Years ago, it was common for company executives and decision makers to snicker at the idea of team building, often downplaying it as hippy-dippy or an excuse for employees to go bowling and get drunk.
Today, team building has become one of the most valuable investments that a company can make--it helps forge strong bonds among team members, opens up communication, reduces conflict and builds trust. That being said, even today a few commonly-held fallacies dissuade companies from pulling the trigger. Here are three misconceptions about team building which should have been retired along with the phablet.
Team Building Sucks
Based on the concept of Total Quality Management (TQM), which found its foothold in Japanese manufacturing in the 1940's, modern team building sets out to both improve connections among people--a growing need around the world--and is designed to bring new perspective, through experiential workshops, so people can be more deliberate, more often in the areas that matter most.
Even though team building has been around for nearly 80 years, one activity in particular has significantly damaged its reputation over the years. Team building has lost its meaning over time due to the proliferation of poorly advised group exercises such as the now comical trust falls.
Bill John, President and founder of Odyssey Teams, Inc. has been providing team building expertise to professionals for over 25 years. He sees a direct link between employee cohesion and profit. "It's about connecting team members with a value of their product and customers. If they can't do that, they can't connect with each other." Team building transforms people, teams, businesses and communities. Who doesn't want to have more meaningful relationships with fellow team members and the mindset to better impact their cohorts?
Millennials Are a Lost Cause
Millennials have been called lazy, entitled and narcissistic while also being blamed for destroying a number of industries. Not only is this generalization misguided, it undermines team cohesion and company culture. Older generations are simply failing to understand Millennials' priorities, one of which is philanthropy. This is why corporate social responsibility (CSR) really resonates with this generation.
Millennials make up a significant percentage of today's workforce, and team building is an effective way to reach and motivate them. It's not that Millennials are opposed to connecting, it's just the delivery method has to be different.
No matter the generation there is always a divide in how the previous generation sees the new generation engage. Our motivations and instincts are all the same but we grow up with different technology, different habits and different social norms.
I'm incredibly personable but I also wear headphones when I go to the grocery store--if I even go to the grocery store because ordering it on my phone is even more convenient.
So make the process more convenient.
Cheap Solutions Are Best
Unless you work for one of the big boys in Silicon Valley, odds are that your company has a finite budget so when it comes to team building, getting the best bang for your buck is logical.
However, companies who skimp on team building are doomed to pay the price in the long run. Sure, your team will probably enjoy visiting an escape room or hearing a guest speaker, but the positive effects of such activities are likely to be minimal at best.
A proper, professional team building experience, on the other hand, forges new and lasting relationships among team members, resulting in long-term, increased overall engagement. In addition, budgeting for a quality team building workshop shows your team that you are invested in them. When employees feel valued by their employers, they are more likely to rise to the challenge when their company really needs them.