Why team building is the most important investment you’ll make
By Brian Scudamore, Forbes
Team building has a bad rap. In most companies when a supervisor says, “We’re going to do some team building!” employees start re-running old episodes of The Office. It’s one thing to see it on TV, but getting a real-life taste of your manager mimicking Steve Carell’s insanely-awkward-try-hard leadership style just isn’t as funny.
Despite its reputation for being, well, lame, team building is the most important investment you can make for your people. It builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration. Effective team building means more engaged employees, which is good for company culture and boosting the bottom line. It can also be adventurous and enjoyable if you do it with a little pizzazz.
At O2E Brands, we’ve earned a spot as one of the country’s best places to work and team building is a big part of that. Here are the ground rules that apply when it comes to planning activities for your people.
Don’t force the corporate stuff
The most successful, memorable team-building events are ones that don’t feel like a day at the office. Activities that overtly aim to draw in leadership lessons or practical takeaways are less powerful. Spending time together, sharing an experience or working towards a common goal allows bonding to happen more organically and far more effectively.
One example that comes to mind: the night we took the team to an Eric Church country music concert because our own COO (also named Erik Church – no relation) had always wanted to go. There was no explicit lesson about leadership or communication as we spent the night drinking beer and practicing our two-step. But the experience brought everyone closer together and in the end we learned that there’s no better way to understand someone than to walk a mile in his cowboy boots.
Ditch the company picnic
It turns out that happiness and learning are tied very closely together. Trying new things with your staff can generate good vibes among employees, which in turn benefits the business itself. Choosing something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage them to come together in new ways.
When I found out a member of one of our teams was afraid of heights – and had always hoped to conquer that fear – we took the whole crew to the country’s longest zip line. Being thrust into a thrilling situation, 600 feet above Whistler, helped us all gel that day.
Picture courtesy of Uganda Law Society