Why Is Team Building Important? If you’re considering a team building event you may be asking yourself this question. And if you’re not asking, you’ll probably be asked by your boss or a colleague.
Regardless of whether you’re asking or have been asked, it makes sense to know the answer. Figuring out if something you’re going to put time and money into is important, (a/k/a valuable or worthwhile) is well…important!
We all know team building can be fun or dumb – motivational or uninspiring. Even when a team program ends up being fun and motivational, quite often everyone will spend a few days before the actual program day dreading it. Sometimes the best you can hope for is reactions like, “that wasn’t so bad”, “better than I thought it would be”.
I want to highlight two things here –
- With all the resistance you may face, you need to be able to confidently answer when asked, “is team building important?”
- There are really fun, engaging, not so horrible team programs out there so you can change the conversation. More on that later.
Defining your goals for team building
If you’re trying to figure out if team building is important you need to know what the purpose of the activity is. What is the reason something has value? Here’s a guide to help you understand the purpose of team building in general.
So assuming you can buy into the fact that there are several valid purposes for team building you now have to figure out if it’s important for your organization. Here’s an article with five steps to optimizing team performance. Each of the five steps name valuable attributes every successful team should have.
But these five aren’t the only valuable attributes. In fact, you need to be aware of the key elements for success that relate to your your specific organizational structure and your industry or line of work.
Let’s say that trust is important between you and your colleagues. Let’s say that creativity is important. Let’s say that open communication is important. You’ve now identified three valuable qualities that should exist between members of your team in order for you to succeed and thrive.
If you can find a program that helps develop your three qualities, in this case creativity, communication and trust, would that team building be important? I think so.
The problem a lot of organizations have with team building is that they engage in an activity without understanding what they want to accomplish. So to succeed, first define your goals.
What’s Important For Your Team?
Here’s how to plan for a successful team program –
- Make a list of five qualities your team members need to perform at their best. For my company five qualities are:
- Creativity, initiative, independence, trust, accountability.
- Begin your search for a team building program that can speak to the qualities you’ve identified by doing this:
- Ask friends and co-workers if they know of any good programs
- Search online using some of your qualities as search terms. For example, you could search for ‘creative team building’ or ‘trust team building’
Without Engagement There’s Nothing!
Using the list of possibilities you’ve hopefully created by now, contact perspective team building providers. Take time to speak with them and make sure they hear your needs. You have to decide if their program will be a good fit. I’d ask every perspective facilitator, “Is team building important” & “Why will it be important/valuable for my crew?” Make them explain how they provide value.
Ask them how their program addresses what’s important for your team’s success using the qualities you’ve identified using the steps above. Assuming there’s a possible match, make sure whatever you do includes this –
- It Must Be Fun – Fun is the opposite of boredom. If you’re having fun, you’re into it…engaged and enthusiastic. Shared fun brings people together and builds trust.
- Outside Your Box – Choose a program that challenges. You have to balance challenge with fear. A good program will challenge everyone while ensuring that everyone will be successful at the endeavor. This needs to be positive!
- Authentic And Engaged – I explain to my clients that we don’t ‘pull’ you into our programs, we ‘draw’ you in. An authentic experience will draw everyone in so they’re truly engaged. Learning happens when we’re engaged in active participation – in the doing! Make sure the program you choose enables you and your colleagues to drive the experience. You don’t want to be passive participants.
Team Programs That Work
Let’s talk about virtual. Is virtual team building important too? Can an online program meet your goals? Can it be fun, engaging and valuable?
We obviously been doing mostly virtual team building since the pandemic started and with dozens and dozens of programs under our belts, I can wholeheartedly say virtual is valid. Use the same criteria I’ve outlined above to find great online programs.
I have a strong preference for virtual programs that are actively led in real time. Check out these three programs:
- Story Slams – These are fantastic, both face to face and virtual. They work because everyone interacts, becoming a story teller. And the program is actively led by a real person in real time
- Painting Programs – Again, actively led, hands on experience both virtually and F2F. Everyone just needs to get supplies ahead of time
- Team Building Through Song® – Yes, that’s me so a bit of bias. But last week on a Zoom program someone mentioned that it was so good virtually, they couldn’t imagine doing it F2F. And that’s weird because we’ve only been doing virtual this year, but hey I’ll take any kind of compliment.
Here are more ideas –