There is team building and TEAM BUILDING – in this srticle you will find out how to avoid some of the pitfalls that wastes time and money when building your winning team.
Monday morning. The office is quiet, everyone sitting at their desks looking half asleep. A telephone rings, and rings, and rings. Eventually someone answers it. A couple of minutes later the prospect on the other end decides to deal with one of your competitors …
Monday Morning. Staff arrive early and the place is buzzing, most people are on their feet, waiting to get at the filing cabinet, discussing last weeks sales figures. A telephone rings. Within seconds it is answered with enthusiasm and a desire to close a sale. 15 minutes later the prospect has placed an order …
OK, two contrasting offices. Which one would you prefer to be in? If you said the first, then stop reading, NOW! No manager worth their salt should even consider having an office like that. Not even just to be contrary in answer to my question. You see, with either attitude, you are a de-motivator. Office motivation must come from management. Whatever level. From senior managers down. Some people are natural managers but for most, it will take some effort.
Firstly, you need to have a positive approach to work. If your team see that you cannot be bothered, either with your work or with their efforts, then for sure you will have the first type of office.
Secondly, you need to work hard at team building. Mention the latter and you will find that most of your staff will groan. Why? Because the only team building that they know about is either a cold and wet weekend in the countryside, carrying out initiative tests and problem solving. That strikes despair into the heart of all but the most masochistic. Or alternatively, they associate the phrase team building with the touchy-feely type of indoor activity that was devised in the 80s. That makes everyone other than the office groper and the office bicycle feel uncomfortable! These are both exclusive – in other words, whatever you choose, a large proportion of your team will be excluded from achieving anything positive.
So how do you get away from these stereotypes. There are still plenty of backwards looking companies offering the cold, wet and touchy-feely team building.
Avoid these, look for a fresh approach. Use corporate entertainment which will introduce the fun element; staff will not even notice that team building is happening.  Treasure hunts or a themed activity day are events that can really work.
The treasure hunt is a great idea as it can be carried out by car or on foot. A good treasure hunt will be inclusive, i.e. engage and motivate even the most reluctant team member. The team building benefits are:
>> development of communication, planning and lateral thinking.
>> your employees to get to know others in your organisation better.
>> your employees to break down the barriers between departments.
>> management interact with staff in a relaxed situation.
One popular themed corporate event is based on the old BBC ‘It’s a Knockout’ show. That would be ideal for use where staff are young, competitive and dynamic as it can be quite physical and inevitably will end up with participants getting very wet! An alternative to that is the medieval themed corporate event. This takes staff through various medieval activities such as archery, pulling the reluctant boar to the kitchen, building a trebuchet, storming the castle, the Battle of Agincourt and finishes up with the jousting competition as the grand finale. As with the treasure hunt, it is great fun, inclusive and develops all of the skills that are essential for a functional and successful team.
If you have a company conference or prefer a hotel event, then something like a spy themed day works well. Teams need to complete a series of tasks throughout the day, working to a tight schedule. The tasks require lateral thinking, ingenuity, problem solving and good communication as delegates will crack safes, improvise disguises, identify spies seen on video footage, disarm bombs, set minefields, move containers of radioactive waste …. Again, highly motivating and focusing on essential team skills.
So team building does not have to be uncomfortable; it can be memorable for all the right reasons – if you choose carefully. And one last piece of advice, don’t bother with DIY team building, remember, the specialists do it every day and so your event will run much more smoothly.
Team Building, Treasure Hunt