We often hear about teamwork development activities in the office and many of us ask if they really work. This is quite a good question to ask, especially with executives and managers who are not sold to the whole concept of team building programs and activities. There are some programs and activities that simply strengthen the doubts that executives and managers have about them because they are poorly planned and pointlessly executed. However, if these programs and activities were specifically designed to address trust and communication issues, participants will gain more important lessons from them that they can later on apply into the real situations in the office.
The common fault in deploying team building programs and activities is in the lack of proper planning. There are human resources personnel who think and believe that simply getting the team together to engage in fun activities away from the office already equates to successful and effective team building. What they do not understand is this simply increases the motivation of participants and possibly helps strengthen the bonds that they have with a certain few. However, trust and communication issues may not really be addressed, which is the whole point of having this kind of program or activity.
What human resources personnel need to understand is team building is simply not getting participants together. The whole activity or program must be properly planned and designed beforehand so that it addresses specific trust and communication issues that are observed in the work teams. In this way, participants can better realize what needs to be resolved so they can all work together collaboratively and harmoniously so the shared vision and goals can be turned into reality.
Along with this, the success of the program or activity must also be measured. This can be done through having scorecards so that actual results can be compared with the expected results. In this way, human resources personnel can better gauge if the program or activity has indeed served its purposed. Moreover, improvements can be made if there are gaps that still exist. By doing so, precious time, money and effort will not be put to waste on what appears to be a mere substitute to a paid vacation.
Team building programs and activities are more than just getting together and having fun. They are meant to address significant trust and communication issues that keep the team from achieving.