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Team Bonding or Team Building?

"We need some team building. What can we do? I know, let’s go bowling? How about go-karts? Nah, let’s just go out for Happy Hour!"

Companies often come to us looking for Team Building experiences. We ask them what other activities they have done in the past and we hear, “bowling, go-karts, laser tag, drinking.” All fun activities. Really fun activities. But then we ask them what their objectives are for this ‘team building.’ “Well, we are having communication issues,” “We are looking to see which of our new hires is a natural leader,” “There seems to be a problem with projects getting done on time and we are not sure why.” The list of objectives goes on and on. Hmm, there seems to be a disconnect here.

Those FUN activities are great when you want your team to bond more, to get to know one another on a social level - and don’t get me wrong, that is important for a successful team. But how do they BUILD your team other than that? True Team Building requires that the team work together in some way to accomplish something: scale a wall, build a bridge, find all of the hidden objects, escape the room.

Individually, none of you will get out of the room; but together, well, you’ve got a chance to escape.

When you enter the escape room or when you start a new project no one has any idea what you are going to have to do in order to solve it. And as the saying goes, “It’s scary going it alone.” But you don’t have to – not in the escape room and not in the workplace.

The definition of a team is ‘a group of people, with complementary skills, a common goal and a shared responsibility.’ Today let’s focus on the first part of that

– A GROUP OF PEOPLE. Why a team rather than individuals on a project? What is the benefit?

One of the main reasons to work in teams is in order find more creative solutions to problems. We see this all the time. Someone finds something in the room and can’t figure it out, or doesn’t know what to do with it. So they turn to someone else and ask for their input. Now the team is on it. Or the project itself requires so much work one person can’t do it alone. So they ask for someone to help. Yup – that is what is known as collaboration. It is the reason why we create teams in the workplace – to have someone to bounce ideas off of, to share responsibilities, and even to make people feel a part of something. Because it is not just play that brings people together, working together inspires a sense of community, of family. And isn't that what we want from our teams?

Answer Key: Team Building is Team Bonding – even though Team Bonding may not be Team Building.

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