A common experience among many of our clients is that they feel surprised at getting so much more out of our team building programs than they had expected. They gain insights and experience breakthroughs that they wouldn’t have normally associated with a team building exercise. People just don’t realize the far-reaching benefits of a structured program involving fun and engaging team challenges. More than just providing a fun way to interact, get to know one another, and have a good time, they are an excellent way to surface a lot of potential in your team.
A New Environment and Situation
Off-site team building provides your team a new environment and situation in which to engage and interact. This can be very revealing in terms of how employees “show up” and often patterns of behavior and types of interactions that might go unnoticed in the office appear in greater relief. One employee might take charge in a particular challenge as per the norm. Or perhaps there is dissent in how to accomplish something with familiar divisions showing up between sub-groups of the team. Recognizing these patterns can lead to introspective questions about what is working and what doesn’t work, which in turn can result in change-oriented goals aiming at improvement. Having a facilitator present to be a neutral observer can be invaluable during this process, as she can help pinpoint these patterns and help guide the group as it reflects.
Practice new behaviors
Team challenges provide a way to learn experientially, which basically boils down to learning through doing, reflecting on what you did, and then doing again, changing whatever needs to be changed. In a work environment you don’t often have the chance to experiment freely as you need to be able to guarantee a result. Group team building challenges happen in a setting where the consequences of experimenting are much less, allowing people and teams to try on new behaviors and methods of accomplishing tasks. People can try on leadership or organizational roles, or people can feel freer to present ideas that might not have flown when in an office environment. This experimentation allows for growth and evolution that can be brought back to the workplace and lead to greater productivity and satisfaction among workers.
Surface team member strengths
It’s not uncommon for workers to be pigeon-holed at work by job roles or the perception of their skillset by upper management. Since team building challenges aren’t directly tied to functional areas at work, they can allow people to shine in ways that gain them new found appreciation in the workplace. Imagine the accountant who displays her creative chops in a challenge that revolves around creating something for display, or the senior engineer who turns out to be remarkably skilled at mediating between groups with different viewpoints. Group challenges can surface these sorts of latent or hidden talents, ultimately providing the company more value and showcasing newfound potential within work teams.
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