There is a very wide range of activities that people refer to as “team building” these days. Nearly everything that is done in a group is referred to as team building—even things like going to a ball game together. However, this is incorrect. And because so many things are categorized as such, you’ll see some people push back and question the need or relevance of “team building.”

First, selecting the right activity is key. "You must tie teambuilding activities to real work-related issues," says Cynthia Shon, president of Corporate Games, Inc., which designs and implements corporate teambuilding events. "When people don’t see that relevance, they don't understand the value of participating. When you make the connection to work situations, participants realize the exercises can impact workplace issues. They can even discover something about themselves. It's not always easy to be a team player. We're often in front of a computer all day, not dealing with people face to face. We're losing important people skills. That's just one reason why teambuilding is so important."

Who communicates the value of a team building exercise? Though a team building company can do this during an event, the strongest statement will come from an executive within the client company. When management states its importance, why they have included it in the meeting agenda, and their expectation of mandatory participation, it gets people to think of the team building event differently; more of a training and less as a “meaningless game.” The person who is leading the meeting is the best candidate to make this announcement—just prior to the team building activity.

Corporate Games devises teambuilding events based on the needs and vision of the business or group. Some groups just want to create a fun experience, others may want to improve communication, leadership skills, build trust, dissolve cliques or teach conflict management. The list of possible goals is actually very long. Every group is different. When selecting a team building event, being candid and honest with you team building vendor is crucial. Give as much information as possible about the group, the location, the agenda, your goals –as well as providing information about past team building activities if any.

In summary,

  1. Gather as much information as possible and share this with your team building provider.
  2. Select the right activity after receiving your vendor’s input and suggestions. You know your group better than they do.
  3. Communicate to participants the reason for the event and its importance—before the start of the activity.