Keys to Team Building Success

How to Create Winning Team Building Activities

Team Building Is Most Successful Done Around Work Goals. Sydney Roberts/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Team-building events are often approached by leaders as something that is necessary for employees, work sections, and companies. However, employees usually have the opposite outlook of upcoming team-building activities.

Your goal is to create a work-related lesson from team-building activities. Try to work your business functions into the exercises so that the event is not viewed as a waste of time and has a productive outcome.

Team-Building Imprint

These types of activities can have lasting effects. How they are planned, executed and what is accomplished will leave a permanent impression on your employees. If there is nothing fruitful about your team-building events, employees will pass on to each new hire how much of a waste they are. Leadership will have to work hard to overcome this corporate memory.

If the events are planned and executed in a manner that allows people to learn and work together to improve themselves, employees feel good about themselves and about each other. They will get to know each other better and have a common experience that brought them closer.

Trust is one of the desired outcomes of team-building. Team-building events can be used to build trust, but only if they incorporate trust-building activities within them. If the activities you plan are challenging enough and work-related, the inter-employee trust you hope to build will follow.

Risks of Team-Building Activities

Most team-building sessions help employees become mocking of their organizations. This occurs because the team building events are held outside of the context of a company's culture and method of conducting business.

For example, if you were to send people to a commercial team-building site where they complete tasks as teams, but rewards internal to your company are individually based, the team building event will have wasted time. Your employees would not want to participate in this type of event ever again.

An event that does not use meaningful activities in the workplace will produce dread and resentment. People tend to bond together in times of torment. The bonds that are built will be based on shared misery instead of accomplishment unless there is meaning in the activities.

Forging Team-Building Success

Ensure your company needs to conduct team-building exercises. Companies that don't use teams to complete work can conduct team-building activities, but there should be an verifiable need to do so.

If team building and other offsite events are to offer value, they should incorporate a culture of the relevant business philosophies and values. Including reinforcement of corporate culture in planned activities allows employees to share their perspectives on the culture. It encourages thought, discussion, and hopefully employee buy-in of company leadership philosophies.

It may be a good idea to communicate your view on teamwork through motivational quotes (sent out by email or posted in the form of posters) as a way to inspire your employees to work in unison toward a shared goal.

Approach team failures in an investigative manner, not in an accusatory one. Teams solve problems and improve processes together, or fail together. When a team fails, the approach should focus on finding the processes or decisions that led to the failure, not the failure of an individual in the team.

People that overcome challenges together learn to trust each other faster than people who simply know or work next to one another. You might try to make your team-building exercises more challenging than daily work. Give teams tasks that other teams work on.

Employees will benefit more from facing work-related challenges than climbing an obstacle together. Mountain climbing expeditions might build teamwork, but this approach is much less risky and more beneficial to your business.