New ways to bond
The problem with traditional (read awkward) team building exercises is twofold: Not only do they not work, employees despise them: research from Citrix shows that 31 per cent of survey respondents say they “can't stand” teambuilding activities.
Some methods do work, though. Activities like volunteering (as a group), going on field trips, sharing meals, participating in a sport or physical activity, and attending professional workshops can make a major difference in team cohesion.
But there’s another, simpler way...
Do good work
The best teams are great because they work together and communicate effectively. But does teamwork lead to greater success… or does success lead to greater teamwork? Success breeds success, and success also breeds cohesion, respect, and trust.
Think about it: do you remember hearing any rumors or reports last year of chemistry problems in the AFL team Hawthorn's change rooms? Of course not: winning tends to cure most, if not all, interpersonal evils.
So if you want to build a team that is greater than the sum of its parts, find ways to help foster communication and collaboration in the pursuit of a measurable, achievable goal.
You can do that even if your team works in different locations. An MIT study found that virtual teams working for software companies regularly outperformed on-location teams as long as they had the proper systems and processes in place. That’s the beauty of the cloud – it makes collaboration and communication easy, enabling better communication that will have tangible benefits.
A one-off teambuilding exercise will not result in a stronger, more cohesive team. Workplace trust is not built on a ropes course. Trust is built when employees know, through experience, that they can count on each other.
So skip the exercises. Get down to business instead. Great teams become great teams when they produce great results. Put together a team tasked with producing a great result… and then do everything possible to nurture and support that team so it succeeds.
Success is the best team building exercise of all. Help your employees succeed and they’ll naturally bond – and more importantly, they’ll become greater than the sum of their parts.