Team building away days are popular with many companies. Company management usually accepts that a coherent team can substantially increase profits. The theory says it’s because the team members feel more of a team spirit, they are more engaged in their work, and the end result is that everyone benefits.
Is that what actually happens though?
Very often it is. Properly planned away days with properly planned team building activities can definitely impact your bottom line. It’s a sad fact though that this is not always the case. Some activities are quite frankly bizarre. Do treasure hunts, saving the planet and mission impossible type scenarios really work? Well, yes and no.
A quick look through an Internet search engine using the question, “do team building activities work” reveals some interesting results. One result even suggested that the team should decide for itself whether they wanted to play games or use an activity related to the kind of work they do. It seems logical to assume that given the choice most teams will opt for the game; it’s more fun.
Perhaps that’s where the problem lies. Some companies providing team away days assume that it all has to be fun, perhaps because people on an away day would like to have fun. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but the whole idea of away days and team building activities is to build a stronger team. If games can do that, fine, but more often than not an activity related to work, and therefore actually relevant, works better.
The activities used in team building have to produce the right results or they are a waste of everyone’s time. Furthermore, the team members have to understand certain things about the process, or no matter how good the activity is it will not realise its full potential.
There has to be clear expectations. The team leader must communicate clearly to the members what it is they are expected to achieve. Team members have to want to be on the team. They have to understand why they are on the team and why they are essential to the company. Only then can they be expected to have the necessary commitment to play their part properly.
The activities that a team make use of should do a number of things. One important thing that needs to be discovered is simply how they think and how they best work. There’s no point in going against the grain, so if a team works well in a certain way, unless there’s a good reason for doing otherwise, let them.
If each team member can learn how each other member thinks and works in a variety of work situations as a result of an away day, then a lot has been achieved. This kind of information is invaluable to any company. This is the basis of team building; the team understanding itself and going on to higher and greater things. Team building activities that can do that are worth their weight in gold!