The Reality TV Parody, is it a blessing or a curse for Team Building professionals?
Team building event parodies of the reality TV genre such as Amazing Races and Survivor style games are now ubiquitous. In fact you can safely say that discerning clients are actually becoming a little tired of them. Have they now become simply just the lowest common denominator for team building?
The commercial reality is that most team building providers are now compelled to include some options themed along these lines as there are occasions when a pure giggle is all that’s required, and there is market demand (often driven by the “fad factor” or cost sensitivity), but they are far from professionally satisfying for the experienced providers at the high end of the market.
Some providers have actually based their entire operation on these reality TV parodies. Yes, the reality show copy can be fun, and they can be run well by a good provider, but so too can simple beach Olympics, sack races, skirmish and go karting.
These styles of team event might be a laugh but can scarcely be called cutting edge, meaningful or capable of adding lasting value to a corporate meeting or to an organisation and its people. Confusion between fad driven entertainment and quality high end team building is regrettably a common thing these days as low cost reality TV copies become an easy short cut perhaps?
Some would argue that to simply get onto a bandwagon and seek to copy the structure and premise of a reality TV Show is no substitute for even the most basic levels of creativity and innovation that should go into achieving quality programme design. Just a simple and cheap alternative perhaps to higher quality and more sophisticated approaches that dovetail into real business issues and themes but will take a little longer to understand on the part of a decision-maker?
Perhaps the reality TV rip offs are just “dumbing down” the team building industry too much now?
Virtually anyone can seek superficial inspiration from the latest reality TV fad and then copy its format? It doesn’t take long then for the market to become saturated with these sorts of ideas and consequently sick of them just as quickly.
The quality of approaches included into the superficial outer themes may not match expectations. It could be said that the proliferation of these reality TV copies does little if anything for the ongoing image and credibility of high end team and management development. In fact it actively damages the industry as first time exposure to the field for some clients can be tarnished by the low cost and low end TV copy solutions.
Many high end providers are actually cheerfully awaiting the death of the reality TV genre so they can scrap the low end and common approaches from the portfolio and compete purely on quality, genuine creativity and innovation once again.
Perhaps there is a place for the reality TV parody, but it is important to keep it in its proper perspective when compared with approaches that offer the same hit of fun but with far greater originality, creativity and longer term impact upon a target group.
If real outcomes and meaningful engagement are being sought then there is a strong chance that just chasing the latest reality TV parody fad will miss the mark and leave intelligent and discerning participants temporarily energised and very little else.