Why Team Building Does Not Work

Andrea Correa Training & Development Leave a Comment

Effective teaming is a must do.

Teaming is important to the success of all organizations. Having worked in the field for over 20 years I do not know any organization that does not utilize teams in some form. Teams have become the norm and are no longer considered a strategic advantage – they are a must do. And they must be done well for successful results. Leaders will work with hundreds of teams over their career and today, employees are working on multiple teams or multiple team projects.


One of the problems of effective team performance is that work gets in the way.

Work is fast paced, constantly changing, and is more virtual than ever before. People are slammed with tasks, duties, and an overly full inboxes that need immediate replies. Gone are the days when a manger could just manage people. Today, most managers are working managers – they must get real work done and try to fit in time to manage their people. So, with limited time, they unfortunately put team development to the side as a nice to do activity when time permits.


Why team building events do not work.

The reality is that leaders must do both – get work done AND focus on overall team performance. It is like fixing a car while you are driving it (Not something we recommend but it gives you a visual!) or having regular pit stops. What usually happens instead is that most leaders decide to pull over to the side of the road and let people out for a short stretch break. They take care of their team by doing a one-off team building event thinking that this is what is required to keep their team on the road to success.


Team building events are just that – events, and will not produce longer term success unless it is part of an overall team development process. Doing a half day team event is fun and can let the steam off a bit. We have done many of these events. People love them and one of the most heard comments afterwards is “this was great – and I hope it lasts”. Unfortunately, in most cases, it does not last as the teams return to work feeling enthused that life will be different. But within a few shorts weeks, they are back to where they were or even worse  than they were before the team building.


The key is on-going team development.

Team Development is an on-going process that is intentionally focused on overall team performance with every team project a team does.  Every team project is an opportunity to take the team to the next level of performance.  Consider the impact if every team project was intentionally and significantly better than the one before – delivering wow results both internally and externally.

Steps to take for improved team performance.

Improved team performance is not as complicated as it may seem. Below are five areas to focus on for improved team performance.


1) Be intentional

Effective teams intentionally focus on both team development and business results. Team members are aware and embrace the importance of team development. Team members regularly talk about effective teamwork.


2) Make a plan and stick to it.

Effective teams make a team development plan that develops both individual and team skills. They realize that team development is just as, or even more important than short term results. They stick to the plan while work tries to get into way.


3) Pay attention to process as much as output.

Effective teams work on how they work together while they work together. They evaluate, discuss, and adjust how they are working together while generating results. Teams develop through incremental and continuous improvement.


4) Incorporate team building events!

Team events do work well as part of a team development plan. Incorporate events on a regular basis. Do a ropes course, have team dinners, hold a DISC or MBTI type of a session, go bowling, and find other imaginative ways to create team cohesion.


5) Measure you results.

The bottom line is that teaming is about generating better results. Effective teams measure their performance on a regular basis and adjust.


The Corporate Learning Institute has helped hundreds of teams become more effective. We offer team coaching, team workshops, and the Team Essentials Assessment which measures team performance and provides a progress report and action plan.


Contact us today for more information about Team Essentials Assessment at tbuividas@corplearning.com or call (800)203-6734.


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Andrea CorreaWhy Team Building Does Not Work

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