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To Teambuild or Not To Teambuild

I have worked in the event industry for over 20 years and in that time the phrase ‘team building’ has gone from being a buzz word, to a swear word and back again.  Interest in team ‘building’ has seen an increase in the last 3 years as a new generation of professional workers need to find ways in which to spend time with their colleagues that does not revolve around a boardroom table or Skype meeting.

(As a note here, I don’t much like the phrase team building.  Team is accurate but building suggests that 2 hours of activity will be enough to build a team.  For the rest of this article I will refer to this as team experience.  This is far more accurate as it is allowing a team to have a shared experience.)

One of the challenges of this resurgence in popularity is the broad range of activities available – do you choose an experience in a city centre that caters for groups?  Do you retreat to a hotel and have some activities laid on for your group?  Do you ask someone like Fruitful Team Events to bespoke design an event for you?

The answer lies in really considering your group – what do they enjoy?  What pushes them out of their comfort zone (even a small move can mean you provide a level playing field for everyone in the group)?  What motivates them?  And, most critically, what are you wanting to get out of the event?

Taking the latter question (as the former ones are personal to your group), experience tells us that one of the following three answers fits most groups:

– you want them to have something to ‘do’ in groups where they mix with people that they don’t know as well

– you need to fill some downtime within a larger meeting or event

– you want to treat the team to something fun and exciting that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience

Once you have answered the above, any team event company worth their salt should be able to suggest products that they offer or something in the local area that would fit the bill for you.

Please don’t let that be the last of it though – make sure you garner feedback after the event.  Did it suit your group?  Did it do what you wanted it to?  What could be done differently the next time around?  A quick debrief will not only help you establish some useful feedback but will also make your job next time round a whole heap easier.

Julia Phillips

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