I am just coming off Twitter and the thread #teambuilding and I posted up three questions to different threads.
One was about Dragon Boat Racing. Another was about Laser Tag. And the last was about a Murder Mystery. All of these are positioned as "teambuilding events" but I see them as a lot less team BUILDING and a lot more team BONDING.
My questions are simple:
I will be interested to read the comments to my simple questions from the people who posted those tweets. If these things CAN relate to real workplace improvement issues, wonderful. And I trust that the professionals who deliver these programs are able to make that leap recognizable and actionable by the participants.
But I really wonder if they are simply fun kinds of things, and if the Most Senior Managers of those participating organizations will actually see the expense as a worthwhile investment in organizational development and operational effectiveness.
(BTW, this is my first blog within this system, so I am figuring out how this works.)
Apologies for the clunkiness...
I had to laugh when my friend Anne Thornley-Brown used this image in one of her articles about bad teambuilding. So, I took the picture and added a little commentary.
The question is simple. We have a company spending money (and often a LOT of money) and putting their people somewhat at risk of injury (and one wonders what kind of legal agreement they have to sign to participate) and then doing things that seem to have NO link to anything that actually happens in a workplace. And somebody calls this "A Team Building Event."
Does ANYTHING change as a result of this day spent running around? Can all of the people in the organization participate equally and contribute to the overall desired outcome? Or, is this only for the physically fit? (Does blindfolding a blind person really work?)
What I hope to do within this website and blog is slightly alter how so many of these activities are viewed. FUN? Why not. But then don't call it team building because the expectation of senior management will be that something should change as a result of the effort.
I remember a client talking about their firewalk and how memorable it was -- but when I asked this senior HR manager about the ROI from that big expense, he just looked at me blankly.
Let's go Go-Kart Racing! That would be fun and I would love for someone else to pay for that. Can I get a hot dog, too?