How Companies Waste Money on Team Building

Every company has different measures for gauging camaraderie, performance and any other characteristics that defines their team. When we think about activities, events and outings to build these values, each of us probably has something different in mind. Rightfully so, team building isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal.

What companies don’t know is that they may be considering the wrong programs and activities to achieve their unique goals. Here, we’ll discuss three primary ways many companies end up wasting money on team building.

1) Decision makers fail to distinguish between team building processes and outcomes, and team bonding events.

The latter produce very little real ROI except to provide some pleasant distraction for your staff for a day, and a temporary heightened sense of well-being. Their decision to buy into such a program is largely focused on the games and activities and at what price they’re provided. Actual team building programs are geared towards producing a certain outcome, like enhanced intra-team communication. These programs use experiential activities as a platform from which group learning and “ah-ha’s“ of the day can be transferred back to the workplace via experienced facilitators who are trained in experiential learning methodology.

2) Buyers of team building programs talk about custom programs, but don’t ask substantive questions to really understand the goals and objectives for the program.

Unless the vendor asks detailed questions before a program to understand specific team behaviors and what their team is like in terms of contextual strengths and weaknesses, how can any team building program be meaningfully designed for outcomes? It continues to amaze me how few potential clients actually care about how their dollars are being translated into future positive team behaviors that help the bottom-line.

3) Decision-makers only view the team event as a one-off experience, never integrating it into a greater plan of leadership or team development.

In short, these folks are committed to a great day out, and less inclined to achieve sustainable results. Ever heard of a great team that was created in a day? Look at your spending on “team building” compared to sales, communication and such skills-based training costs. Without an ongoing plan for team development moving forward, very few of these “activity focused” team building measures create a sustainable platform for development. It’s likely poor team behaviors will continue to hobble them in the short and medium term.

Team bonding or team building?

You’ll hear me talk time and time again about what I feel are the obvious differences between team building and team bonding. It doesn’t mean that one of these processes is pointless or wrong. It’s all about the goal in which you’re trying to achieve for your team. Improving performance, deepening connections, developing trust and building skills in problem solving and change management is what Signature Teambuilding strives to fulfill. If you want to give your team a shared experience where they can loosen up and let off some steam, try a one-off team bonding event. All I ask is that you not mistake one for the other — they aren’t interchangeable. Check out this chart to understand the difference…

Team building is a process, not an event.

Unless your staff needs a team bonding experience like going bowling, or singing karaoke, what they might really benefit from is attending a fun, team building program designed to help them back in the workplace. Contact Signature Teambuilding today to learn more about what types of team building programs exist to achieve the unique goals of your team.