As a business owner or manager, you are always tasked with the why. It is your job to evaluate potential projects or investments to determine why they do or don’t make sense for your company. So, when the topic of Team Building is brought up, it comes as no surprise that we often hear the same question – WHY?
Team Building is Not Team Bonding
Before we get into the benefits of team building, it is important to dispel a myth. Team building is not a day playing paintball. Team building is not a company picnic. Team building is not an ice cream social. These are all examples of team BONDING activities, and, while it is important to boost employee morale from time to time, team bonding does not have the same long lasting positive effect of team building.
“[Team building] offers teams the opportunity for growth, reflection, and potential ongoing learning,” write Stephanie Sibille and Paul Cummings, Adventure Park Insider. “While the [team bonding] refers to fun, recreational programs that may involve networking and rapport building.”
Exploring the WHY of Corporate Team Building
“Team building is the most important investment you can make for your people,” says Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands founder and CEO.
Team building activities are designed for a particular goal or outcome, have a well thought out curriculum designed and facilitated by a trained professional, and every activity is followed by a reflection or debriefing period to discuss outcomes and relate the lessons learned back to the workplace.
“The purpose of team building is to increase trust, improve communication, increase collaboration and increase or maintain motivation,” says Billy Kirsch, Kidbilly Music.
“This is so important,” says Kirsch. “Trust is foundational. When a team has a foundation of trust there’s less second guessing, less duplication of tasks, a high level of confidence and more sharing.”
Meanwhile, without trust there will undoubtedly be less collaboration, less innovation, less creativity, and far less productivity between individuals and within a group. So, how do you foster trust? How do you nurture trust? Theologian Isaac Watts once said, “Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks.”
The solution is team building. It can help break down barriers and get your employees to start trusting one another by putting them in situations that promote problem solving and communication in order to achieve a specific goal. This will help improve teamwork and cohesiveness, and ultimately build trust.
According to studies conducted by MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, communication is one of the most important factors of any business, which makes sense. Communication plays a role in everything you do. “It can be between managers and employees within a company, or between a company and its customers, partners or suppliers,” says Arlette Measures, Houston Chronicle.
So, improved communication is an important aspect of an effective team. In fact, “the general consensus of the executives was that effective communication skills are more important now than ever before for business success,” say researchers James Bennet and Robert Olney, “and these skills will continue to be a critical component of the information society.”
One easy way to constantly improve communication is practice. Good communication is like a muscle. It can be strengthened through hard work. This is where team building comes in.
“When done well, team-building activities can…help build better relationships and increase communication among your team members,” says Lynn Flinn, CPA, president and managing partner of The Rowland Group of Staffing Companies.
“Collaboration is much easier in an environment where there’s trust and good communication,” says Kirsch. “High performing teams collaborate well; easily sharing ideas, brainstorms, successes and failures.”
However, collaboration does not always come easy, even when trust and good communication are present. Sometimes you, as a manager or employer, must urge your employees to work together. But how? Again, the solution is team building.
In 1938, John Dewey wrote that “there is an intimate and necessary relation between the processes of actual experience and education.” What he was referring to is experiential learning. Humans learn better by doing. So instead of lecturing your employees on the value of collaboration, get out of the office and show them the benefits of teamwork.
Presented in a fun and creative way, team building exercises help break down barriers and encourages collaboration amongst your employees as they work together to solve certain tasks.
While team building is not team bonding, there has to be an element of fun. Otherwise, participants would lose interest and the entire program would lose its effectiveness. A day of team building is a great way to get out of the office, get some exercise, and do something meaningful that will not only show your employees that you care, but also help motivate them to work harder and, thus, boosting productivity. It’s what we like to call a win-win!
“But remember, you’ll only get value from a team building experience if it’s well executed,” says Kirsch
Corporate Team Building with Terrapin Adventures
Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized team building or team bonding programs (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to meet the specific needs of your organization.
“We bring people out here from city schools, office workers, people who don’t really know each other that well but just know they work down the hall,” says Matt Baker, Terrapin Adventures Chief Adventure Officer. “Then when they start working as a team and have to support each other with these challenges, it’s something really cool we’ve developed.”
Get in touch with a Guest Relations Specialist today and ask about how we can help you plan your team building event.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.