Is Teambuilding Collapsing?

Yes, if you do teambuilding like the typical Team-Bldg-Silly-WEBrah, rah, let’s come together and sing Khumbaya team building sessions. Or how about a retreat with those spray paint ball gun games? One time, our company went on one of those. It was out in the boonies, it was cold as the dickens and we had to use outdoor toilets. Yeah, that really made me want to be productive and hug management. Growing up, we had an outhouse and I’ve worked hard not to have to “go there” again. And finally, there’s the very popular afternoon at Dave and Buster’s. OK, yes it’s indoors, no one is shooting at you and there is usually indoor plumbing. On the other hand, it’s noisy and no opportunity for any in depth conversations. So forget about building a relationship. Everyone goes in eight different directions to find their own favorite brand of, well we’re here and we’ve gotta’ do something. Usually, there is not even a meal together as everyone eats at different times whenever the mood hits them or they get hungry and just leave. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really feelin” it here. So let’s look at what teambuilding is for and when it’s appropriate.

Teambuilding is not meant for creating false “bonding” events, but rather for the following business strategies:

  • To implement corporate strategies. This is particularly true if these strategies are complex. These require a coherent result.
  • Developing communication in order to promote openness and trust
  • Reducing conflict.
  • Enhancing team goal setting and improving decisions. Quickly facilitating socialization. For example, when a new team member comes on board, or when a new leader is installed.
  • Forming new teams, or projects or when several departments will be working on a project together
  • Addressing new governance or cultural changes

Change is rampant today especially in industries that are experiencing high growth such as technology, healthcare, entertainment, hospitality and finance. Let’s take a look at how teambuilding can be of benefit to facilitate change.

During organizational change, the executive team leads the way for the proposed changes and the strategies to implement that change. Unfortunately, one person who is often neglected to be included in the loop is the trainer or the CKO. While this individual may not be involved in every meeting, he or she definitely needs to know about the change, strategies and goals of the change. The CKO and the trainer are the people who will be charged with conveying elements of the change throughout the organization. Executives must view the entire organization as a team in times of major change in order for the change to be successful and effective.

High performing teams throughout the organization can also play significant roles during change. High performing teams can help facilitate change if good interaction and open communication are already part of your organization’s culture. These two elements help create trust and trust is an essential ingredient in teambuilding and facilitating change. Here’s why.

When there is a culture of trust, ideas are more likely to have a well-grounded foundation, take root and produce essential feedback. The good, the bad and the ugly feedback will be easily shared as trust builds an environment to facilitate honest and open feedback. Moreover, cooperative behavior will flourish and therefore, the dissemination of knowledge will abound. This knowledge not only includes knowledge for tasks, system and procedures, but will usurp the rumor mill. The rumor mill is not what you want as a source for essential knowledge.

As you can see, effective teambuilding is not constructed in a one day retreat or gaming session. Teambuilding is a process in which the bricks of trust, communication, commitment and loyalty are leveled through daily face-to-face interaction. That’s not to say that retreats or trainings are a useless waste of time. Just ensure that the teambuilding has a legitimate reason, that the training or retreat is appropriate and part of a larger endeavor in building your team and yes, do make it fun, but not at the sacrifice of anyone’s dignity or comfort.

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Graphic Credit Big Stock.


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