Defining Team Building

Fun or Learning?

Today it seems like just about any group activity can be defined as team building.  Recently a client told me they needed something with more “substance” because their last team building event didn’t seem to “work”.  Of course I asked, “What did you do?” The response was “We went Go-Kart Racing.”  Really?  And you wonder why it didn’t seem to work?

One of the most important things you can do is define the difference between simply “sharing time together” and “learning something together.”  There is nothing wrong with “social events” and I am a proponent of work groups getting together socially.  The more people can get to know one another in environments other than work…the better.  But if you are hoping for a change in behavior, or some lasting change in your group, you should consider a more directed or facilitated experience.  Something like Signature Teambuilding’s Shifting Gears program.

Yes, I know…”facilitated” sounds “touchy-feely” but not in all cases.  If you are looking for something meaningful, what you really want is a shared experience that provides a challenge for the group and one in which the playing field is “level” so everyone can participate on equal footing.  The “challenge” whether physical or mental sets the stage for people to behave as they “normally” do rather than in their work related role.  Following the activity, if facilitated well, participants have the opportunity evaluate whether or not their behavior served themselves and the team.  This “evaluation” is the basis for determining if there is an opportunity to change behavior for the “better.”  Without this reflection or facilitation, the activity might be just that…an activity.

Now, Signature Teambuilding provides both types of programs.  We define our programs as Recreational Fun or Transformational Learning programs.  We make sure we are able to determine what the end goals are for the program before we make a suggestion.  For team’s that are looking for an outing that focuses on Relationship Building for example, we suggest the Urban Excursion or CONQUEST or our version of Minute to Win It.  For teams looking for a facilitated experience that they can put on the “investment” side of the balance sheet instead of the “expense” column, we often suggest Shifting Gears, Rapid Egg Delivery (RED) or a Ropes Course Experience.

The most important thing anyone can do when considering a team building experience is to define team building for your event.

Next time…Do you know what is best for each person in your team?