Are you Wasting Money on your Team Building Program?

Team building tends to come under a lot of scrutiny when it comes time to look over the monthly/quarterly/annual budget. Often times, team building is the first thing businesses will cut when it’s time to lower costs. In other instances, businesses devote a ton of time, resources, and money into team building yet they yield little to no results in areas such as performance and productivity. All this to say, it’s seemingly easy to feel like you’re wasting money on team building.

And as for the question of whether or not your business is wasting money on team building, the answer is probably: yes. But that is not because team building in it of itself is a waste of money, it is because your business is not doing it efficiently and effectively.

Best practices in team building

asian woman speaking to group while pointing at sticky notesJust like in most parts of a business, there are inefficient practices, and there are best practices. The same holds true with team building. But here’s the kicker … most businesses practice team building inefficiently, even successful ones.

If your company’s team building is typically centered around activities like attending a baseball game, or a company-wide happy hour, you are not getting the most efficient use out of your team building budget. There is a science to team building that most businesses choose to neglect in favor of fun and enjoyable experiences with their coworkers.

This post will serve not only to identify flaws in your current team building program, but to say you can have a fun and enjoyable team building experience while also using the science of team building to drive an increase in productivity.

What’s wrong with our current team building program?

Chances are, your current team building program suffers from one of two problems:

  • You’re spending too much and not getting enough out of team building OR
  • You’re spending too little (or maybe close to the right amount) and not seeing results

If either of these are issues at your company I have good news for you. Your business has already identified team building as a worthy investment – it is simply being done inefficiently.

So how do you team build efficiently? Let’s turn to the experts.

What team building experts say about team building

group putting hands in middle of circleExperts suggest that at its core, team building is about improving on individual skills and behaviors. After all, teams are made up as a group of individuals. The best teams have individuals that are fantastic critical thinkers and problem solvers. The ability for individuals to think creatively about a problem or circumstance they face during a project can greatly boost the team’s ability to successfully complete the project.

So how do you increase an individual’s ability to think critically and problem solve? Just as with any other skill – practice makes perfect. You have to do team building activities that directly challenge your coworkers’ critical thinking skills. This means avoiding the cliché team building activities and putting some thought into how you spend your team building time!

What team building activities do you suggest?

The easiest way to improve critical thinking through a team building activity is to simulate situations in which you’re forced to think creatively to solve a problem. For example, let’s do a quick exercise answering the simple question: what can you do with a cinder block?

Of course you can use cinder blocks for construction, or you can use it as a counterweight, but what else? You could fill it with soil and use it as a flower pot, you could use it as a stepping stool, you could use them as free weights to work out … you get the idea. This, or a similar question can be used as a good icebreaker to get your team ready to problem solve!

You’d like your team building activity to be done in the same vein as the cinder block exercise. Perhaps hiring a guest speaker to lead a discussion about company values, and potentially creating some more values to best fit your company’s vision, would be a great critical thinking exercise.

We’re a bit biased, but Team Building Kits is also a great option to encourage better problem solving skills in your office. Team Building Kits places your team into a stressful situation, and team member must communicate and think critically to achieve the desired outcome.

Whatever team building activity you decide on, implementing aspects of critical thinking and problem solving are essential to seeing tangible results from team building. Don’t waste anymore money on ineffective team building and think critically when deciding on your next activity!

Looking for a team building activity that will challenge your coworkers? Try Team Building Kits!