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Three common misconceptions about team building

|Mar 19|magazine12 min read

For many, just the mention of team-building with co-workers brings on an immediate feeling of dread. Will Gray, managing director at Hidden Door, has proven that this team building is not always dull or pointless. His mission was to create a positive work culture and improve colleague relationships through a fun event that had measureable success.

“Team building sessions can make your company a place where you can achieve great things while having a great time, with others who want the same,” said Gray. “And that investment pays off tremendously: you end up with a company that attracts the best talent, creates excellent products and services, and figures out how to do it better, faster and smarter than the rest.”

Below are three misconceptions about team building identified by Will Gray.

1. The activities are boring

 There’s nothing worse than sitting through a trivia quiz with an emcee duller than dishwater. If a team building activity is boring – the purpose and drive to meet the outcomes of the day are lost. However, a properly-planned & executed team building event will be fun, customized and appropriate for the group, and will be construed as anything but boring.

A positive event is supposed to be lively and innovative, and a carefully designed team building activity will foster a sense of shared success by rewarding employees who go out of their way to help their peers, especially when their personal success is not furthered by providing such assistance. 


2.       A one-day workshop is pointless

Do team building activities really translate into higher productivity and morale in the long run?

A study from the Corporate Leadership Council has found that employees with lower levels of engagement with their organization are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those who are highly engaged. Employee engagement is the emotional glue that bonds an employee to the organization and its goals. The crux of team building activities is to build and strengthen employee engagement.

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A great way to do this is with a CSR experience. Corporate social responsibility initiatives maximize employee engagement through the value of the activity and guarantee a wonderful return on investment. In addition to meeting common objectives around enhanced engagement and communication, team building activities that carry an emphasis towards social responsibility have a profound and rewarding effect.

Nothing brings a team together quicker than having a purpose with a noble cause at heart. Uniting your team around goals that are in everyone’s best interest fosters collaboration and good will.

3.       There’s no way to calculate the outcome

Team building flies in the face of 21st century interaction and communication methods that rely on cell phones and computers.  A successful activity calls on the team’s aptitude to draw upon a variety of backgrounds and experiences that contribute to their ability to effectively carry out the mission, which requires a high level of improvisation and creativity.

Pushing teams with diverse knowledge to work together will be a potentially painful but enriching experiencing. A diverse team is more difficult to manage, but will often generate enhanced outcomes from which your entire organization will benefit. In the long term, if the team building activity was run correctly, management will see a positive change in productivity, employee morale, communication and collaborative effort, especially if the lessons learned are practiced long after the activity has ended.

There’s a strong argument for why large corporations such as Google have well thought out work culture strategies and invest heavily in their employees happiness. The culture of successful corporations is defined by a shared vision of doing good work for a good return in a collaborative manner.

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People want to work for companies that have a culture firmly grounded in a meaningful purpose, offer genuine opportunities to rise through the ranks professionally, provide the chance to work with colleagues they like and respect and provide work that requires them to stretch their minds and skills.

As a managing director, Will has seen many major league corporations take leadership inspiration from team building experiences. “The trends in this industry are constantly evolving and putting an end to the general impression of team building as a stagnant concept. Corporate culture and employee happiness are the most important factors in attracting great employees and keeping them around for a long time.”