Building a better team

Team building is so much more than a company picnic and various activities with hula-hoops. To really make the most of your team building investment, it needs to be a considered and planned experience.

Okay, so maybe skydiving is a bit of an extreme example, but companies all around the world are continuing to invest in team building activities—some well, others not so well.

In some circles, team building exercises and activities get a bad wrap. The American sitcom, The Office, plays on this stereotype when the overbearing manager, Michael, forces his staff to engage in awkward and ridiculous tasks like sumo wrestling and hot dog eating contests.

But, despite its reputation, team building is the most important investment an organisation can make for its people. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which means a better company culture and a boost to the bottom line.

While you don’t necessarily have to break the bank, it’s important not to skimp on team building activities and take the time to seriously consider what your people need to help them perform at their peak.

Half hearted approaches are likely the inspiration for Micheal’s team building antics in The Office and the last thing you want is for your team building day or escape to become the butt of a joke.

Proven results

Team building exercises and activities are proven—through extensive scientific research—to provide the support and development that a working group needs to succeed. A comprehensive study, titled Does Team Building Work? found that team building ‘interventions’ had a proven impact on role clarification, goal setting, interpersonal relations, and problem solving.

“Of all organisational interventions, those that focus on team development had the largest effect on measures of financial performance,” the study reads.

In order to make team building work and create the outcomes the study describes, it needs to be effective. Choosing an activity that suits your goals and your people will ensure that your staff feel the results and your budget is well spent.

BridgeClimb’s ‘Climb Then Dine’ is a unique experience that brings colleagues closer together

BridgeClimb is recognised within the events industry for creating exceptional team experiences. Whether your objective is to motivate or reward your team, entertain key clients or celebrate an occasion, BridgeClimb’s ‘Climb Then Dine’ package is the ultimate bonding experience. The Climb combines goal setting with overcoming fears and working as a team to provide a sense of achievement whilst taking in 360 degrees of unforgettable views as you scale one of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks.

The Climb is followed by two hours of food and beverages to celebrate at a choice of harbourside venues.Every Climb includes a group photograph, BridgeClimb cap, certificate of achievement, and free entry to the Pylon Lookout. Corporate packages also include a BridgeClimb event coordinator, your company logo displayed on photos, certificates and welcome screens, and free use of BridgeClimb’s Cinema and Visitor Centre event space for pre or post-Climb entertainment.

What makes team building effective?

An effective team building exercise all comes down to planning.

Just like managing a company conference or event, making the right decisions in the planning stage will make or break a team building endeavour. Here are some things to consider:

  • Know your goals. Any successful conference or meeting has a desired outcome—new ideas, better collaboration or simple R&R. Knowing what you want to achieve with your team building activity will help determine what you want your team to experience.
  • Be willing to make a real investment. An important factor in making team building work is to make a sincere investment. You don’t have to spend big, but cutting corners or skimping out on different elements to save a few dollars isn’t going to work. The outcomes of a team building exercise are proven to make the money back, but only if it’s done right.
  • Make it an experience. Even though you have a goal in mind and an outcome you need to achieve—it needs to be achieved naturally. Overtly including your goal into an exercise takes away from the magic of an experience and will have eyes rolling before lunch. An authentic, shared experience that is related to your goal or desired outcome is the way to go. Just like an event, it’s all about creating a genuine experience that penetrates the subconscious—generating a feeling, rather than a handbook of skills.
  • Know your people. Understanding your teams’ limitations, areas that need strengthening or talents that can be activated is essential in picking what activities will serve your goal. Also, to use an extreme example, if you want to empower a team member and help them get over a fear of heights, perhaps abseiling or a fun zipline is more appropriate than skydiving. It’s okay to push people out of their comfort zone, but think scary, not bone-shakingly terrifying.
  • Carry the experience into everyday office life. Team building is proven to have direct results on a team’s productivity—but carrying the lessons learned or the experience back into the office with follow up activities, or even just sharing photos of the event will keep the experience front of mind and help keep spirits and productivity high.

Team building is the most important investment you can make in your people. But doing it right is much more sophisticated than a game of tug-o-war at a company picnic. Taking a considered approach to what outcomes you want to achieve, then creating an experience that has a real emotional impact is the way to get the most bang for your buck.