Why Team Building Activities Waste Money

The title alone may have ruffled the feathers of many consultants and HR folks. That being said, yes, team building is a waste of money if it’s being done as a pacifier to the actual problem your business is facing. In fact, there’s about a 99.9% likelihood that your team building efforts are going right down the drain.

I get a ton of phone calls and emails from clients asking me to come in and facilitate a team building event or workshop. The call usually goes something like this… “Our engagement is down and we need an experience that will boost morale, help people feel valued, increase energy, and improve the way we work together. You know, help us become more collaborative, energized, and successful as a team.” My response, “And you want to accomplish all this in a team building session?” Client response, “Yes. How much will it cost?”

Okay, back the bus up. If people aren’t engaged, feeling valued, and currently not working together effectively as a team, throwing them all together in a room for a mandatory team building session will only further the problem. In fact, you may even turn everyone into a bunch of angry birds on the hunt for their last meal. That being said, there are effective solutions to your team building challenges, and the solutions won’t send your money down the drain.

Here are four solutions that get to the root of your team building challenges. Address the root of your engagement and collaboration problem, and watch your team turn into a haven of productivity without the need for a costly team building session. Once you get the real problem fixed, then have a team building event to celebrate.

  • Get your leaders functional.
    Getting your leaders functional means that every leader in your business needs to “show up” to the workplace living high-character values. Values that include: Mindfulness, freedom, truth, creative expression, compassion, integrity, forgiveness and responsibility. Your leaders set the stage for the culture of your business. If leaders aren’t showing up with high-character values, your business will continue to struggle with engagement and team collaboration–period.
  • Have a vision that everyone knows.
    If people don’t know exactly where the business is going and how it plans to get there, they will remain in a constant state of discontent and confusion–a breeding ground for low morale, poor collaboration, and frustration. A vision is not a mission or purpose. A vision is the specific destination a business is heading. People can’t get motivated to work together and move a business forward if they have no idea where the business is going.
  • Make sure people trust your internal communications.
    Here’s a trap that’s easy to fall into. For many businesses internal communications has turned into “spin central”. When communication is sent to the masses, people have become trained to read between the lines for the true message. Trust is the ultimate team builder. Make sure your messages are transparent and real–ditch the PR spin.
  • Allow people to freely express themselves.
    Stop trying to control everything. If your business still requires fifty signatures from executives in order to move anything forward, you’re most likely suffering from engagement and collaboration issues. Again, at the core of a strong team is trust. Turning everyone into paper pushers while only a select few at the top have strategic power, will squelch any hope of having a dynamic team. Create a work environment that engages brilliance from all levels.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

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