Team Building for Fun and Profit
In a recent forbes.com post, contributor Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E (Ordinary to Exceptional) Brands, called team building "the most important investment" companies can make in their people.
If the term "team building" only conjures up images of awkward corporate events like the annual company picnic or being forced to participate in anxiety provoking trust fall exercises, Scudamore’s hypothesis sounds more like hyperbole than sound management strategy.
However, he speaks the truth. Strong teams are more innovative, collaborative, motivated, productive and, yes, profitable. But teams don't just magically come together like Voltron. It takes effort to turn a group of distinctly unique individuals into a fully functioning organism that operates collectively at the highest level of effectiveness.
That's where intentional team building or team bonding comes in. Through planned activities and shared experiences, teams can get to know — and get comfortable with — one another, discover each other's strengths, and even begin developing a group dynamic based on better communication, more creative ideation, easier conflict resolution and more efficient problem solving.
Taking team building seriously doesn't mean the actual experience has to be serious or overtly corporate, either. To the contrary, having fun, trying new things or being adventurous together can create stronger bonds and boost engagement even higher.
Creative ideas for team building run the gamut from sponsoring your own competitive sports teams (pinball tournament anyone?) to challenging games, action adventures, group activities, employee volunteer programs and straight-up social events like concerts or movie nights.
Use your imagination and then pick the team-building strategies that are the best match for your culture, your people and your goals.
Actually, a really good time to start is right around the corner. January 28 is National Fun at Work Day! According to Dave Hemseth and Leslie Yerkes, coauthors of "301 Ways to Have Fun at Work," "Organizations that integrate fun into work have lower levels of absenteeism, greater job satisfaction, increased productivity and less downtime."
I'm betting they have better teams, too.
Written by: Diane Landsman
Diane Landsman is familiar to many in the HR community as a former editorial director at Human Capital Media. Now an independent communications strategist, writer and editor she helps enterprises educate, engage, influence and sometimes even entertain their audiences. Her specialty is crafting original content across media channels, from websites that attract searchers and keep them engaged to email campaigns, articles that put organizations on the map, and executive-level whitepapers, speeches, and op/ed pieces.