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The Evolution of Team Building Activities in Australia


Team building activities have evolved significantly over the years in the global and Australia markets, from simple icebreaker games to sophisticated team-building programs. The purpose of these activities is to improve communication, collaboration, and trust among team members, ultimately enhancing their performance and productivity.

The concept of team building dates back to the early 1920s, when the Hawthorne studies were conducted. These studies focused on the impact of workplace conditions on productivity, and they found that social factors, such as relationships between workers, had a significant impact on productivity. This led to the development of team building activities that focused on improving relationships between co-workers.

In the 1950s and 1960s, team building activities began to gain popularity in the corporate world. These activities often involved simple icebreakers, such as name games and trust exercises. They were designed to break down barriers and encourage open communication among team members.

During the 1970s and 1980s, team building activities continued to evolve. Organizations began to recognize the importance of building strong teams and invested in more sophisticated team-building programs. These programs in Australia often involved outdoor activities, such as ropes courses and wilderness survival training copied from US innovators Project Adventure. These activities were designed to build trust and foster teamwork in a challenging environment.

In the late 80's Sabre was founded (in 1988) and initially used creative military themed games and activities as part of the Corporate Strike Force and Executive Warfare Centre programmes.

In the 1990s, team building activities became more focused on achieving specific business outcomes. For example, team building activities were designed to improve problem-solving skills or enhance creativity. This shift in focus led to the development of more structured and customized team-building programs of the form Sabre helped to pioneer. Sabre began using a wider range of themes, activity styles and added Belbin Team Roles to our repertoire for adding lasting insight and value to programmes.

Today, team building activities have evolved even further. With advances in technology, virtual team building activities using Belbin Team Roles have become more common. These activities are designed to build relationships and enhance communication among team members who work remotely.

Another trend in team building activities is a focus on wellness and mindfulness by pairing individual Belbin profiling and reports that enhance self-awareness, with activity content. Organizations are recognizing the importance of supporting employee well-being and mental health. As a result, team building activities are increasingly incorporating self-awareness and wellness.

Overall, the evolution of team building activities reflects the changing needs of organizations and the workforce. Team building activities have gone from simple icebreakers to sophisticated programs that focus on achieving specific business outcomes. They have also become more focused on supporting employee well-being and building relationships among remote teams. As workplaces continue to evolve, it is likely that team building activities will continue to adapt and evolve as well.

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