We’ll get straight to the answer: don’t do team building!
Typical team building usually ends up being morale boosting, or camaraderie building: games played with team mates for fun.
Fun is good, so is morale and camaraderie, but in the long run, they are not hard skills to get you to an extraordinary team.
Extraordinary teams rock their teaming skills: things like communication and collaboration. That’s where you need to put your team building dollars – on skills that actually move your teaming process forward: do team development.
Name a sports team that only invests in fun, morale and camaraderie, rather than their people becoming better at core skills for the game. Of course, no team does that. They focus on skill development. So ask yourself, what specific skills does my team/leadership need developed? Get granular.
The top skills for excellence are always communication and collaboration (see data below). However, you might also focus on trust development, managing tough conversations (EQ), problem solving, innovation, and critical thinking.
When you spend money on team-building, you may not get those foci; you need to ensure that training overtly brings these skills to the learning process (and experientially is the best way to build and sustain the skills).
The trainer/s must demonstrate that their process actively develops the skills – not by chance, by design.
Wondering whether to even invest in skill development for collaboration and communication?
Intuitively, yes – and here’s real data:
See the infographic below for the full scoop.
The data is clear. Spend money on team development that builds skills – that gets your people to practice what they really need to be extraordinary. The infographic below has the link for two easy-to-execute simulations that do just that: develop concrete skills for collaborative and excellently communicative teams.
So don’t waste your money on team building – do team development. The fun can (and will) happen later.