually sunny, so tourists are advised to wear thin clothing. During this weather, you can go to various tourists’ attractions. You can opt for a ride in the sampan from Kuching Waterfront to the opposite side of Sarawak River, or enjoy the river cruise along the river. You can also go to the beach, such as Santubong Beach, or the nearer Pasir Pandak and Pasir Panjang beach without having to worry about the waves. Kuching is usually rather hot between the months of April to July mostly.

Some people would like to avoid peak season, as hotels are fully booked and the city is crowded with tourists and local people. The peak season in Kuching is usually during school holidays, which are in June and mid-November to December. The other times beside that are usually okay for a visit.

Sunny in Kuching, perfect weather for a stroll

Sunny in Kuching, perfect weather for a stroll

Festivals in Kuching are another perfect time for visiting the city. On the 1st June is the Gawai Festival. You can visit the open house at Sarawak Cultural Village on the 1st and 2nd of June at Iban Longhouse, Bidayuh Longhouse and Orang Ulu Longhouse where food and drinks are served. Furthermore, the annual Rainforest World Music Festival 2014 is held on 20th – 22nd June in Sarawak Cultural Village where you can see international performances from all over the world. On Hari Raya Aidilfitri, they also held an open house at the Malay House.

Kuching is also well-known for its Regatta. This event is usually held in conjunction with Malaysia Day, which is on 16th September. Local vendors can be seen along Kuching Waterfront, and the roads are usually closed to avoid traffic. This event is also one of tourists’ attractions, as they can mingle with local people and enjoy watching the exciting boat race from the river bank.

Regatta, an annual event held at Kuching Waterfront

Regatta, an annual event held at Kuching Waterfront

Another perfect reason to visit Kuching is fruit season. Sarawak is home to rare fruits such as terap, dabai, uchung and asam payak. The seasonal fruits such as durian and rambutan can be found around November to February. You can buy these fruits at Kubah Ria, and there are lots of local vendor selling fruits at the less crowded road side.

Rare fruits that can be found in Kuching

Rare fruits that can be found in Kuching

In a nutshell, for those who want to enjoy Kuching fully, avoid rainy season during year end and relish the sunny weather from February to October. Festivals can also be a good reason to visit this beautiful city. Moreover, it does not matter when you want to visit; it is the sight to see that really counts.


Purpose Driven Team Building

Why are the employees reluctant to go for trips? Many would give an excuse as mundane as no one to look after their pet cat or need to be around their children during the holidays.

For them, going on team building trips is a complete waste of time as it is tearing them away from their work desk would mean that they would come back later to office with a mountain high of paperwork. Now, this is from the view point of the employees but from the viewpoint of the employer, their end result is to reach specific goals for their team members. For example, when one MNC decided to get their sales team to climb Mt Kinabalu, their sales team members were apprehensive as they had never climbed Mt Kinabalu before and they have only 2 months to prepare. This activity was chosen by the management so that the sales team members would develop rapport and trust amount the group members. They were broken up into a group of 4 members and they had to work together and push each other to reach the peak. The winning group would be the one to reach the peak first. It was a great challenge, as they not only had to fight within themselves to not give up but reach the peak but also not to disappoint their group members as they wouldn’t want to be the reason that their group member lost to the other competing groups.

This activity is useful for building effective working relationships because people are doing something unfamiliar, leading them to depend on each other to reach the peak.

Creatively designed programme proved that company retreats do achieve something useful rather than nothing. The programme must beside having fun along the way also apply something back to their work place.

Then they will understand how the skills developed at team building can become a workplace habits, a productive one, and reaching the specific goals of the company.

An engaged vs. disengaged employee

All companies want to have an engaged employee to that of an disengaged employee. For example, an engaged employee would want to see the company succeed, he is fully involved in and enthusiastic about his work in the company. He is someone who is exceeding the call of duty in his work. In short, an engaged employee loves his job and his company.

A disengaged employee on the other hand showed a “Don’t care” attitude, would often drop equipment, waste materials, and often not accepting any responsibility for their work, being late for work, do as they were told and knocked off at the end of the day at the exact time every day, never a minute over the working time.

Morale Booster

To start things off, you can start off  with boosting staff’s morale.

Take the staff away from office setting and get the team members to compete against each other. Employee’s morale improved just by getting out and playing on the field together. They will return to office, feeling refreshed and a new mind set about their work tasks.

Improving Communications

Initially the team members felt that team building was a waste of time but when the time gets nearer, everyone was beginning to become curious of what is going to unfold for the rest of the day.

We usually start off with a “Get to Know You” icebreaker. Then we played several games to loosen up everyone. These games require a balance, trust and teamwork and especially communication. These games would generate a lot of ideas, as lightbuld within oneself begin to light up one by one, and the ideas generated here could be  applied to their work.

There was a renewed sense of camaraderie, and how each team member react to certain situations. We paired people from different department, ie. not familiar with each other before the event start. It would open up communication among the employees from different department.

Above are just a few points to embark on a Purpose Driven Team Building for the company employees. We will continue to share our ideas again in the next few articles.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to organise a team building activity over here in Sarawak or Sabah, check out our team building packages here: Team Building Packages in Sabah and Sarawak

For more information, do email us at: Ask[a]SarawakBorneoTour.com


Benefits of Team Building

Why do companies do team building? What are the benefits of team building? Let’s explore them and understand further this culture of team building.

Firstly, it improves the group skills in communication and bonding. Take up a challenge game which is light hearted and yet require co-operation, mental stamina and artistic skills. The success of the challenge game depends of the teams building an effective team.

A team building’s main goal is to improve productivity and motivate the team members or employees. Once they are outside their office comfort, they would now need to break down their political and personal barrier, eliminate distractions and have fun of course along the way.

This would inevitably improves the morale and leadership skills, define the company’s objectives and goals.

It would also improve the leadership skills not to mention the morale of the employees.

Then the organizational productivity would improve and people would become problem solver. On a team building day, the participants would learn how to be more effective, efficient, and achieve results.

Various team building activities include team tasks, positive challenge, corporate social challenge, rocket scientists and etc. In today’s world and today’s environment, you would notice that people bond mostly with those sitting next to them, ie. their neighbours. This will lead to common rift between accountant and salespersons or customer services and middle management. It is important that all the workers in different department sit together to have a balance of skills and teamwork to improve their ability to collaborate and work together.

In the team building event, staff will feel important if the company explains to them what their joint goal is. So, in a game, when specific role is assigned to them, they will feel very important to the company in carrying out the role. When they feel important, they will make quick decision as other team’s lifeline depends on this member’s decision. So, they will learn responsibility in a non-work environment.

Next, communication is very important to the success of an organization. Team members must be able to communicate effectively with their team leader, here being their bosses at work. When there is no barrier incommunicating with their bosses or leaders, there should be no hindrance in achieving the company’s goal, it being one of the factors to be considered.

A team building day is good because it brings all employees together in a friendly competitive environment, it forges new ties and dissolves any barriers that may exists before this in the office as the employees have the chance to interact with each other outside office and perhaps solve any misunderstanding that may exists and bring the company to the next level.

A company achieves nothing without its employees. A company without its employees, is like the saying, “No Man is an Island”, ie. One cannot survive without the other.

So, for those companies out there that have never ever considered organising a team building trip, do try to organise one event and see how your workers productivity will improve after the event. This investment in your manpower to make them better workers or employees should not be shunned or overlooked as the company will reap the rewards at the end of the day. It is indeed money well spent, and you will send your shareholders beaming from ear to ear at year end.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to organise a team building activity over here in Sarawak or Sabah, check out our team building packages here: Team Building Packages in Sabah and Sarawak

For more information, do email us at: Ask[a]SarawakBorneoTour.com


Sarawak Laksa in 5 minutes

 Sarawak Laksa in 5 minutes

Sarawak laksa is Sarawak’s most popular dish. It is not exactly curry though if you come from Singapore, you would say that it tastes like Curry laksa.

Recently, we decided to check out the latest Instant Sarawak White Laksa by Lee Fah brand, which is available in packets of 5 per packing. It comes with its seasoning and santan milk which we suspect was the reason why it was called “Sarawak White Laksa”. The older packing in brown colour did not have the extra sachet of coconut milk.

Difference between the old and new Instant Sarawak Laksa

Difference between the old and new Instant Sarawak Laksa

If you cook it without adding additional condiments or ingredients, it will definitely take only 5 minutes to prepare. We decided however, that we would like to add in more ingredients to the Sarawak Laksa dish.

We bought fresh prawns, parsley, chicken meat, battered eggs and a lime to add that soury taste to the soup.

The ingredients of Instant Sarawak White Laksa

The ingredients of Instant Sarawak White Laksa

The older packaging of Lee Fah's Sarawak Laksa

The older packaging of Lee Fah’s Sarawak Laksa

Firstly, we boil the prawns in 1 ½  cup of water and we added in a pinch of salt to the water. After about 5-10 minutes, we take out the prawns and then boil the chicken meat in that same pot. Then we take it out, and boil bean sprouts in it. After 2 minutes, we take out the bean sprouts, and then we added in about half cup of water, and pour in the laksa paste, chilli powder and also the sachet of coconut milk. Once the water started boiling, we dump the noodles into the pot. We let it boil until it is springy and then we remove the noodles from the pot .

While the pot is boiling the noodles, we battered 2 eggs and fried them. We also added in salt and pepper.  We then let it cool down a little before rolling it up and then slice it into thin pieces.

The mouth-watering Sarawak White Laksa

The mouth-watering Sarawak White Laksa

Then we take a round bowl, and pour in the soup. The noodles are then poured in, after which we added in the prawns, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, parsley and a small lime, and it is ready to be served.

Here is our verdict of the Instant packet of Sarawak White Laksa noodles. In terms of taste, if you cook it just with the seasoning, the taste is not as strong.

You musn’t add in too much water as the small sachet of seasoning will not be enough to give you that strong Laksa favour. Recommended about 1.5 cups of water from beginning when you boil the prawns.

Sarawak White Laksa with condiments added

Sarawak White Laksa with condiments added

Sarawak Laksa has always been beehoon or vermicelli, and not noodles. The manufacturer should make a Sarawak Laksa Bee hoon instead of noodles.  That is the original recipe.

If you like heavy taste, then you may add in some light soya sauce, salt and pepper to give you that flavour synonymous with all Sarawak Laksa.

Do not forget to cut half a lime and squeeze the juice into the soup to give you that spicy and yet soury taste, and that my friend is the real taste of Sarawak Laksa.

Serving suggestion for Sarawak White Laksa

Serving suggestion for Sarawak White Laksa

If you are looking for a quick fix, then cook the instant Sarawak White Laksa on its own, and if you are not in a rush, try adding in more ingredients for that absolutely delicious Sarawak Laksa. Oh and by the way, if you have some belacan paste, try eating your Sarawak Laksa with the belacan paste, and that my friend is spicy enough for you to want another bowl!


Sabah Honeymoon Adventure is the right holiday for you

Are you going on your honeymoon soon? How about injecting some adventure into your honeymoon tour in Sabah?

Go trekking along Mt Kinabalu up to Layang Layang Point, and then enjoy a Honeymoon retreat up at Kundasang, outside Kinabalu Park.


Here is our proposed itinerary. We pick both of you up at airport and then we proceed straight to Nabalu Market. It is a over 2 hours journey all the way uphill, where we will pass beautiful nature scenery along the way. When you see a Huge Pineapple by the roadside, that is Nabalu Market. We will stop here for photo taking and coffee break, and perhaps you want to buy some souvenirs for your family members at home.


Wind chimes made of bamboo at Nabalu Market

Wind chimes made of bamboo at Nabalu Market

Sumpiton, one of the souvenir at Nabalu Market

Sumpiton, one of the souvenir at Nabalu Market


Next, we proceed on to Kinabalu Park, and you will be brought on a tour of Kinabalu Park. There is a museum there, botanical garden and how long you spend there will depend on your allowable time as we still need to visit Poring Hot Spring and see the spectacular view of tropical rainforest from 100-200ft above the forest floor lead by our guide. The trail is quite steep and the walk takes 30-40 minutes altogether.


Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park


Next, you may want to soak in man made hot spring, which is an invigorating mineral bath in the outdoor tubs or just explore and walk around the area. There is also a nice café located inside Poring Hot Spring for you to just enjoy the environment after your long drive to up here. Then we return to Cottage Hotel to check into a romantic setup room. The weather up here is always cool. There is no air condition in the room as temperature is low and natural air is the order of the day. We will have steamboat dinner to warm up our stomach, and overnight in our honeymoon room. We will be very tired after the long journey and will sleep early to prepare ourselves for the next day trekking.


Take a dip at Poring Hot Spring

Take a dip at Poring Hot Spring


On the second day, we will be woken up by the chirping of the birds. We will have a hearty breakfasts, and then our guide will bring us to Kinabalu Park.

After breakfasts, at 0830am, we will leave for Kinabalu Park HQ, meet your Mountain Guide, collect Packed Lunch and proceed to Timpohon Gate to start your climb. A normal healthy person will take approximately 4 hrs to reach Layang Layang Hut.

By 0930am, we will arrive Timpohon Gate, start the trek up to Layang Layang Hut, en-route you will be able to witness the changes in vegetation from Lower Montane Forest to Upper Montane Forest.


Mount Kinabalu as seen from Cottage Hotel

Mount Kinabalu as seen from Cottage Hotel


Then at 1230hrs, we will have lunch at one of the huts along the Kinabalu Summit Trail. By 1330pm, we will arrive at Layang Layang Hut. Free at leisure to rest, relax and take photos of the beautiful scenery. By 1430pm, depart Layang Layang Hut for Timpohon Gate and by 5pm, we will arrive at Timpohon Gate, proceed to the Park HQ to collect your Certificate and depart back to our hotel to collect our luggage and then return to Kota Kinabalu city. We should arrive about 7pm in Kota Kinabalu and check in Sabah Oriental Hotel and overnight. You would be dead tired by then, and a good night rest would be a welcome respite from the day trekking. The total day trekking is 8 km for this day.



Spacious and comfortable room at Sabah Oriental Hotel

Spacious and comfortable room at Sabah Oriental Hotel


On Day 3, it being your last day in Kota Kinabalu, just take it easy, and get your breakfasts, then we depart for airport for your flight home. Do note that there are 2 airports in Kota Kinabalu. One terminal serves AirAsia or budget airline only, while the others serve Malaysia airlines and other international airlines. If you are taking Malaysia Arlines departing from Terminal 1, there is a newly opened O’Brien Sandwiches Café. If you are hungry , worth to have a bite before going onboard. Otherwise, the all time favourite like Mc Donald and Kentucky Fried Chicken are also available for you to have a meal. If not, then there is always the Marry Brown Fried Chicken inside the departure hall.

Have an enjoyable trip!


How to ensure positive outcome from teambuilding flows back to office place

Companies organise team building to develop a team’s effectiveness and also efficiency to achieve a common goal. When individuals feel appreciated, their focus will not be to do the minimum requirement output, but to do their best all the time.

1) Setting many goals
The reason for a team building is to be fun to join, and so break the ice for a conference. It is also to address the issues that are plaguing the office place and work mates. Of course, through this team building, the company would be able to project and drive the employees in the direction that it is heading, and get the employee to be in unison with the company direction. When you enjoy and have fun during such activities, outside the office, you would be more acceptable to what the company is doing and heading.

A happy work force is a productive company. As such, if there are issues that the employees are facing either among themselves or with management, this is the best time to get it out and solve it. Once these obstacles are cleared, then the company can more easily project and drive the company’s vision and direction to be more achievable.

Bigger companies have many departments, that runs from tens to hundreds or thousands of staff. Sometimes, because they are not in the same department, they hardly know or talk to each other. This is a good time for different departments to know their colleagues better. When you know and have talked to each other personally on a team building, you would be able to work better especially on work that requires inter department communications.

2) Management must participate
Managers and top management must not merely be spectators but be active participators to get to know the staff better and the experience of interacting with the staff will enable the managers to have deeper understanding of the staff under him and the memories could be transferred better to workplace.

3) Facilitated discussion
It would be good to have a facilitated teambuilding to ensure that the identified outcome that the company wishes to achieve is relayed to the team. A good Teambuilding facilitator will be able to conduct a facilitated discussion throughout the event, touching on your outcomes. The teambuilding facilitator can easily do this through providing discussion sheets that are filled out at the end of the programme.

4) Discussion sheet at end of the session.
At the end of the teambuilding sessions, the staff can write down how they feel about the whole teambuilding sessions and how they will bring what they learned in this teambuilding sessions back to the office to increase company’s productivity and achieve the company’s vision and mission.


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