While recently reading an old article on Corporate Team Building in the Fairfax press, see Fairfax Teambuilding , It intrigued me as to how many people had negative feelings towards teambuilding events. There were almost 70 comments in relation to the story and almost all were negative.
When looking at the actual comments themselves it became quite apparent as to what the major reasons for this negative sentiment were.
These are in no particular order...
1) Suitability of the chosen activity for the group: In most examples cited the chosen “activity” was totally unsuited to the participants involved. In some cases activities were chosen that were based on personal preferences by management, a desire to get people out of their ”comfort zone” or events that don’t fit with the work backgrounds and personality styles of those involved.
2) Singling out of individuals: Horrifically some organisations take the opportunity at events to single out an individual and ridicule, humiliate or generally embarrass the individual. Under no circumstances should this ever occur as the net effect is hugely negative. It also impacts upon those who have not yet been singled out as they fear they may be the next one in the spotlight. This causes the individual to remain in the pack for protection and refrain from participating to the full extent.
3) Failure to take into account factors such as age, gender, personality type, individual physical limitations, organisational culture and past events will almost always lead to a lower engagement by participants.
Most important ingredients for a successful team building activity:
- Ensure the event activity is compatible with the objectives for the event. If you just want to have an enjoyable afternoon mixing with colleagues do not choose overly active events. If you have more formalised objectives get “buy in” from the participants. Sell the need before the day.
- Never use the activity as an opportunity to denigrate, belittle or humiliate individuals. This will guarantee a spectacular failure. And dont force team members into uncomfortable situations in front of thier peers, as it usually ends in tears!
- This one should be fairly obvious, take into account, ages, gender, personality type, physical limitations, culture and things people have done in the past.
- Consult experienced and professional team building companies. Many companies will claim their ghost tour, coffee making, wine tasting course is team building when they are actually just trying to tap into another market for their niche product. It can be very confusing, especially when researching and finding engaging team building activities in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne... so many 'experiences' to choose from!
- Speak with a recognised team building provider ( I would say that wouldn’t I)
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