When Team Building Gets a Bad Name


Posted on 6th Nov 2014

Generally, there are more bad articles in the media about team building than good ones. There are several reasons for this. First of all the bad stories are generally more interesting and, occasionally, darkly amusing than the good ones. If stories of team building going wrong were compared to the good feedback that most activity companies receive then the good would substantially outweigh the bad. So, the first problem is the media and the stories that it wants to carry. That's understandable if not particularly fair, but we have the media that we have.

When the media represents team building it tends to paint a completely unrealistic picture of what activity companies offer their clients. Trust falls are a good example. They often go wrong and people can be seriously hurt. Then they sue and there's a story in the media. No professional event company should be encouraging trust falls and most don't. It should not pass a risk assessment carried out by a professional.

Then there are activities like inflatables and, in particular, sumo wrestling. Some inflatables are fine and should be medium risk. Sumo wrestling is high risk. The rolling action that people go through when the fall puts pressure on the neck. 

However, none of these activities truly reflect the team building industry and the excellent activities on offer. The feedback we get from clients is more representative.

The very incisive diagram (from thisisindexed.com) above makes an interesting point. Again, it's not representative of what actually happens but it does hit the mark for the Dilbert style lampooning of the events industry and why it may happen. When team building is organised in house or by someone without the right experience it can feel like this. It's not easy to get enthused about getting in a line in the order of your birthdays while not talking when you're 45 years old and you've been in business for quarter of a century. You might, quite rightly, question the investment of your time. 

So, that fairly lengthy diatribe explains why the media and, sometimes, opinion can seem anti team building. The reason is that it's not representative of the activities on offer. The answer is to work with a professional specialist who can offer activities that people would want to participate in out of their own choice. Those last few words really are the key to it all. Even if people were not being offered the opportunity to do it by their company they would still want to take pa

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