Three Truths About Teambuilding – And How to Turn Fun Teambuilding into True ROI
Clients and meeting planners are becoming increasingly more conscious of the returns on team building programs. Why? Because organizations and associations waste millions of dollars every year on “Team Building” programs that do not produce the desired results. Companies go into the woods together and zip through trees, gather around kitchens to bake chocolate and build bikes for charity. The activities may be fun, but do they truly make a difference once everyone is back in the office the next week?
Team building is not just about camaraderie. If an organization is investing in team building it should expect long-term behavior changes that result in a more efficient or productive culture, and increased business performance.
ROI matters. Training departments initiating training programs need to understand three truths about team building and ask the right questions – long before anyone starts getting excited about zip lines, cooking classes or getting together to help a charity.
Recognizing that every group event has its own measure of success, there are three important questions to ask as you move to create an incredible experience from your corporate team building event.
Truth #1: Anytime we don’t define our desired outcomes, we risk failure.
Ask “What is the goal of this activity?” Follow that by listing three tangible outcomes the organization wants to see from conducting team building. If organizational leaders or the training department can’t define the desired results (enhanced collaboration, an increased ability to embrace change, better self-expression) the stage is not set for success.
Truth #2: A lack of leadership can cripple the long term success of any organizational goal.
Ask “Does our leadership know how to practically apply the experience we will have into desired changes in the work environment?” If the answer is “no” then consider management training so that the leaders can create bridges from the team building experience and map them back to meaningful changes in the workplace.
Truth #3: You can’t understand ROI if you have no way to measure it.
Ask “How will we measure the desired outcomes or changes after the team building program is over?” Decide in advance what the measurement will be and ensure the framework actually exists for that measurement. Whether it is manager or employee surveys, enhancements to processes that are implemented afterwards or some other corporate benchmarking, organizations need to understand if there was impact. Are softer measures of success suitable? Or does corporate benchmarking data exist that can be compared pre- and post-program?
There are definite benefits of a charity team building or corporate social responsibility event. You and your organization have the chance to make a difference by filling a desperate need. Whether it is a charity bike building event, putting together care packages for the USO, or gathering Toys for Tots – these events can provide tangible benefits to your team.
Just recognize that teambuilding can be fun, add value, plus give your employees or association members tools they can use when returning to work the next day. And team building should create change that lasts. By understanding the three truths and asking the right questions ahead of time, organizations can better understand the goals and avoid wasting time, energy and resources.
Because while everyone enjoys zip lining through the trees, ROI matters.
Carey Lohrenz is the author of the Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck.”, a motivational speaker and leadership expert.
Carey has flown missions worldwide as a combat-mission-ready United States Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot. Her extensive experience operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments, an aircraft carrier, and her unique position as one of the first female combat pilots make her the perfect opening or closing inspirational keynote speaker for your corporate meeting or conference.
Carey graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she was a varsity rower, also training at the Pre-Olympic level. After graduation, she attended the Navy’s Aviation Officer Candidate School before starting flight training and her naval career. She is the mother of four kids, and is currently working on her Master’s in Business Administration in Strategic Leadership.