So you’ve got all the individual parts. You’ve got your exceptional accounts expert, a supreme sales squad, engineers that wouldn’t look out of place beside Geordi LaForge, and admin officers who exactly how, where, and when to cross every t and dot every lower case.
Despite all this though, something is missing. That something is the difference between working alongside one another and working as a team. To make a team, there is often no substitute for some good old fashioned corporate team building. To find the best way to make that work, when planning just what it is you want to do in terms of team building activities, consider these three factors first and foremost.
When arranging a good team building exercise of some kind, the first thing it needs to be is difficult and demanding. A task that’s too easy will not only be that most deadly thing to a team event, boring, it also has the potential to be something that only one person could accomplish by themselves. That result would be completely anathema to what a good team building exercise sets out to achieve, and you could end up with greater divisions in the team than you started with.
Equally, however, balance is important. A task that is too hard will breed a different kind of resentment. Partially at the person who organized it and selected the game, but more likely people will start to turn against each other. This could emerge as people conclude that the problem is not the game itself, but rather that somebody isn’t pulling their weight. Challenge is an essential component to a good team building exercise, but challenge past the point of reasonableness will just upset more than bond. Find the balance, and your team will be well set for working together in the future.
A good team building exercise goes far beyond just requiring that a group of people in a team all have to do the same thing to accomplish a goal. If a team is actually forced into a situation where they have to support each other, rather than the exercise just being a question of needing sheer increased numerical strength, it instead becomes an exercise in actual factual collaboration. Where one party needs the other to act in manner X, so that their own actions in form Y can progress actors Z, A, and B towards the final goal.
To see this expertly demonstrated in action, consider the very successful PC gaming phenomenon of “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”. This is a two-player co-operative game, but only one computer is needed, and it doesn’t involve split-screen or other forms of local co-op play. Instead, player one sits at the computer, while player two is stationed across the room, within earshot but outside visual range of the screen, and holding a paper document.
That document is a bomb defusal manual, written in such a way that each and every one of the modules a hypothetical bomb on the screen of player one can be disarmed. But player two can’t see the screen, and player one can’t see the manual. The only way they can work is by talking and describing. Everything from how many black wires there are, to the number of batteries, to the Morse code patterns of blinking light. Once a good rhythm is developed, and everyone keeps talking, no one will explode.
A game that is designed with care, consideration, and an understanding of all the parties strengths and weaknesses will mean that collaboration is indeed required. When that happens, and a team feels they have accomplished something together that could not have been done alone, true magic can happen.
Team building events are often seen as a kind of naff, absurd, and cheap entertainment, but there is a definite method to the madness involved in this process. The reasoning behind the absurdity is for everyone to relax, lower their inhibitions, and have some fun. The increasingly absurd themes employed by team building companies are chosen to take people as far out of their normal everyday as they possibly can, so that in the wake of a big change experienced by everyone, something weird, different, and bizarre can leave people with a fun-filled experience that is shared by all the staff, together.