You have probably heard about team building as a strategy used to boost productivity. You have probably used it as a tool ―especially if you have responsibilities in the field of human resources― or you might be considering this option. You may even have participated in a session. However, what is team building, exactly?

Before we go on, we invite you to do a short exercise with us:

  • Open a new tab in your browser and google “Team building”. You will probably have to scroll over a heterogeneous catalogue of ads before finding several definitions of team building. If you read a few of them ―you do not need to, we will offer you a spoiler― you will see that we can summarize it as an activity or a set of activities aimed at improving cohesion in work teams and to boost their productivity. Please, do not close the tab!
  • If you have followed our instructions in the previous paragraph, please, click on the image section of the search results. Ta-dah! Welcome to a wonderful, colourful world full of people and figures hugging each other, shaking hands, building human pyramids, skydiving…

Yes, all these images can suggest different activities related to team building but, as you can see, we have opened this post with a question. And no, we are not going to question the benefits of team building ―we work in this field!― but, as serious professionals, we would like to clarify some points.

What can a team building session offer?

In other words, what are we doing a team building session for?

As we have said before, a team building session ―or a certain number of sessions― can help to improve the cohesion and productivity of a work team. It will also help to create synergies between people from different teams that would hardly spark without this kind of activities. These reasons alone can be decisive to assign resources to team building, but a well-organized approach can offer many other benefits.

We can obtain extremely valuable information just by observing how the activity is executed. Here are some examples:

  • We can monitor how our co-workers act when they are out of the office context and, therefore, out of their comfort zone.
  • We can detect potential leaders ―who might not hold this position in our organization chart― and also “mere observers” ―who sometimes can hold a leading position. These data will be very useful in the future to take decisions about our organization and our collaborators.

As we have seen up to this point, team building seems to offer nothing but benefits. Brian Scumadore ―founder and CEO of O2E (Ordinary to Exceptional) Brands―, writing about team building in a post for Forbes, describes it as “the most important investment you can make for your people”. (Note that he writes “investment”, not “expense”).

And yes, we share the statement, but there is one detail we must keep in mind: the choice of this kind of activities must arise from a good analysis and an adequate planning. Nowadays, we have a wide range of options and prices at our disposal, from cheap to stratospheric, because paragliding can be a team building activity, but the same can be said of enjoying a paella on the beach!

Therefore, before we choose an activity because it is attractive, because the company of someone we know did it, or because we have received an offer, it is crucial to think seriously if that is the activity our team ―and our organization― require.

We will explain you what we consider to be the key elements of team building very soon.

If you wish to get more information on the subject or suggest a topic for future posts, or if you want to tell us about your experience, please leave a message below.