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Why Traditional Team Building Activities
Don't Work

Team Building Activities

Team building is designed to bring groups of people, usually coworkers or family members, closer together. It is meant to help them see each others' value in the group, and the talents individuals bring toward achieving common goals. But traditional team building activities do not work for most people. Today's teams need to get more creative in building unity.

According to experts, team building activities fail for multiple reasons. These can include individual causes of the failure or a "perfect storm" of combined issues. Those reasons for failure include those listed below.

They Do Not Sense a Compelling Team Purpose

For team building activities to work, the team must feel compelled to be part of the group. They need a common vision or shared goal in order to work past roadblocks to reach targets. The more compelling the purpose, the more likely they are to work as a unit.

The Process Is Irrelevant

Many companies and other groups try team building but fail to have a purpose in that effort. They do not see that fun activities do not necessarily improve team bonds. Participants certainly have fun, but they do not enrich individual or group relationships. These activities also do not help them learn how to work together. Your team building should help you understand the current team position and where you want to be as a team.

The Activities Neglect Intention

Your team-building exercises are more likely to succeed in enriching the team if participants are willing to embrace the process. Everyone must have the same intentions and a primary goal with the ultimate purpose of building mutual trust. Trust is the biggest breaking point in failing teams, just as building trust enhances teams. In team building, trust starts by accepting the intention of the event and willingly participating to achieve the goals.

Focusing on One Individual

Team building will not be successful if you enable one individual to disrupt the process. Sadly, uncooperative, stubborn and self-centred people tend to create problems in these exercises. When the process must focus on fixing one member before the group can proceed, that individual needs a separate coach.

Competing Against Each Other

Many team-building groups forget that the goal is not to "win" against one another but to work together and build trust. People never learn as they should when competing.

Neglecting Team Insight

Many heads put together are smarter than just one. Any team will outperform its smartest member when group members all work together. Teams participating in team-building frequently forget this, although team building is meant to be about the team.

Revisiting the Past and Not Considering the Future

No relationship works if its people focus on past occurrences. A team should not look to past behaviours or events to define its purpose. Instead, they should ask themselves what they must do now to achieve goals.

Team Building Activities

Seek New Alternatives to Old Fashioned Team Building

Times change, and so should your team-building methods. Look for alternatives to traditional team building, such as those that require full group participation, individual engagement, logic and time constraints. It is important to not waste time trying to revisit the past but to focus on finding ways to work together for well-defined goal achievement. Put aside time-wasting, build trust, work together and utilize individual talents on a common task to truly move things forward. By doing so, your team members will automatically harness group power and build trust for greater on-the-job performance in the future.


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