3 Things to Remember for Better Team Building Activities
By Mike Rogers
Teamwork and Leadership BloggingsPosted: 3/1/11
Why do team building activities fail? Answer: Most lack planning. A leader, for example, decides that his or her team needs to be more cohesive. It is agreed upon that the team will do some team building. So they hire a “team building expert” to come in and do some activities. The problem isn’t necessarily the activities, but the lack of planning and understanding what the team’s needs are.
Here are three important things to consider when doing team-building activities.
1. What is the reason you feel your team needs team building activities? Is it a lack of trust on your team? Conflict that focuses away from the issues? Communication breakdowns? Apathy? Team problem-solving skills? Are you clear on the reasons your team isn’t doing as well as you would like and why you want to do a team building activity? You might find that you have bigger issues than you realized and that doing team building activities is the least of your concerns. Conducting a solid assessment to find out where your team’s gaps are is worth your time.
2. What are the goals? Once you understand the purpose for team building, then setting specific goals that can be measured is the next step. Having goals like “We want our team to be more unified” will not be as effective as “Our team will increase healthy productive conflict in the next year that is centered on issues and that is respectful of people’s opinions and ideas. Having a goal like this now allows you to create a team building activity that is more focused and measurable.
3. Are you measuring? Once you have identified the reason for team building and have goals in place the next step is to ensure you are measuring your success. In the previous goal “Our team will increase healthy productive conflict in the next year that is centered on issues and that is respectful of people’s opinions and ideas,” can be measured by simply sending out a survey assessing team member’s perceptions on the quality of meeting discussions. Do they feel the discussions are focused on the issues? Does everyone feel comfortable enough to say what they feel? If not, why? There are a number of questions that can be asked prior to team building activities and then asked again several months later to measure any improvement.
In conclusion, remember, doing team building for the sake of team building is a waste. And contrary to popular belief, one team building activity doesn’t mean that you will suddenly reach the Team Hall of Fame. Team building takes time. Knowing the reason you are doing team building activities, having goals in place and a way to measure your success is key.