Why Team Building: Improve team cohesiveness

Event planners, managers, facilitators, or anyone else involved in planning a team building event inevitably face the question asked by C-level execs, comptrollers, or stakeholders:  “Why do team building? What are the benefits, and is it worth the time and money we spend?”

We're addressing this question in a series of blogs focused on the benefits of team building. Last week we showed how team building improves communication and participation.This week:  improving team cohesiveness.

Working together to build a bike, uncover clues in a museum or coming up with silly slogans to raise money for charity do not at first seem "practical" in the slightest bit. But these activities create bonds between team members they would otherwise not obtain - connections that carry forth into the day-to-day workplace. This has been borne out in several post-event debriefs and client follow-up interviews I have conducted and may be one of the most significant benefits of team building.

Here’s an example to illustrate the point. At the start of every team building event, we devise a random method to divide the large group into smaller teams for the competitive games that lie ahead. Usually we select a method that gets people involved quickly in some silly fashion. For example, everyone on a given team must find each other in the group by doing their best imitation of a duck, while another group must bay like wolves. Itʼs energizing, funny, and at the same time - because of its overt silliness - bonding for the team.

The point is, once we start to organize participants into teams - no matter how random our selection method - group cohesion begins almost immediately. This team cohesion is reinforced throughout the series of games and challenges in which participants engage during the event. The team bonds forged over the next few hours translate directly into stronger “real world” relationships - and “real world” benefits.

Next week:  reducing and managing conflict.



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