Team Building – When, Why, How

    Team Building

    To some of us is; its an alien word, to others it’s a waste of time, to the rest it might mean getting away from work or routine to do something else.
    Simply put; A BREATHER.

    Employers/Managers are always presented with these conundrums;

    1. When do I do teambuilding?
    2. How big should my team be?
    3. How do I make it inclusive for all ages and fitness levels?
    4. How long should the duration of teambuilding be?
    5. Why should I even spend money doing something that doesn’t bring in money/sales for the company?
    6. What happens after a team building session?
    Where do we do have the session?
    7. Who do I engage or assign the responsibility to for the event to?
    8. Do I conduct it in-house or use an outsourced vendor?
    9. What are my tangible or intangible benefits?
    10. What is/are my opportunity cost of running a team building session?

    When do u have team building?

    There is no exact time to do a team building session. There is only an exact need to do it. The purpose of the team building must be clearly defined for desired outcomes to be met and fulfilled realistically.

    Many organisations conduct team building sessions that are meant for assimilating new staff in a dept./ organization with existing staff. Why cant this be done organically in the job u may ask. Often at work, due to existing hierarchy and job functions, it may not be the most nurturing of environments to understand a colleague/staff as a PERSON. Everyone is merely expected to conform to existing standards. Every individual brings their own personality and capabilities to the table when they join an organization. A setting away from work can do wonders in getting people to appreciate the diversity that surrounds them and the collective strength they may possess if they were to understand each other and leverage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses accordingly.

    Other reasons for a team building session could be to serve as a platform for new teammates to work cohesively in a new project undertaken by the company. There are also teams on the other end of the spectrum, where teams have become toxic because professional and personal emotions collide and people cannot compartmentalise their emotions and have built ideas of individuals cemented upon their perceptions. Team building is a TOOL. Many make the mistake thinking it’s a solution to get better working groups.

    Technically if often comes down to an organization’s ethos. They can choose to be reactive or proactive; its implemented based on a need for the organization at that point of time.

    What happens after a team building session?

    A team building session creates opportunity for everyone to see his or her colleagues in a different light. It works both ways; managers understand the team better & the session also humanises them in the eyes of the team. Imagine your director taking part in a simple activity like charades and doings his or her level best to belt a moonwalk or strutting to MC HAMMER. This leads to a scenario where staff members who have attended the same team building share a distinct shared experience that members who gave the session a miss will never be able to understand or appreciate.

    The measure of success from a team building session is not limited to feelings immediately after the session. Office banter that forms post-event; the renewed appreciation of fellow staff members is always the first measure. Often times they say, team building sessions only have intangible benefits like staff camaraderie and sense of belonging. I don’t disagree completely with this statement. Often times, many forget to overlook the accounts. Studying the accounting period before and after the event may show specific quantifiable variables. A successful team building session as the name suggest result in a more cohesively workforce that are better primed to produce positive results in an environment that is more accommodating of the quirks and behaviours of the many individuals that make up the atmosphere.