When I’ve asked this question to clients, they’ve responded with a broad variety of answers, such as:

–Team building helps people bond
–It raises morale
–It lets us blow off steam
–It allows folks to get to know people with whom they may not work on a regular basis
–It breaks down boundaries that may be keeping people apart

What strikes me about all these answers is the common theme:  behavioral change.    We expect our team building off-sites to effect some kind of change in our staff’s behavior.  For example:

  • If our people are low, we’d like to see their moods raised.
  • If our people are stressed, we’d like to see them become more relaxed.
  • If our people are in cliques, we’d like to see them socializing with people outside of their usual work/social groups.
  • If our people are fighting, we’d like to see them making peace.

As leaders and managers, these are valid, organizational goals!   It’s our job to monitor and boost productivity, which is governed (to a large extent) by the behavior of our team.  So we cajole, we nudge, and we inspire; we change things up, we get people out of the office, and we boost productivity.

It’s no longer good enough to schedule our team building events haphazardly, hoping that an injection of fun will somehow make things better in our office.   In this challenging economy, we have to act with much more intentionality!

As you consider a team building event for your group, please ask yourself these 3 important questions:

1) What is my group’s current level of productivity?
2) What specific behaviors are holding us back?
3) How can an off-site event bring about the new, desired behaviors?

As a thought experiment, imagine that your event is complete and you’ve achieved everything you wanted from the activity.   How are people now feeling (as compared to before)?   What are they doing that they weren’t doing before?

Answering these questions in advance will give you much more bang for your buck the next time you go shopping for a teambuilding provider (like Dr. Clue).