There are currently around 63,400,000 results available when you Google “teambuilding”. Suggested questions include “Why is teambuilding important?” and “Do teambuilding exercises really work?”, with theories and answers answered by people from all over the world. In the end, it comes down to one fact:
Teambuilding is only as good as the environment it is meant for.
Get yourself a team that hangs out just because!
Let’s start from one of the basics: in order to have teambuilding, there needs to be a concept of “team” in place. A team isn’t just a group of people – it’s a group of people that are connected to one another by some bonds, working together for the same goals and helping each other when they need it.
This is usually where the first issues start to show.
In a lot of cases, you see companies promoting rivalry and a competitive workplace trying to hold a meaningful teambuilding. However, if all your employees are stuck in a “me against them” mindset, they are very unlikely to join the teambuilding in the right spirit. It can even cause more harm than good – imagine trying to keep a boat afloat if the 6 people in it with you are all rowing in different directions and screaming about it. Yikes.
However, in the right kind of atmosphere, teambuilding is everybody’s favorite event of the year.
Some companies really go all out. There are those who rent out entire cities for the sake of a few days bonding with workmates, and there are organized extravaganzas that may or may not include Hollywood stars.
We don’t usually go that far, at least for now – WaySeven is a small company, and we don’t have the numbers to fill a whole amusement park or go rent an island somewhere. Instead, we support local economy and go rafting on the river that runs through our city, or take hikes on the many hills that are within a 2-hour drive.
It’s always a great time. Last year, a few people even moved their planned holiday so they can come rafting, and that’s saying something.
Teambuilding is definitely fun, but is that the only reason we do it?
Making a splash with your ideas? Perfectly acceptable.
Definitely not. Take rafting, for instance – a group of people gathered in a boat, rowing and generally trying to keep afloat. It can be looked at as a metaphor for a project – you always have somebody doing their best but failing, somebody making minimum effort and still being the best, somebody trying to lead… These roles, brought down to their most basic descriptors, tend to give people a different perspective.
If you were to go to a team member and talk to them about their tendency to procrastinate, the conversation is not likely to be pleasant. However, laughing about it as a group as you try to steer your way out of a whirlpool makes it a fun anecdote. It’s not just the procrastinator that learns – the others find ways to deal with it as well.
Teambuilding is a great tool, helping improve everything form interpersonal relations and communication to mindsets. This is why it needs to be used for the right reasons and provide opportunities for growth to everyone involved.