Team building has been around for a long time. During the eighties corporate team building really began to take off and you still read about it and you might even have just completed some rope course intended to help you navigate one your many workplace mazes. But does this stuff really work? In other words, can something taught in the field easily be applied to what happens in an office? You´ve probably seen that exercise in which people fall backwards in the arms of their coworkers or friends. It´s all about trust, right? But seriously, how does being held up so no one feels badly about your back breaking translate into trust in the workplace? I´m not sure.
It´s important to know from the get-go HOW certain team-building exercises will help workers in the real world. Yes, it´s good to get people away from their desks so that they can truly focus on what the exercise is trying to accomplish. Interruptions from cell phones, office phones, emails, and colleagues stopping by to throw us off focus.
Yes, one of the best ways to build a team-and trust-among your workers is to take the meeting out of the office environment. But who wouldn´t flourish in a different environment. Just because you´re teaching something away from the office doesn´t mean that people will absorb the information more readily. Isn´t it just nice sometimes to get the heck out of your work environment? Well, yes, but you´ve got to let your people know that team building isn´t just about a respite from their usual four walls. So that´s point number one.
Sometime else you have to consider are your folks who aren´t real keen on the whole team-building concept to begin with. Before you hire the team-building company for thousands of dollars you´ve got to get that old-fashion thing called buy-in. And even if you don´t get buy-in you can at least put the word out that you expect everyone to be involved. A lot of people don´t think team-building exercises can be translated to the real world. So it´s especially important for those exercises to have real-world applications so that everyone, but especially the naysayers remain someone open. Let´s face it: people are suspicious, particularly the ones who´ve already had less than satisfactory experiences. The worst, well, nearly the worst, thing that can happen is that participants feel as if their time has been wasted. People are so busy, doing more than one job in many cases, and when you take them away from their email, phones, and computers, well, you better be ready to deliver.
Next time: more about building a team