The term team building has become somewhat of a catch all Google word for myriad games, experiences and events. This has regrettably obscured the significance and potential benefits that can arise from being aware of team building as a genuine process for many clients.
Carefully tailored solutions that match the needs and culture of the team are a world apart from just picking a series of unlinked experiences at short notice to plug holes in an event or off-site.
Activities and experiences, no matter how fun and funky, are not necessarily complimentary to the genuine team building process. In fact if careful thought is not applied to picking the right activity for the right team, it can actually do some harm to the relationship dynamics that drive the team.
When a busy executive PA types “team building” into the Google search bar a host of options come up. They often range from specialized providers and event companies working hard to tune their SEO for being found, to lawn bowls, sailing, zumba, theme parks, tablet based treasure hunts and laser tag.
Reality TV knock-offs also abound, and can be suitable if pure fun is the aim, but even then, the genre is becoming a little tired and overused of late. The advent of reality TV brought with it a wave of knock off event formats.
The level of discrimination and insight applied to actually finding a decent provider is usually lower at the event driven end of the market. Clients may be hastily seeking a simple 1 – 3 hour solution to slot into a gap in a conference agenda, paying little or no heed to the potential for any lasting value.
Whilst there may be occasions when justification doesn’t matter, it more often represents a lost opportunity to leverage far greater value from the experience whilst still keeping it fun and appropriate for a meeting or off-site.
At the end of the day, expenditure of any form for a business is best undertaken with real justification in mind. This can be especially the case for clients in sectors where justification is demanded such as banking and government.
When team building is treated as a process as opposed to simply an event, then clever clients can have their “cake and eat it too” as the old saying goes. There are intelligent and creative options that will suit the fun criteria of the event based brief, whilst also delivering lasting value.
The genuine team building process occurs with appropriate awareness of models and phases such as Tuckman’s “Form – Storm – Norm – Perform” and Belbin’s distinctive nine Team Role behaviours as a real team develops.
Ideally activities are selected to assist the relationship dynamics of the team based on the stage of development they are in, and the prevailing culture and behavioural biases present within that team. This need not even be apparent to the team on delivery day. It just ensures that the wrong activity has not been foisted upon them without any professional consideration being given to who they are and how they naturally operate.
Often when the client’s HR and / or L&D people are consulted it helps match the right solution to the team or group.
Even the fun solutions can be designed and delivered with the actual dynamics and needs of each team in mind to ensure that the time and money committed contributes to the positive development of teams and individuals.
When clients have the real process of team building in mind, as opposed to merely seeing it as just another time filling event to slot into an agenda, they can achieve lasting value for their teams, and avoid the “this is just another junket” syndrome.