Why Team Building Is Valuable
One of the questions I like to ask when I first start working with a group is: “Who’s excited for today?” There’s usually some applause and hands shoot up… But there are hands that don’t shoot up too…
So I like to ask my second, and perhaps more important question: “And who is rolling their eyes and going, oh jeez… I have a ton of email and important things to do, and here I am stuck doing some cheesy team building thing.”
At that, I’ll usually get a hand or two that will tentatively (or boldly) go into the air. I like to give those people a high-five for their honesty (if not their enthusiasm).
I ask it because it’s a valid question, and it’s one that is worth addressing up-front: Why is teambuilding valuable?
“WHY IS TEAM BUILDING VALUABLE?”
The reality is that the BEST companies in the world hit the pause button and do team building…
Google. Exxon Mobil. Humana.
Boeing. Coca-Cola. G.E. Merck.
Microsoft. Johnson & Johnson. MetLife.
These are just a few of the Fortune 100 companies I’ve worked with and have done teambuilding activities with.
These ‘movers and shakers’ take time out of their busy schedules, push pause world-domination, and get together to do some “silly” activities for a few hours.
Because they know that without the people in their buildings and offices, they are just buildings and offices.
Companies run on the power of their skilled and talented PEOPLE… And how effective their people are is a direct reflection of their communication and the quality of their relationships.
Without trust, without communication, without collaborative relationships, any company will fail.
Companies that EXCEL understand that the only way to strengthen those bonds of communication, collaboration, trust and relationship is to periodically do away with titles and job descriptions, milestones and deadlines, and simply be human beings together.
What is the fastest and most effective way to bond people?
A quick trip to your local playground will give you the answer.
Kids are amazing at their ability to quickly bond and make friends. If I take my niece and nephew to the park, within 5 minutes they’ll be collaborating with other kids, building castles in the sand, playing games, and generally having a great time. An hour or two later, they’ve had fun, made new friends and created memories.
With kids there is no “job description.” There are no “territories” or filling forms out in triplicate. There is instead a sense of adventure, a willingness to take a risk and embrace the unknown in the name of fun… And it’s a willingness we tend to lose when we grow up, put on our suits, and head into the office.
When I run one of our team building programs, I think of it as a microcosm of the macrocosm… It’s a rapidly run simulation that doesn’t have the normal trappings of rules and boundaries you encounter in business. This is liberating!
I regularly see CEOs and COOs with sleeves rolled up, doing hilarious tasks and joking around with people who have never seen this side of their “boss.”
I see co-workers encouraging each other to do things they never thought possible. I see shy people coming out of their shells and opening up, and boisterous people finding the opportunity to let-loose and shine.
The reality is that everyone has something great to contribute, and everyone has something to learn, if given the opportunity.
But it’s very difficult to lead this kind of a day from the inside.
It’s almost impossible for someone within a company to lead these types of trainings because it breaks the first rule of team-building: we have no titles or roles, and for the next few hours, there is no longer a hierarchy.
Forcing your HR professional or (worse) Manager or Executive into a role as facilitator can do more harm than good. Having someone who normally works under the top executives try to “lead the leader” often backfires. And having the “leader” lead the group usually results in a group who are unwilling to take risks, be silly, or open up.
And that’s where a professional facilitator makes a difference. It’s only the complete levelling of the playing field that an outside facilitator can bring that allows everyone to embrace the day fully.
So what do you get when you do a successful team building program?
You get a rapid breakdown of boundaries. You get people who wouldn’t ordinarily interact or talk connecting and bonding in a way that is impossible in an office environment. You get the opportunity for renewal and reflection. You present your team with the opportunity for success and positive change.
And perhaps most importantly, you provide your team with a fun, memorable day that shows that, as a company, you actually care about THEM.
The humanizing aspect of Team Building can’t be overlooked. In Europe, they call it “Team Bonding” and in many ways I think they’ve got it right. You’ve already built your team… the real goal is to get them to bond together.
The ideal team building will keep everyone included, engaged, and active. It will be fun and memorable, and will have take-aways and tie-ins to business that will make a real difference back in the office.
Even one lightbulb turning on can turn around an entire team.
As the captain of any ship will tell you, if you’re off course by a few degrees, it makes a HUGE difference over time.
When we do a team building program, we’re looking to create a positive course correction in your team’s dynamics that will make a huge difference for years to come.
If you see the value of improving your team’s communication, trust, and want to give them an enjoyable day that they’ll remember for years, we can help.
Simply fill out the form to the right and I’ll personally get in touch with you to discuss how we can work with you to create a team building experience that’s perfect for your group!