What Makes a Good Team? Part Three: Communication


There is no perfect team. But there is a recipe for success – many similar characteristics shared by effective teams, independent of industry or function. Throughout this blog series, we will take a closer look at each of these characteristics, explore why each is important, and provide you with ways to instill and improve each characteristic within your own team.

Part Three: Encourage Open Communication

We briefly touched on this in Part Two, but a good team requires good communication across all levels. Communication plays an important role in every aspect of business, taking many forms: written, verbal, and nonverbal. The ability to communicate clearly is critical, and yet it is something that many companies take for granted.

Why is Communication so Important?



com·mu·ni·ca·tion \kə-ˌmyü-nə-ˈkā-shən\

  1. the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else
  2. a message that is given to someone : a letter, telephone call, etc.

In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm, reported that companies which communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the Watson Wyatt noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.” Conversely, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration (just another word for communication and teamwork) for workplace failures.

“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.”

Communication Takes Work

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”

– Tony Robbins

One easy way to constantly improve communication is practice. This is where Terrapin Adventures comes in. Our team building programs are customized to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with. We will give your employees a crash course in communication.

“Team building activities should be designed, planned, executed and monitored so as to create synergy, increase skills and knowledge, create organizational flexibility, provide members satisfaction and allow members freedom to participate in decision making and implanting changes,” write researchers Jacqueline M. Omuya, David M. Kungu, Leonard S. Mulongo, and Dedan O. Ong’anya.3

Our team team building activities challenge groups to break down communication barriers and work together to solve certain problems. In one such activity – The Labyrinth – your team will be tasked with a very simple mission: get the ball from Point A to Point B without falling through any holes. Simple enough, right? You probably played a similar game as a child – only on a much smaller scale. You had to get a tiny metal ball through a maze without dropping it into a hole — this is that same game, only it requires a few more people and a different kind of ball.

Labyrinth is great for teaching good communication skills and showing how one small movement can change the whole game. How will your team handle this challenge? Will they work together and succeed or will they struggle to communicate? Who will take on leadership roles?

After the exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind what they just did. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

Physical Activity: Easy

Equipment: Labyrinth, Ball

The Labyrinth is just one example of the many different team building exercises that Terrapin Adventures uses to help your team reach their full potential. Each of our team building exercises is fun but challenging, designed to make your employees stop, think, communicate, adjust their plan of action on the fly, and ultimately fail once or twice before succeeding. Get in touch with a Guest Relations Specialist today and ask about how we can help you plan your team building event.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited:

  1. Bennett, J. C., and R. J. Olney. “Executive Priorities for Effective Communication in an Information Society.” Journal of Business Communication 23.2 (1986): 13-22. Web.
  2. Omuya, Jacqueline M., David M. Kungu, Leonard S. Mulongo, and Dedan O. Ong’anya. “Effects of Team Building on the Performance of Employees in Organizations towards the Realization of Millennium Development Goals: A Survey of Selected Banks in Eldoret Town.”International Journal of Current Research. Web.
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