Five reasons why quad-biking won’t build your team…

…(and sorry, neither will paint-balling, a Superhero Evening or drumming).

Are you exasperated that your team doesn’t behave like a team? If you’re honest with yourself, do you see petty office politics, people who don’t communicate well, don’t really support each other, won’t share information and won’t take accountability?

If this is the case, you have less of a team and more a bunch of people working alongside each other with a vaguely defined common purpose. This is not helping your organisation (or your bottom line). You’ve acknowledged this is an issue that needs solving, and you may have even tried taking some ‘tricky’ individuals out for lunch. But it’s had no impact on how the team behaves as a whole.

You can see that this needs sorting out and perhaps you’ve decided that you need to take some action. So you may be considering a team-building event of some kind (that goes beyond pizza on a Friday night).

If you google team building events the results are a bit overwhelming. You can literally do anything from the Krypton factor to learning the Haka. That’s not to say that such events can’t be great fun, but if you are genuinely looking for better communication, great team morale, cross referrals and more accountability in the team these events are not the solution to your problem.

Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. You’ll need to find something that appeals to everyone. If you have an entirely young, fit and gung-ho team then they may like the idea of quad-biking, but it only takes one team member to be secretly dreading the day for it to fall short of a ‘team’ event.
  1. Similarly if you opt for something more cerebral such as a quiz or treasure hunt, there will be those who will worry they’ll look a fool in front of their peers, which does nothing for a team dynamic.
  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 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 team members in order to really move on. Quad-biking (or similar) will not deal with the elephants in the room, and they will still be holding the team back the next day.

If you’re really serious about building your team then by all means have a team building event. But while the quad-biking is fun, don’t expect that to resolve the problems. Have a team event that focuses on what’s really going on in the team and deals with the professional challenges and problems that everyone has. And while you may not get to dress as a Superhero, yes it can also be fun.