Putting together a successful team building program is not rocket science, but if it is not done right it might just explode upon lift off. Here are some helpful tips we share with our clients to help them make the most of their team building events and avoid unnecessary mistakes.
- Know Your Audience
This can concern the level of physical activity or the theme and type of activities you select. Not everyone is in the shape they once were and if your activities and team challenges are too difficult physically or require participants to walk great distances you may be setting people up for failure. Also consider if the activities are appropriate for an adult audience. Many people have a low tolerance for games that are too ‘silly’ or ‘juvenile’.
- Remember, Price is One Factor, Not The ONLY Factor
In most cases you get what you pay for and this relates to the team building company you select, the venue and the catering. If you don’t have an appropriate budget to put together a quality team building event you may be better off to bank the money and try again when you have a larger budget. A poorly done event can do more harm than good. There are many simple team building events that you can do with a small budget such as bowling or a pizza party. Just don’t confuse these with the value a professional team building program can offer.
- Set Clear Goals and Objectives
As Stephen Covey said “begin with the end in mind”. If you know why you want to run a team building event and what you want it to accomplish you can build it accordingly. Do you want it to be a fun motivational event or a learning experience? Do you want to influence a specific behaviour or theme? Without this you are just rolling the dice.
- Choose an Off-Site Location
Although you will save money by staying on site it is not always worth it (see point #2). Studies have shown that employees view in-house events as less important and of lower value. Most places of work do not have an appropriate space for a quality team building event and pushing the tables and chairs out of the way in the cafeteria or tidying up the warehouse doesn’t usually cut it. Add to this the fact that your attendance will be lower and you will lose people to work related ‘emergencies’. There will also be a big attrition rate at break and lunch when everyone gets back to their desk and discovers how much work they are missing.
- Make a Realistic Time Commitment
The amount of time invested should be proportional to the objectives of the event. If you are looking for learning and behaviour change a one hour session will not do it. Conversely, six hours of ‘Corporate Olympics’ is more than most people can take. We find that 2-3 hours is a good time frame for a quality team building program focused on relationship development, light learning, and motivation. If you are looking for learning and development you need to invest at least a half-day and better yet a full-day.
- Trying to Facilitate it Yourself
Again see point #2. If team building is not your specialty, you should probably leave it to the experts. As I said earlier it is not rocket science, but it can, and has, been done REALLY poorly. Carefully consider your ability to design and deliver a high quality team building program based on your skill set and while also trying to keep up with your day-to-day work tasks
A team building program can add tremendous value to your team and organization. But like anything else it needs to be done right. These 6 tips should help you put together the most appropriate high quality team building program for your next meeting, event or conference.