Team building, you either love it or hate it, there isn’t any middle ground.
When I used to hear that word, I would break out into a cold sweat. In the meantime, some of my colleagues were bringing out their body armour and whooping war cries around the office. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard team building days referred to as a waste of valuable time.
Somewhere along the way, the lines between team building, competition and socialising seem to have been blurred. There are so many things to choose from its hard to know what is the ideal. But before you run off and start planning a survivor style warrior weekend or day, make sure you first analyse your team and their needs.
So, what are good team building activities?
The answer to this question is complex, and it varies between teams. To drill down to what is needed we need to ask some more questions.
Who are your team members and what are their needs? Does the planned activity suit everybody’s abilities and lifestyle?
There is nothing wrong with a high-intensity activity. But there is also nothing worse than being sent on a sporty team building activity if you are a member who isn’t the athletic type. Or being a mum and you need to do the school run and take care of your family at the time when the activity is planned. Maybe you are someone who has very clearly defined personal space boundaries and the planned activity is an invasion of your space.
Instead of uniting your team these all have the possibility to do the exact opposite. They can serve to highlight differences as weaknesses, alienating individuals and fracturing teams.
What do you want to achieve? Is it team building or actually socialising?
Social activities are fine but not everyone will want to attend them, and that is okay. Team building, on the other hand, is experiential learning that is work focused. Through learning together, teams can become more cohesive, strengthening their common goals. They can share ideas and clarify thoughts.
What outcome are you looking for? Is it a stronger team with a greater understanding of each other? Or is it solving a challenge within the team or workplace? Maybe you are looking to develop a strategy or new product. Working collectively in a healthy environment can bring solutions to these areas, at the same time it also builds stronger teams.
It’s one of the reasons I love using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Materials and Methodology when working with teams. Yes, it’s fun, however its also accessible by everyone and purpose driven. It creates a level playing field and we are using play as a constructive platform to uncover hidden information and build capacity.
So next time you are assigned the role of planning a team building day, think long and hard. Ask the questions, find the answers and use them to develop a healthy constructive event.
I know your team and organisation will appreciate your efforts.
And if you want to know more about how to organise a workshop using the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Materials and Methodology give me a call or drop me a line for your free consultation.