What makes a Great Team Building event?

Q: What makes a great team building event?

A: There are possibly 5  factors to consider when planning a great team build session.

  • Firstly, why are we considering a team build? we should look at it as an event or a component as part of ongoing strategy or journeying towards company goals. Don’t think that a team building session is the magic bullet to solve deep seated people or related problems.
  • Secondly, what do you want to achieve? Clarifying expectations is very important. E.g. What should this session do to help our current situation and the future we desire? What methodologies would be best: outdoors, indoors, personality exercises, lots of fun, tasks, combined approach. Consider the needs and diversity of the attendees. Make everyone feel engaged and part of.
  • Thirdly, who should conduct the exercise? Should you contact a team building consultancy/ facilitator – or would it be better to do it yourself/ in-house. There may be pros and cons with both choices. Team building consultancies and professional facilitation can help take away the stress of planning, coordinating and doing. A professional may work very well with the organizer or key manager step by step during the event. Cons may be price – but consider value as the pros. Also, whichever you choose – do references, double check, meet/ speak with the provider, clarifying your expectations – and decide what would be ‘right’ or fit for the occasion.
  • Forth, where? How far are you prepared to travel? Why? What desired effect will this have on the team? Shall you stay over? What social components can make this event more memorable?
  • Fifth, when? Team buildings done in summer, winter or rainy seasons can bring out different advantages and disadvantages. Will this accord with your programme.
  • And perhaps a sixth, plan B and C for contingencies if plan A ideas don’t work out…

Also, you may have a good team build, but it may not be a “great” team build. Often, it’s the magic or x factor elements like the venue/ nature, the activities, people felt ‘touched’ or connected, the facilitator was just so inspiring in guiding a tough team etc.

Q: Don’t most team build sessions end up in a “piss up” (in other words, people get drunk)?

A: Not really. Poor planning and decision making are the key reasons for failure. Prior planning and consulting with the organizer or key manager is important. What are the values of the organization? Consider the dynamics of the team. Are the any no-go areas or limits? Should there be balance between objectives and fun?

Q: What do you say to most people who believe that team buildings are waste of time/ that it is forgotten when they get back to the office?

A: This is possibly so because it was never done right. Sometimes, buying cheap can be more expensive – trying to save costs or going cheapest option without being consultative can result in such experience. On the positive, team builds can be a trigger for great memories, moments and lessons going forward. Humour, fun and challenge shape people’s experience. Sometimes, we need to celebrate and thank our great asset (right people) for the hard work done. All in all – the source of disappointments may lie in unrealistic or unfulfilled expectations. Manage those well.

Q: Are personality profile and team analysis assessments useful? Don’t most people not want to spend time in a classroom for a team build?

A: These can be excellent for pre-work for a team build session. Who is not interested in the most important topic of any: “themselves”? People are curious, and people are intrigued by their differences and others. Our sameness and differences make conversations and interactions fun. The can allow for great conversations, commitments and resolving misperceptions about people. If you couple team assessments with excellent outdoor events – you can achieve wonderful objectives. A group cannot be outdoors all the time for a balanced, well planned session – you cannot endure the constant sun or rain or exert physical energy all the time. Classroom activities can be both solace and hugely important moments.

Anil Salick

Anil Salick

Strategist, Facilitator, Coach, Writer. Shares about inspiration, leadership, critical thinking, fun, sports and current events.