How does “great” team building work?
For even a fun activity to work well and justify your spend, it does need to be “great” and not just “good”.
If a professional operator with plenty of experience has designed the right activity it can work well because….
We are all equal here
People are outside of the usual comfort zone of their own functional roles and responsibilities with an equal knowledge and experience in these new and unfamiliar team building tasks. This creates a great sense of equality.
We develop relationships quicker
The enhanced need for communication, networking and contribution that comes from sharing an unusual team building experience accelerates the process of “getting to know you” a great deal.
We must work together to get this done
In responding to a new team building challenge and experience the group projects their problem-solving skills, project management ability, and leadership style into the experience. If the activity has been well designed, it will genuinely require a collaborative team effort that draws meaningful input from a diversity of role types.
We see the impact of our teaming skills, but quicker than real world
Great team building tasks require a team to move through a full spectrum from creative conceptions of how to address a challenge, through the process of generating courses of action, planning and ultimately execution 9usually with change along the way). This enables people to see and gain insight into individual and collective strengths and weaknesses just as they likely manifest in real world projects, but in less time and far easier to see and learn from.
Potential chaos and mistakes, but in a safe place
Activities that are well structured offer teams potential for success, but also degrees of chaos and failure in a safe environment (physically and psychologically). This enables individuals and the collective team to gain insights from their approaches and reactions to hopefully refine real world practices, and also see people shine who may otherwise not be seen.
Common experience and company mythology
The experience can create a unique shared opportunity to create new relationships and have some fun together, but also plenty of “legend stories” and tales that will long survive after the event and serve as vital links back to the conference or event itself.
Encourage innovation and Risk Taking
A great concept allows participants to individually and collectively take new risks, try new ideas and often take on new roles (and probably make some awesome mistakes) but in an environment that poses no real risk or cost to the business.
Draw out and see in action a diversity of strengths
Well designed and original activities have the ability to allow people to play to their strengths in a way that is not always possible within the constraints of their formal and functional roles at work. In this way, providing the right atmosphere of fun and support has been created, people can often see themselves and others in a refreshing new light and better appreciate their own and other strengths and contributions to the team.
Team building should also be unashamedly fun, because without fun people simply don’t work, learn or achieve well together in a sustainable way.