‘If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.’
– Albert Einstein
What is team building and why is it important?
Team – a number of persons associated together in work or activity
Teamwork – a group of persons working effectively together to achieve success
Team Building – exercises, activities, tasks or events for the purpose of improving a team’s ability to successfully achieve team work.
The quality of the work you do will never exceed the quality of the team behind it, so if you want to achieve success as a group, you need to cooperate, communicate and collaborate together effectively to get the best outcome.
T.EA.M Together Everyone Achieves More
There are many discussions on the effectiveness of ‘team building’ exercises with very little conclusive evidence available, but one thing most people can agree on is that you must focus on desired results.
What is the goal of team building exercises?
Team building efforts generally fall within 3 purpose areas;
1. Vision, Mission & Goals – establish, affirm or developing a shared sense and understanding of purpose is essential to getting buy in from team members and setting goals for forward movement.
- What is our purpose as a team?
- What is the vision for team success?
- What are our goals?
- What are we trying to achieve?
- Why is it important?
2. Operational – as a team how are we going to achieve our vision?
- What are our roles and responsibilities?
- What are the boundaries, expectations and how do we manage accountability?
- What things are we responsible for delivering?
- What is the team culture that we value & want?
- Do we have the necessary individual or group skills to work together? e.g problem solving, conflict resolution, effective communicatione)
- How can we improve capabilities to co-operate and collaborate more?
- How can we improve engagement?
- How can we improve participation?
- How can we improve morale and motivation?
3. Interpersonal relationships – camaraderie and good relationships with fellow group members is essential.
- How can we improve the relationships between leadership and group members?
- How can we improve the relationships between group members?
- How can we improve the relationships with external contacts?
- How can we improve trust among the group members?
What’re the best team building activities?
This completely depends on the current state of your team and your goals. Before you get started you should;
- Identify & prioritize potential problem or weak areas
- Focus on 1 or 2 desired outcomes and set clear objectives
- Identify actions, resources or tools that will help you achieve your objectives
- Evaluate value; results vs cost ($ and time)
Team Building Activities
Corporate team building challenges – competitive games (paint ball, sumo wrestling, treasure hunts), create or build activities (cooking, puzzles, build a raft), fun events & activities (seasonal events, family fun day, sailing, obstacle course), ice-breakers and bonding activities.
Fun, corporate team building activities are a great way to get out of the office, de-pressurize, have some fun and re-energize.
Primary Value: Operational – improve morale & motivation
Fitness or sports activities – promoting regular or ongoing fitness activities communicates an organization’s commitment to employee health, while fostering team spirit.
Primary Value: Operational – improve morale, leadership cooperation and communication skills, re-energize / Interpersonal – strengthen personal relationships, build trust and respect.
Casual field trips – leaving the confines of the office to visit a museum, or gallery gets employees out of their typical work environment and provides an opportunity for new learning and experiences. Industry specific field trips are particularly effective in developing interest and improving area knowledge.
Primary Value: Vision, Mission & Goals – build shared understanding / Operational – improve morale & motivation, re-energize
Professional development activities – Training workshops or conferences are a great way to get expert knowledge which can improve capability and also be shared back with the rest of the group. Focused activities can be very effective in achieving your objectives.
Primary Value: Vision, Mission & Goals, Operational & Interpersonal
Seasonal celebrations or fun events – Christmas parties, family days or a company Easter hunt are a great opportunity for everyone to relax and enjoy a casual, social experience together.
Primary Value: Operational – improve morale, motivation & re-energize
Volunteering – coordinating employee volunteer activities is a feel-good activity that encourages co-workers to give back to the community.
Coming together for the benefit of others takes the pressure off individual needs/ wants/expectations and allows people to cooperate for a greater good.
Primary Value: Operational – improve morale, leadership skills, cooperation & communication skills and re-energize.
How often should we do team building?
Team building is an ongoing process. You should be investing in improving the dynamics, capabilities and understanding of your team ongoing.
Team building can be integrated into daily tasks like meeting openers, presentations, conferences and work lunches.
Team building should be considered when you’re creating formal and informal spaces at your work place, which are great opportunities for casual socializing and opening up lines for communication.
How much does team building cost?
The cost is dependent on the type of activity, the location, the duration, additional materials and the number of participants.
Outsourcing team building activities can start around $25 – $50 per person for half day.
You should also factor in the cost of time spent away from normal work. A half day team building exercise for 10 people is 40hrs of productive time.
Almost a third of U.S. office workers dislike team-building activities, so you could have resistance on your hands before you even begin.
‘Team building’ activities can do more harm than good. Trust falls, team ‘bonding’ and ice breakers that are awkward, forced and un-suited can be counterproductive if not executed properly—disrupting trust, heightening tensions, and allowing cynicism to grow in the workplace.
Efforts WILL BE a waste of time and resources if not focused and well aligned to objectives.
Avoid putting employees in embarrassing or uncomfortable situations and recognize that people have different preferences. Respect employee boundaries regarding physical contact and the disclosure of personal information.
Team Building Ideas
These sites together have over 100 great team building ideas;
References & Further Resources
Tips For Team Building – https://www.thebalance.com/tips-for-team-building-1918512
Team Building Used By Facebook & Uber – http://thegogame.com/team-building-games/
First hand experience – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-tips-building-your-awesome-team-2017-hari-t-n/