Posted By on Aug 31, 2011 | 0 comments

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3 Bad Team Building Exercises For Businesses

I read an interesting article this week by Deborah Sweeney on team building and in particular, three team building exercises she thinks that you should avoid. There will be plenty of people that will disagree with her and many, many more that will agree whole heartedly.

Reading her article, there a couple of key things to remember though whenever thinking team building:

  • Just because it has team building attached to it doesn’t mean it will go anywhere near developing your team
  • Even the best activity can be botched by a poor facilitator or poor organisation
  • Everyone has a terrible memory about a team experience for any number of reasons
  • People need to feel in a good space throughout the program. Make sure you are clear how this is managed when you are thinking of something for your team. If everyone is in a good space and feeling comfortable, there will be a great energy in the group. We all love a great vibe!

Deborah says;

“There may be no I in team but that doesn’t mean that “I” will still want to participate.

A rather apathetic opener from yours truly, but it does sum up a poorly done team-building experience. Whether you’ve just joined a new team at a corporation, are celebrating your first anniversary within a small start-up, or just polished off your 20th year as a self-made entrepreneur, you’ve undoubtedly had to participate in (or coordinate) team-building exercises for your group.

We’ve all been to a few in our lives. Maybe you were on a week-long retreat in the woods with your the big guns from your department. You might have all sat in a circle and added adjectives to your name and went around the circle repeating the names of others while adding more adjectives to make the game more complicated. You might have all gone rock-climbing together on an indoor course. Or written notes of appreciation to one another after talking about your best and worst jobs ever.

There are good ways to bond with people of all ages within your workplace and then there aren’t. Despite the best intentions of those planning the events, mistakes can still be made. Team building exercises according to LinkedIn are designed with two factors in mind: building up company morale and strengthening a team of professionals. Even the best laid plans with ideas that you’re sure will get everyone revved up and ready to go can fizzle fast.

Why did these activities lose their luster  before they even began? Contributing factors could be anything from the time in the day that the activity was scheduled, over scheduling every single moment of the day (especially on a retreat), holding the event outside of work hours, or just picking activities for the team that may not be what the group really wants to do. Never hesitate to get the opinion of your staff before you decide to recycle old tried but 50/50 at best true group work together.

When it comes to these three activities, I can already feel people teaming up to avoid engaging in them.

The Trust Game

A timeless classic that involves two people. One stands still and puts their hands out in front of them. The other stands in front of this person and closes their eyes, leans backwards, and falls into their waiting arms. At least you hope they do and that nobody pulls their arms back at the last moment. Before you fall, usually the person with their arms out asks, “Do you trust me?” to which one replies, “I trust you.” and lands into the cocoon of safety.

The goal of being caught is to relieve the momentary feelings of doubt and fear in exchange for ones of safety and security. But today, the trust game is a harder one to play. Odd employee pairings make it harder to catch someone- a 6’1? staff member with one that is 4’11? is awkward to say least.”

To read the rest of the article click here


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