Team-Building is Crap

I spend a few minutes each day contributing to various educational blogs and social media platforms.

In one post on TeachThought, a program provider from Romania lamented that many of their prospects tell them that ‘team-building is crap.’

Here’s an edited extract of my response:

“… in my professional experience, the #1 reason people believe ‘team-building’ does not work is because of a poor previous experience. And in all cases, when these programs are examined more closely, it is clear that the problem was a meaningless approach/rationale behind the program. If people view their ‘team-building’ program as a series of irrelevant exercises, divorced from their workplace or school, etc, then the program ends up just being (at best) an excuse to have a fun time. It is critical that all programs have a philosophical underpinning which provides the glue between the activity and the group’s ability to make sense of what they are doing. There are many philosophical elements, but in brief, I believe there are five key tenets – challenge by choice, valued participation, irresistible fun, a sequence appropriate to the needs of the group and finally, substantive debriefing or processing of the experience (to ensure learning takes place). I think you’ll find that people who refer to ‘team-building as crap’ are referring to programs that are missing at least one if not most of these core elements. For a more elaborate discussion of this philosophical framework go to www.playmeo.com/philosophy …”

In an earlier post, I shared that I’m not a fan of the word ‘team-building’ per se. However, regardless of the term used, why do some people have such a poor opinion of team-building?

What do you say, do you think team-building is crap?


Comments (2)

  1. Jaynie Shultz

    Team building activities can be very effective – provided they are appropriate for that particular group. Event planners and facilitators need to have a good understanding of the particular group, the challenges they face, and the ultimate goal of the activity. Different activities are designed to achieve different results.

    • Mark Collard

      That’s right Jaynie, when the facilitator is very clear of the difference they are going to make, prepares their group well and provides the right sort of environment within which their group can develop their skills, ‘team-building’ can work wonders.

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