- Low Morale – Having a team building activity as a reactionary counter to low morale does not work or solve the problem which is causing the issue. Low morale among your staff has a root cause within the department, organization or business. Taking a day off to chat or do group exercises in the hope of bringing the group to a positive center is not going to solve the root problem.
- Change Management tool – A team building activity is not a change management tool. While in the last few years, with budgets being stretched to their limit many leaders have been tempted to lump the two together. It is important that we, as leaders treat these two very different activities with the unique attention that they deserve.
- Communication building – Communication, like low morale, is an in-house issue that is not going to be solved with a yearly shot of team building.
- Team building activities are not the place to share bad news about what is happening in the organization or business. Too often I have seen these activities degenerate into a few individuals holding a large group hostage to discuss every negative issue that exists in the work environment.
What is the Purpose of a Team Building Event?
The purpose of a team building event is to expose your staff to opportunities to learn new skills or discuss new ideas and ways of dealing with common issues in a non-threatening environment. The event is not meant to be an extended training session for skills that staff already possess, or are, learning on the job. Neither is the purpose to lecture staff and employees on what they “should” be doing to do their jobs better.
Rather, the event should provide alternatives to current behaviors in a positive and inspiring way that encourages and supports your staff to try new things, think in new ways, and step out of the “box” to see if they may have a skillset they have never thought about using in their current role within your organization.
Assessing Your Team Building Activity and Expectations
It is unfortunate that team building activities are usually thrown together as a reactionary act in a moment of desperation. We hire individuals who are not involved with our business, product or service to facilitate activities, plan the event, etc., “hoping” that what the staff need are what the facilitators will provide.
It is important that prior to deciding on a team building activity that you, as leader assess the need for the activity and what your expectations for the activity are. To do that you must first define what a Team Building Activity is and what your expectations of the activity are.
I have seen excellent team building events and have been honored to participate as a speaker at some. So, I would like to spend some time discussing a few of the items that made these team building events so memorable, well attended and well received by staff, leaders and visitors.