WHY CORPORATE TEAM BUILDING DOESN’T WORK

WHY CORPORATE TEAM BUILDING DOESN’T WORK


Summer is just around the corner which means you will soon have a team building activity. You’re probably excited as this means another beach trip where you have fun playing games with your colleagues. A quick Google search defines “team building” as the action or process of causing a group of people to work together effectively as a team. Rarely does a company hire our services where the goal is not about having a more productive and effective team that churns results at the end of the day.

And so we go back to our first notion of team building where we swim on the beach, hike a mountain together, or do obstacle courses. Sitting in front of our desks come Monday, is the team honestly motivated to produce more and invigorated to overshoot the targets? Do we come back feeling that the elephants in the room are resolved? At the end of the day, do we feel we are a step closer to becoming a team that works effectively together. Sometimes, the best efforts to build a team together fails because the games and exercises do not address personal conflicts and team issues but are single-mindedly built to just have fun.

Sometimes, the best efforts to build a team together fails because the games and exercises do not address personal conflicts

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1. TREATS THE SYMPTOM BUT NOT THE ROOT CAUSE 

Heads look into these activities when people have low morale, are not cooperating with each other, and are in general showing negative behavior and attitude. Sure, after team bonding activities, you may come back to the workplace feeling much better but after a few days, you will revert back to your previous behaviour and attitudes. This is because the team bonding treated some symptoms but not the root problem. This is a temporary fix and the symptoms will come back rearing its ugly head sooner or later. 

2. COMPETITIVE ACTIVITIES DON’T ALWAYS WORK 

If there is a great deal of hostility, trust, culture or communication issues present in the team, engaging in competitive team building such as Amazing Race, treasure hunts, paintball games, etc may serve to exacerbate the issue rather than heal the wounds. There are equally fun and non competitive activities that you can engage in to promote trust and collaboration, without stoking unresourceful states that cause issues to implode. In one of the team building sessions that we did years back, teams were asked to accumulate points by outperforming each other on certain tasks. The results backfired when teams started to blame one another of cheating. We had to do a difficult facilitation process after in order to let the elephants in the room out in the open. 

3. IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE

People have different modalities in learning. Some prefer visuals, some auditory while others, kinesthetic. In team buildings with team games such as obstacle courses, it’s usually the kinesthetic learners that are thriving. What about the others? Your team building must present a diversity in activities and processing because thematic programs might miss this.  

4. NOT CONNECTED, NOT RELATED TO THEIR WORK 

After the team building activity, how do you then make the learning real? You spend a lot of time and money in designing a team building to promote trust and harmony in your engagements. Make sure your investment pays out. Here’s where post-game processing and facilitation come in to deepen insights and learning. The best facilitators close out a session with examples, stories, and analogies that ring a bell instead of flying over the heads of the participants. After our firewalking as a team building activity, participants are raving to share how they conquered their fear and obstacles with their mindset. The facilitator must then be able to link this learning to how they face fears and obstacles in the workplace. The key here is to have qualified facilitators who can lead a discussion where everyone leaves the room feeling that they learned a lot.

 

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World Stage International Network offers Team Awakening programs which stoke the inner fire of organizations looking to amp up their morale, productivity, and their results. It’s an exciting and thrilling program for those looking for a different kind of Team Building where you can see change in mindset, energy and behavior happen right before your eyes and stay with the participants long after the session.

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