Team building is a huge waste of money – if you make this mistake

By June 6, 2016 Insights

Man-Holding-Plate-of-FoodQuick, think of the best dinner you had five years ago. Remember the food? The company? Heck, do you remember the name of the restaurant?

OK, you can stop. You’ll get weird looks if you keep making faces like that.

Now, see if you can remember the last great team building event you attended. I’m not just talking about your garden-variety company picnic – I mean an experience you had in your career that really made you feel unified with your coworkers. An event that inspired you to achieve more as a person and as a professional.

What does a fine-dining dinner have in common with a team building event? In both cases, you’re going to spend at least $75 a head. And to be worth the time and money, both experiences should be ones you remember for years to come.

Spend wisely 

So when is team building a waste of money? When it isn’t organized and it’s not conducted with a laser focus on the outcome. Every activity, every discussion in a team-building effort – all of it must have an end goal. If the event doesn’t have a clearly stated objective, complete with actionable items that your team can take back to their jobs and utilize, you’ve wasted not just money, but time.

Yeah, we didn’t get to that part yet. In addition to the event cost, there’s that little matter of having your executive team – or perhaps your entire company – not working for half a day, or an entire day. That’s payroll not selling, not making, not managing, for four to eight hours. Therefore, the only reasonable way to justify taking your whole company offline for hours on end is if you reap the benefits many times over in the form of higher-performing employees across the board.

How do you get laser focused?

You want team members to leave your meeting or event with more knowledge, more energy, more motivation and more meaningful relationships than when they arrived. More than sending a message, it’s about making your people want to receive the message.

Too many companies miss a critical element in their team-building activities: energy. Lectures aren’t any more enticing now than they were in school. You engage your people and promote energy by getting them out of their seats and interacting with one another. Team building has the word “building” in it – and in this case, it’s a verb. A verb of action. Nobody builds anything sitting and listening to someone speak, unless it’s a rubber band ball.

After you’ve planted the seeds, you’ll also need to provide food and water to make them grow. In this case, nourishment comes in the form of reinforcement. You could put together a video recap of the event, a collection of written pointers, a photo collage – however you do it, remind your team of what they learned and how they felt leaving the event. If you did it right, it’s something they’ll remember for years – way longer than even the nicest steak dinner.

CultureShoc can help you get your money’s worth out of every team building event. For more information, call us at (844) 336-SHOC.

Ron Kaminski

Author Ron Kaminski

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