Building Teams or Playing Games?
There is a lot of content to comment about in this month’s Forum magazine (Association Forum of Chicagoland), and some of it is pushing my buttons.
Particularly the article about teambuilding. The article argues that fun and interesting team building exercises (ropes course, cooking class, art project, urban adventure, etc.) are “unique but valuable ways to build a team at your organization.”
I don’t buy it.
I think they are unique and probably valuable ways for people in your organization to get to know each other a little better and have fun together. But that does not build a team. It will probably move a team in the right direction, but I highly doubt it will significantly impact team performance.
This was one of the 101 things, by the way, that I wrote about in the We Have Always Done It That Way book. I think game-playing teambuilding activities are fine, but at best people learn a few new things. Building a team is accomplished when the people on the team actually solve the tough problems they face. They may need to learn a thing or two about their group dynamics, communication, trust, etc., but that is more effectively done in the context of the group solving real problems in real time, in my opinion.