I have spoken to many clients about their teambuilding needs and realised that many companies want to have teambuilding programs without very clear objectives. Generic statements like the ones below are often uttered:
“We want them to be more cohesive and have a spirit of camaraderie.”
“Foster closer ties and have teamwork.”
“We have gone to __________ (insert your previous venue) before, can we go somewhere else different this time?”
I know that there are reasons behind those statements but what is it that they are really tackling? Whenever I talk to my clients, I try to help them gain clarity in their purpose to make it a fun and yet meaningful experience for them.
Most teambuilding programs have severe limitations.
What Teambuilding cannot do
1. Solve deep-rooted resentment among specific individuals
If certain colleagues are already angry with each other, teambuilding programs might not be the best answer. It is better to trash it out openly between them then send them to a teambuilding program.
2. Streamline processes in work, thus making things more efficient
You need a process consultant, not a teambuilding expert.
3. Change corporate culture
Culture is already embedded into the company and it does not change overnight.
What can Teambuilding do?
1. Inspire change in mindsets
My experience is that we can shift or break certain old patterns of thinking by introducing new ones through activities. Using activities are great because most people have better retention rates if they experience the lessons rather than just hear them through a lecture.
2. Get people to start opening up and sharing with each other
Fun, meaningful activities helps people to know each other — as a human being.
3. Create a sense of belonging to the company
When people play together with each other and not against each other, there is a sense of unity.
4. Give important principles about team concepts and winning with people.
Principles are easily remembered and will not change with time.
5. Help participants know that the company cares for them.
Companies provide what I call “meaningful fun” rather than just play games and not learn anything serious.
So, before you start to choose a company for teambuilding, consider your objectives first and then get a company with a great track record. They must be consistent in providing an experience where your colleagues can feel inspired to make a change in their lives.
Wrong (Hilarious) Example of Teambuilding
Here’s an interesting video on how everything goes wrong in a teambuilding exercise by American Airlines. Enjoy!