Monday, October 17, 2016

Team Building Success - Is it Necessary?

Team building activities should be fun and everybody wants to be successful but what happens when a team fails?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of running experiential team building games and simulations is their unpredictability. Anything can happen. In most cases, there is success, triumph and lots of woohoos but what happens when it all goes wrong?

On one level it is a little disappointing however it provides a unique opportunity for reflection and learning.  The debrief for the activity allows for discussion and analysis about what happened or what should have happened.

About ten years ago I remember running a construction activity with a group where nothing fitted together. The groups had not communicated their design and they had not double checked their measurements. Our debrief was in the form of a Royal Commission into what went wrong. It seems the errors that were made during the activity were the same ones that were occurring at work. Teams were located on different levels of their building and they would not clarify their communication so mistakes were being made. The activity highlighted the importance of effective and frequent communication. Teams acknowledged their need to make the effort to double check their message has been received and understood. Whilst it may take time to meet, plan and discuss, it inevitability leads to a better result.

The team building experiential allows for mistakes to be made without the financial consequences that might happen if mistakes were made at work. Teams can improve their teamwork in a safe environment in a short amount of time. So whilst everyone loves success, sometimes a failure in a team building activity might result in success back at work.

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