Five reasons why paintballing won’t hit the bottom line

Do you worry that one of the reasons you won’t meet your targets is because your team doesn’t behave like a team? Do you feel that you’re constantly on the back foot and unsupported by a group of people who are divisive, won’t share information with each other and won’t take accountability?

If this is the case, you may have thought that the solution to the problem is some kind of team event. You may have even considered booking your team into an event such as paintballing, in the hope that they will have fun together and will bond and behave more like a team when they return to the office.

According to Wikipedia, “paintballing is a game[2][3][4] in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water-soluble dye and featuring a gelatin outer shell (referred to as paintballs) propelled from a device called a paintball marker (commonly referred to as a paintball gun).5][6] Paintball technology is often used by military forces, law enforcement, para-military and security organisations to supplement military training, as well as playing a role in riot response, and non-lethal suppression of dangerous suspect”.

Put like that, you might think paintballing creates an opportunity to settle an old score with someone in the Accounts Department, but that’s probably not the outcome you’re looking for here.

Seriously, although these days can be fun they won’t create the transformation in the behaviour of your team that you’re looking for in the long term. And this is the transformation that you need in your team to help you hit your targets.

Here are 5 reasons why paintballing won’t hit your bottom line:-

  1. Paintballing is unlikely to be an activity that appeals to everyone. All you need is for someone to be secretly dreading the day and already you are undermining the ‘team’ event.
  1. Events such as these don’t address the real problems you can see in the team. Your team members may get to know each other a bit better and have a laugh together, but this doesn’t mean that come Monday morning the team will be any more focused or the team meeting will be any more ‘buzzy’ than it was the previous week.
  1. Team building events rely too much on everyone’s social skills. These are fine in their place, but the key to building a really effective team is to sort out everyone’s professional working skills. Everyone needs to speak the same professional language, understand how delegation works, be able to give honest feedback without offending anyone and be genuinely accountable for how the whole team operates and its results.
  1. It is highly likely that if there are problems with the team that there will need to be some honest conversations between some individual team members in order to really move on. Paintballing (or similar) will not deal with the elephants in the room, and they will still be holding the team back the next day.
  1. As their team leader you will need to be a part of this event in some way. Being a good sport (or indeed being a spoilsport) during a paintballing event may change their view of your leadership but arguably you can achieve so much more, if you hold a team event that actually deals with the real issues and challenges that the team face and want to talk about in a ‘safe’ environment.

If you’re really serious about building your team then by all means have a team building event. Have a team event that focuses on what’s really going on in the team, and deal with the professional challenges and problems that people have that maybe they’re not talking about openly.

Of course you can organise a paintballing event. Just don’t expect that event to resolve the difficult dynamics and challenges that your team has. Paintballing is unlikely to hit your bottom line.