Great teams are built as they collaboratively solve their work problems, not team-building exercises with content that is irrelevant to their work.
Team building activities and games can demonstrate principles of effective teamwork. In addition they are often fun and stress-relieving. Unfortunately, what is learned rarely transfers back to the problems that bedevil teams as they struggle to get their work done. This failure stems three problems:
- The selection of the team-building activities often do not have the benefit of any diagnostic process. An exercise may have some relevance to the teams actual issue and it may not.
- Learnings from team building exercises have a single major point to get a cross in contract to the complexity of individual and systemic issues that are a part of most team problems.
- Most team issues involve conflict that often has some emotional component. Generic team building exercises have no way of identifying such conflicts nor resolving them.
Teams that are facilitated to wrestle with and resolve the teamwork issues that their members have identified are the teams that can become great teams!