Team Building: Utterly Useless! Or not?

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Team Building: Utterly Useless! Or not?

Team Building: Utterly Useless! Or not?


WHEN WE GOOGLE TEAMBUILDING ACTIVITIES, WE
SEE ALL THESE GAMES. BUT ARE THESE REALLY TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS
BY DEFINITION? AND DOES MAKING YOUR EMPLOYEES PLAY THESE
GAMES ONCE OR TWICE PER YEAR REALLY LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT IN THEIR WORK PERFORMANCE AND
PRODUCTIVITY? WHAT DOES EMPIRICAL RESEARCH PUBLISHED IN
PEER REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS SAY ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS? AND WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
THAT MANAGERS HOLD REGARDING TEAMBUILDING AND TEAMBUILDING EFFECTIVENESS? WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE ANSWERS TO
ALL THESE QUESTIONS. COMING UP. 1. TWO TEAMBUILDING EXAMPLES LET’S BEGIN BY LOOKING AT 2 RATHER STRANGE
AND MISGUIDED EXAMPLES OF TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS. IN THIS FIRST EXAMPLE, WE SEE A HIRED TEAMBUILDING
FACILITATOR SPANKING BANK EMPLOYEES WHO UNDER-PERFORMED, TAKE A LOOK. THE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE STANDING ON THE STAGE
ARE THE WORST PERFORMING EMPLOYEES AND THEY ARE BEING ‘MOTIVATED’ BY A HIRED TEAMBUILDING
FACILITATOR. AND IN THIS SECOND EXAMPLE, A MANAGER OF A
REAL-ESTATE FIRM IS SLAPPING THE WORST PERFORMING EMPLOYEES, IN A SUPPOSEDLY MOTIVATIONAL TEAMBUILDING
EVENT. WHEN I SHOW THESE 2 CLIPS IN SEMINARS AND
PRESENTATIONS, I ASK ATTENDEES WHAT THEY THINK IS WRONG WITH THESE 2 TEAMBUILDING EXAMPLES
AND WHAT THEY THINK IS RIGHT WITH THEM? WELL, THERE’S PLENTY ANSWERS ABOUT WHAT’S
WRONG WITH THEM — UNETHICAL, POSSIBLY ILLEGAL DUE TO THEIR VIOLENT NATURE AND THE PHYSICAL
HARM THEY CAUSE, AND MOST LIKELY THEY ARE INEFFECTIVE IN THE LONG-TERM. NOW, WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THEM? IS THERE ANYTHING THAT IS RIGHT WITH THE ABOVE
2 TEAMBUILDING ACTIVITIES? WHAT’S RIGHT WITH THEM IS THIS — THE MOTIVE
BEHIND THE MANAGEMENT’S INTENTION IS RIGHT. THEY WANT TO, THROUGH THESE TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS,
IMPROVE EMPLOYEES’ WORK PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTIVITY. SUCH INTENTIONS ARE PERFECTLY IN LINE WITH
HOW TEAMBUILDING IS DEFINED IN HRM & OB LITERATURE. SO, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE MANAGEMENT’S
INTENTION BEHIND THESE TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS. THE PROBLEM IS WHETHER THESE TEAMBUILDING
INTERVENTIONS CAN ACTUALLY FULFILL THOSE INTENTIONS AT ALL. AFTER ALL, WE DO SEE VERY OFTEN PEOPLE MAKING
TERRIBLE DECISIONS AND DOING VERY WRONG THINGS, DESPITE THEIR VERY GOOD INTENTIONS. 2. NORMAL TEAMBUILDING NOW, LET’S GO FROM CHINA TO THE WEST. IF I WERE TO ASK YOU TO NAME WHAT YOU CONSIDER
TO BE NORMAL AND TYPICAL TEAMBUILDING ACTIVITIES IN THE WEST, WHAT CAN YOU COME UP WITH? YOU KNOW WHAT, WHY DON’T WE JUST GOOGLE IT. ACCORDING TO GOOGLE IMAGES, THESE TYPES OF
THINGS ARE PROBABLY THE MOST STEREOTYPICAL TEAMBUILDING ACTIVITIES IN THE WEST — VARIOUS
OUTDOOR AND INDOOR GAMES WHICH EMPLOYEES CAN PLAY IN TEAMS. IN ADDITION TO THESE GENERIC EXAMPLES, SOME
SPECIFIC EXAMPLES INCLUDE THE TRUST FALL IN WHICH ONE EMPLOYEE FALLS BACKWARDS AND OTHERS
CATCH HIM, FIRE WALK (WALKING ON COAL), VARIOUS ROPES GAMES, DRUMMING TOGETHER, ESCAPE ROOM
(WHERE EMPLOYEES ARE LOCKED IN A ROOM AND THEY NEED TO WORK AS A TEAM TO FIGURE OUT
HOW TO ESCAPE), ROPES COURSES, OBSTACLE COURSES, PAINTEAMBUILDINGALL GAMES, JUST TO NAME A
FEW EXAMPLES. IF YOU WISH TO SEE MORE EXAMPLES OF TEAMBUILDING
ACTIVITIES AND GAMES, JUST GO AND SEARCH FOR IT IN GOOGLE OR ON YOUTUBE, THERE ARE PLENTY
MORE EXAMPLES. NOW, COMPARING THESE EXAMPLES TO THE TWO CHINESE
TEAMBUILDING EXAMPLES WHICH WE SAW AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS VIDEO, WE CAN AT LEAST SEE
DIFFERENCES IN TWO MAIN RESPECTS. FIRST DIFFERENCE IS THAT THESE RATHER STEREOTYPICAL
TEAMBUILDING EXAMPLES GENERALLY RAISE NO ETHICAL AND LEGAL ISSUES, THEY ARE NOT SO OBJECTIONABLE
AS THE TWO CHINESE EXAMPLES. THE OTHER MAJOR DIFFERENCE IS THAT THESE TEAMBUILDING
ACTIVITIES OFTEN ARE NOT PERFORMED FOR THE SAKE OF IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY AND WORK PERFORMANCE,
AT LEAST, NOT DIRECTLY. IF WE LOOK AT THE WEBSITES OF TEAMBUILDING
FACILITATORS, COMPANIES WHO SELL TEAMBUILDING, THESE PEOPLE DO NOT CLAIM THAT BY MAKING YOUR
EMPLOYEES DO THESE TEAMBUILDING GAMES, IT WILL LEAD TO ANY MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT IN
WORK PERFORMANCES AND PRODUCTIVITY. WHAT THEY SELL IS — A CULTURE OF GROWTH AND
SUCCESS THROUGH MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION; THEY SELL — ENTHUSIASM AND ENTERTAINMENT
WHILE ENCOURAGING COMMUNICATION, COOPERATION, AND POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS. SO, WHEN WE READ THEIR WEBSITES CAREFULLY,
CLEARLY THESE TEAMBUILDING COMPANIES KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT — THEY APPEAR
TO UNDERSTAND THAT ALL THESE TEAMBUILDING GAMES AND ACTIVITIES AND INTERVENTIONS, THE
BEST THEY CAN ACHIEVE IS SHORT-TERM SOFT IMPROVEMENT — ATTITUDINAL AND PERCEPTUAL IMPROVEMENT,
NOT DIRECTLY IMPROVING WORK PERFORMANCES AND PRODUCTIVITY IN ANY OBJECTIVELY MEASURABLE
MANNER. 3. WHY DO MANAGERS STILL BELIEVE IN TEAMBUILDING? SO, WHY IS IT THAT MANY MANAGERS GENUINELY
BELIEVE THAT TEAMBUILDING GAMES WORK IN IMPROVING WORK PERFORMANCE AND THAT THEY SHOULD MAKE
THEIR EMPLOYEES GO TO TEAMBUILDING EVENTS? IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT IS CONTRIBUTING TO MANAGERS’
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TEAMBUILDING? MAYBE IT IS GOOGLE? IF WE GOOGLE — TEAMBUILDING EFFECTIVENESS,
THIS IS WHAT WE GET. WE GET THE WEBSITES OF TEAMBUILDING FACILITATORS
TELLING US THAT TEAMBUILDING IS SO IMPORTANT AND SO BENEFICIAL. WE GET TO READ ABOUT WHY TEAMBUILDING IS THE
MOST IMPORTANT INVESTMENT WE’LL MAKE; OR THE MANY, MANY BENEFITS OF TEAMBUILDING; OR THAT
TEAMBUILDING IS EFFECTIVE FOR REAL WORLD AND FOR VIRTUAL TEAMS. SO, THIS IS WHAT WE GET WHEN WE GOOGLE. ON THE OTHER HAND, EMPIRICAL RESEARCH PUBLISHED
IN PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY — A DIFFERENT AND A MUCH
MORE COMPLETE STORY. SO, LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME BORING RESEARCH
ARTICLES, BEAR WITH ME HERE. EMPIRICAL RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THAT — NEITHER
TEAMBUILDING NOR TEAM MEMBER CHARACTERISTICS WERE FOUND TO BE A SIGNIFICANT PREDICTOR OF
PERFORMANCE; MANAGER’S SUPPORT FOR FUN HAD AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE; AND THE
META-ANALYTIC FINDING THAT OVERALL, THERE WAS NO SIGNIFICANT EFFECT OF TEAMBUILDING
ON PERFORMANCE. SO NOW THE QUESTION IS — WHAT DO WE BELIEVE? DO WE BELIEVE ALL THESE WEBSITES WHICH SHOW
UP IN GOOGLE WHEN WE SEARCH TEAMBUILDING EFFECTIVENESS, OR DO WE BELIEVE ALL THESE EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY — WHICH DO YOU THINK
A BUSY MANAGER WOULD BELIEVE? A QUICK GOOGLE SEARCH? OR RESEARCH ARTICLES THAT MOST MANAGERS IN
THE BUSINESS FIELD PROBABLY DO NOT EVEN HAVE ACCESS TO? COULD THIS BE A REASON WHY MANAGERS ARE MISINFORMED? ANOTHER REASON WHY MANAGERS IN THE BUSINESS
FIELD MIGHT BE MISGUIDED ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TEAMBUILDING IS A SOCIO-POLITICAL ONE. RESEARCH HAS SHOWN REPEATEDLY THAT EMPLOYEES
TEND TO REFRAIN FROM TELLING THEIR MANAGER THE TRUTH IF THEY BELIEVE THE TRUTH WILL UPSET
OR OFFEND THE MANAGER. JUST IMAGINE THIS HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO, IF
I HAD TO GO TO A TEAM DAY THAT MY MANAGER ORGANIZED AND MANDATED, AND THEN THE FOLLOWING
DAY, MY MANAGER ASKS ME — HOW DID YOU LIKE THE TEAM DAY YESTERDAY? NOW, EVEN THOUGH I THOUGHT THE TEAM BUILDING
EVENT WAS COMPLETELY USELESS AND IRRELEVANT, THAT IT HAD NO POSITIVE IMPACT ON ANY PERCEPTUAL,
ATTITUDINAL, COGNITIVE OR PERFORMANCE OUTCOMES, HOW LIKELY IS IT THAT I WOULD TELL HIM THAT? IT IS MUCH MORE LIKELY AND MUCH EASIER IF
I JUST SAID — IT WAS GREAT! FURTHERMORE, THE MISCONCEPTIONS OF SOME MANAGERS
ARE LIKELY REINFORCED BY PUBLISHED BOOKS LIKE THESE — ALL THESE BIG BOOKS OF TEAMBUILDING
GAMES — LEAD MANAGERS TO BELIEVE EVEN MORE THAT JUST BY MAKING THEIR EMPLOYEES PLAY SOME
GAMES, IT IS GOING TO IMPROVE WORK PERFORMANCE. WELL, UNLESS YOUR TEAM IS MADE UP OF KINDERGARTEN
KIDS AND THEIR WORK TASK IS SO SIMPLE AND UNSOPHISTICATED, THIS IS MOST LIKELY NOT THE
CASE AT ALL. FINALLY, THIS IS SOMETHING WE ALREADY TOUCHED
ON WHEN WE TALKED ABOUT THE WEBSITES OF TEAMBUILDING FACILITATORS WHICH SHOW UP IN GOOGLE WHEN
WE SEARCHED FOR TEAMBUILDING EFFECTIVENESS. LET US NOT FORGET THAT THE SO-CALLED TEAMBUILDING
IS AN INDUSTRY. THERE ARE COMPANIES, FIRMS, CONSULTANCY AGENCIES,
AND ALL KINDS OF “EXPERTS” WHO SELL TEAMBUILDING AS A PRODUCT, AS A SERVICE, AS A MERCHANDISE,
FOR PROFIT. THESE PEOPLE KEEP ON SAYING THAT TEAMBUILDING
IS VERY EFFECTIVE AND VERY BENEFICIAL. THEY POINT OUT THAT MANY HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL
AND HIGHLY PROFITABLE COMPANIES ALL DO TEAMBUILDING AND THEY TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THAT THE REASON
THOSE COMPANIES ARE SO SUCCESSFUL IS BECAUSE THEY DO TEAMBUILDING, WHICH IS NOT NECESSARILY
TRUE. BUT AS LONG AS THESE EXPERTS ARE STILL IN
THE TEAMBUILDING BUSINESS, THEY WILL CONTINUE TO CLAIM AND TRY TO CONVINCE YOU THAT TEAMBUILDING
GAMES ARE EFFECTIVE, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO SELL IT. 4. WHAT ABOUT THOSE RESEARCH ARTICLES THAT INDICATE
TEAMBUILDING DOES WORK? MANY CITE KLEIN ET AL. 2009 AS CONCLUSIVE
PROOF THAT TEAMBUILDING DOES WORK. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT KLEIN ET AL. SHOWED AT ALL. KLEIN ET AL. IS INDEED THE MOST EXTENSIVE
META-ANALYSIS ON TEAMBUILDING EFFECTIVENESS AND THEIR META-ANALYSIS, WHICH WAS QUITE NICELY
DONE, WAS BASED ON ONLY EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN PAPERS AND PRE-TEST POST-TEST PAPERS, SO,
NO CORRELATIONAL STUDIES. AND THAT’S ALL VERY GOOD. HOWEVER, THEY DID NOT DISTINGUISH BETWEEN
ACTUAL EMPLOYEE SAMPLES AND ADULT-STUDENT SAMPLES. THEY ALSO DID NOT CALCULATE THE EFFECTS OF
THE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF TEAMBUILDING ON THE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF OUTCOMES SEPARATELY. THEY COULD NOT DO IT BECAUSE THE STUDIES ON
WHICH THEIR META-ANALYSIS WERE BASED DID NOT ALWAYS DISTINGUISH THE 4 TYPES OF TEAMBUILDING
AND THE 4 TYPES OF OUTCOMES. SO, INSTEAD, WHAT KLEIN ET AL. DID WAS THEY COMBINED THE 4 TYPES OF TEAMBUILDING
INTERVENTIONS AS ONE COMPOSITE PREDICTOR ON THE 4 TYPES OF OUTCOMES AND THEY LOOKED AT
THE 4 TYPES OF TEAMBUILDING AS 4 PREDICTORS ON A COMBINED OUTCOME — SORT OF A COMPOSITE
DEPENDENT VARIABLE BASED ON THE 4 TYPES OF OUTCOMES. THIS MEANT OBVIOUS LIMITATIONS IN THEIR CONCLUSIONS. AND THE AUTHORS CLEARLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT
LIMITATION AND STATED IN THEIR PAPER REPEATEDLY THAT THEIR FINDINGS WERE SUGGESTIVE AND NOT
CONCLUSIVE. SO, WHILE THE KLEIN ET AL. PAPER IS A GREAT PAPER, IT IS SIMPLY NOT EMPIRICAL
PROOF THAT TEAMBUILDING IS EFFECTIVE, AS THE AUTHOR THEMSELVES ACKNOWLEDGED. SO, PLEASE READ THE FULL PAPER. NOW, THE NUMBER OF ACTUAL PAPERS WHICH EMPIRICALLY
SHOWED, THROUGH AN EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN OR A PRE-TEST POST-TEST DESIGN, USING ACTUAL
EMPLOYEE SAMPLES, AND WITH THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE BEING WORK PERFORMANCE MEASURED BY AN OBJECTIVE
MEASURE INSTEAD OF A SUBJECTIVE SELF-REPORT, SUCH PAPERS ARE VERY, VERY RARE. BUT THEY DO EXIST. I WILL SHOW YOU TWO EXAMPLES. THE FIRST ONE IS A STUDY PUBLISHED IN 1986
IN THE ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL. THE TYPE OF TEAMBUILDING CONDUCTED WAS GOAL
SETTING AND WORK-RELATED PROBLEM SOLVING, DURATION OF TEAMBUILDING WAS 10 WEEKS, AVERAGE
TEAM SIZE WAS 3, EFFECT OF TEAMBUILDING MEASURED WAS WORK PERFORMANCE AND IT WAS MEASURED VIA
OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENTS. PARTICIPANTS IN THIS STUDY WERE UNDERGROUND
MINERS. THE OTHER STUDY WAS PUBLISHED IN 1973 IN JOURNAL
OF APPLIED BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE. THE TYPE OF TEAMBUILDING CONDUCTED WAS WORK-RELATED
PROBLEM SOLVING IN THE FORM OF PARTICIPATIVE DECISION-MAKING, DURATION OF TEAMBUILDING
WAS 18 MONTHS, EFFECT OF TEAMBUILDING MEASURED WAS WORK PERFORMANCE AND IT WAS MEASURED VIA
OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENTS. THIS STUDY ALSO MEASURED AFFECTIVE OUTCOMES
VIA A SELF-REPORT SURVEY. PARTICIPANTS IN THIS STUDY WERE HOSPITAL LAUNDRY
STAFF. BOTH STUDIES REPORTED THAT THE CONDUCTED TEAMBUILDING
INTERVENTIONS LED TO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN OBJECTIVELY MEASURED WORK PERFORMANCE. THESE TWO STUDIES ARE RELIABLE AND CONVINCING. THEY USED A PROPER CAUSAL DESIGN AND THEY
WERE CONDUCTED ON ACTUAL EMPLOYEE SAMPLES, NOT STUDENT SAMPLES, THE OUTCOME VARIABLE
WAS PROPERLY MEASURED, AND THEY WERE MEASURED IN THE REASONABLY LONG TERM AS WELL — INDICATING
THAT THE EFFECT OF TEAMBUILDING ON THE MEASURED PERFORMANCE OUTCOMES WAS RELATIVELY LONG LASTING. SO YES, I WOULD ABSOLUTELY CONSIDER THESE
2 STUDIES TO BE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE THAT TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS CAN HAVE SIGNIFICANT AND POSITIVE
EFFECTS ON PERFORMANCE OUTCOMES. BUT WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO BEAR IN MIND
IS WHAT THEY DID AS TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS. NEITHER OF THESE 2 STUDIES MADE EMPLOYEES
PLAY ANY OF THESE SILLY OUTDOOR GAMES FOR LIKE ONE AFTERNOON AND CALL THAT THEIR TEAMBUILDING
INTERVENTION. WHAT THEY DID WAS CLEARLY WORK-RELATED AND
IT TOOK MONTHS. THE ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT JOURNAL STUDY TOOK
10 WEEKS AND THE J. OF APPLIED BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE STUDY TOOK A PERIOD OF 18 MONTHS. IN FACT, IF ANYTHING, THESE 2 STUDIES SERVE
TO HIGHLIGHT — ONE, WHY WHAT WE CALL TEAMBUILDING TYPICALLY DOES NOT WORK AND TWO, THE VERY
FACT THAT WHAT WE CALL TEAMBUILDING IS ACTUALLY NOT TEAMBUILDING BY DEFINITION. 5. WHAT IS TEAMBUILDING, BY DEFINITION? IF I AM SAYING THAT ALL THOSE SILLY OUTDOOR
GAMES ARE NOT TEAMBUILDING, THEN WHAT IS? WHAT IS TEAMBUILDING REALLY SUPPOSED TO BE? ACCORDING TO HRM&OB LITERATURE, TEAMBUILDING
INTERVENTIONS (ALSO SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS TEAM DEVELOPMENT INTERVENTIONS OR TEAM
TRAINING INTERVENTIONS) ARE HIGH-INTERACTION ACTIVITIES DESIGNED TO ENABLE WORK TEAMS TO
BETTER ACHIEVE RESULTS, MEET TEAM GOALS, AND ACCOMPLISH WORK TASKS (THIS IS FROM THE KLEIN
ET AL., 2009 META-ANALYTIC PAPER). (ACCORDING TO ROBBINS AND JUDGE, GREENBURG
AND BARON, SALAS ET AL, AND KLEIN ET AL) TEAMBUILDING SHOULD FOCUS ON 4 MAIN COMPONENTS:
(1). ROLE-CLARIFICATION: TEAM MEMBERS DISCUSS AND
ANALYZE THEIR OWN ROLES AND THE ROLES OF OTHERS IN ORDER FOR DISCREPANCIES AND DISAGREEMENTS
IN PERCEPTIONS TO BE ADDRESSED AND SOLVED, (2). GOAL-SETTING: TEAM MEMBERS CLARIFY THE VARIOUS
GOALS TOWARDS WHICH THEY ARE WORKING AND IDENTIFY WAYS TO ACHIEVE THEM,
(3). PROBLEM-SOLVING: TEAM MEMBERS SYSTEMATICALLY
IDENTIFY AND DISCUSS WAYS OF SOLVING TASK-RELATED OR PROCESS-RELATED WORK ISSUES,
(4). INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS: INTERACTIVE, GROUP
BASED ACTIVITIES OR INTERVENTIONS DESIGNED TO BUILD TRUST, ENCOURAGE OPEN COMMUNICATION,
AND INCREASE TEAM COHESION. WHAT IS SHOWN IN THESE GOOGLE IMAGES IS NOT
REAL TEAMBUILDING BY DEFINITION. THESE ARE JUST GAMES PRIMARILY MEANT FOR SOCIALIZATION
PURPOSES. AT BEST, THEY ARE TEAM BONDING EXERCISES OR
SOCIALIZATION GAMES, NOT TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS.>>>SO, LET’S SUM UP THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES
THAT MANAGERS MAKE ABOUT TEAMBUILDING. THE FIRST ONE, THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE, IS
NOT KNOWING WHAT TEAMBUILDING ACTUALLY IS. TEAMBUILDING IS MORE THAN JUST SOCIALIZATION
AND GAMES AND TEAM BONDING EXERCISES. IF WE ONLY GO BY WHAT WE FIND ON GOOGLE, WE
MIGHT ACTUALLY THINK THESE OUTDOOR GAMES ARE TEAMBUILDING. WELL, THESE GAMES DON’T BUILD TEAM EFFECTIVENESS. THESE GAMES ARE JUST — GAMES. THAT’S ALL. NOW, OF COURSE, IF YOUR EMPLOYEES WANT TO
PLAY THEM AND YOU ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR THEM, THEN GO AHEAD AND DO IT. THESE GAMES COULD SERVE A LEGITIMATE PURPOSE
— THEY CAN BE PLAYED FOR INTRODUCTORY PURPOSES; OR SOCIALIZATION; OR AS AN ICEBREAKER. HOWEVER, CHANCES ARE THESE GAMES WON’T BUILD
TEAM EFFECTIVENESS AT ALL AND THEY WON’T IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND WORK PERFORMANCE EITHER. SECOND MISTAKE: EFFECTIVE TEAMBUILDING IS
NOT JUST ONE AFTERNOON. FOR TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS TO ACTUALLY
LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT IN PERFORMANCE OUTCOMES, IT TAKES TIME. THE TWO ARTICLES I CITED IN THIS VIDEO, ONE
TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTION TOOK 10 WEEKS AND THE OTHER TOOK 18 MONTHS. REAL TEAMBUILDING IS AN INVESTMENT THAT REQUIRES
TIME, RESOURCES, AND LONG-TERM COMMITMENT. IF YOU ONLY HAVE JUST ONE AFTERNOON PER YEAR,
THEN FINE, MAKE YOUR EMPLOYEES PLAY SOME SILLY GAMES FOR ONE AFTERNOON PER YEAR, THERE ARE
PLENTY OF FIRMS SELLING THOSE SO-CALLED TEAMBUILDING GAMES, BUT AGAIN, DON’T EXPECT THESE GAMES
TO ACTUALLY IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY AND WORK PERFORMANCE. MISTAKE NUMBER THREE: BELIEVING EVERYTHING
YOU READ ON THE WEBSITE OF A TEAMBUILDING FACILITATOR. THESE ARE BUSINESSES THAT SELL TEAMBUILDING. IT IS ONLY NATURAL AND IN THEIR BENEFIT TO
TELL YOU THAT TEAMBUILDING LEADS TO ALL KINDS OF IMPROVEMENTS. BE CAREFUL WITH WHAT YOU READ; ALWAYS QUESTION
WHAT YOU READ. (FEEL FREE TO QUESTION MY CLAIMS IN THIS VIDEO.)>>>NOW, TO GET TO THE NEXT MISTAKE, A LITTLE
ANECDOTE. A LITTLE WHILE AGO, I WAS GIVING A SEMINAR
ON TEAMBUILDING EFFECTIVENESS. I WAS DOING A PRESENTATION, SHOWING EXAMPLES
AND VIDEOS OF TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS AND PRESENTING RESEARCH FINDINGS CONCERNING TEAMBUILDING
AND ITS VARIOUS MEASURED OUTCOMES. AFTER MY PRESENTATION, DURING THE DISCUSSION
PORTION, A MANAGER WHO WAS PARTICIPATING IN THE SEMINAR ASKED ME — IN MY DEPARTMENT,
I REALLY SENSE THERE TO BE SOME ISSUES WITH COMMUNICATION AMONG EMPLOYEES. I WAS PLANNING SOME KIND OF A TEAMBUILDING
EVENT, SOME SORT OF A TEAM OUTING, IN ORDER TO TRY TO FIX THIS COMMUNICATION ISSUE. IN YOUR OPINION AND ACCORDING TO YOUR PRESENTATION,
WOULD YOU SAY THE LIKELIHOOD FOR THAT TO WORK IS LOW? WHAT KIND OF TEAMBUILDING EVENT ARE YOU THINKING
ABOUT? I ASKED. OH, SOMETHING SIMPLE, JUST HAVING A GOOD TIME
TOGETHER. MAYBE BOWLING FOLLOWED BY A NICE TEAM DINNER
IN A GOOD RESTAURANT. DO YOU THINK IT WOULD WORK? SHE SAID. THIS COMMUNICATION PROBLEM IN YOUR TEAM, WHAT
DO YOU THINK IS CAUSING THIS COMMUNICATION PROBLEM? I FURTHER INQUIRED. I AM NOT SURE, I DON’T KNOW. SHE SAID. NOW, THAT IS EXACTLY THE POINT HERE. IF THIS MANAGER DOES NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT IS
CAUSING THE COMMUNICATION PROBLEM IN THE TEAM, WHEN SHE DOES NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT THE
ROOT OF THE PROBLEM IS, WHY WOULD SHE EVEN ASSUME OR PRESUME THAT A SO-CALLED TEAMBUILDING
EVENT OF BOWLING AND DINNER WOULD FIX IT. BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS OFTEN HOW TEAMBUILDING
EVENTS ARE ORGANIZED. FROM WHAT I SEE AND HEAR AND EXPERIENCE, MANY
MANAGERS ORGANIZE TEAM EVENTS FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES WITH GREAT INTENTIONS – LIKE THIS MANAGER
WE JUST TALKED ABOUT, OR LIKE THAT CHINESE BANK EXAMPLE WE SAW AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS
VIDEO. BUT HAVING GREAT INTENTIONS IS NOT ENOUGH. THAT IS, HAVING GREAT INTENTIONS DOES NOT
MEAN THE TEAMBUILDING EVENT WHICH YOU INTEND TO WORK WILL WORK. BUT AT LEAST, THESE MANAGERS HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS,
SO THAT IS NICE. IN OTHER CASES, HOWEVER, THE MANAGER’S MOTIVES
AND INTENTIONS BEHIND ORGANIZING TEAMBUILDING EVENTS ARE NOT EVEN CORRECT, AT LEAST, NOT
IN LINE WITH THE DEFINITION OF TEAMBUILDING. PER THE DEFINITION OF TEAMBUILDING, THE INTENTION
OF ORGANIZING SUCH THINGS SHOULD BE — TO ENABLE WORK TEAMS TO BETTER ACHIEVE RESULTS,
MEET TEAM GOALS, AND ACCOMPLISH WORK TASKS. BUT IN ACTUALITY, WE DO SEE MISGUIDED MOTIVES
ON THE PART OF THE MANAGER WHEN ORGANIZING TEAMBUILDING EVENTS. SOMETIMES WE SEE MANAGERS ORGANIZING A TEAMBUILDING
EVENT SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IT IS THEIR JOB TO ORGANIZE SOMETHING, ANYTHING. AS LONG AS THEY’VE ORGANIZED A TEAMBUILDING
DAY FOR THEIR DEPARTMENT, THEY’VE PERFORMED THEIR DUTY, THEY CAN CHECK IT OFF THE LIST
AND BE DONE WITH IT. OTHER TIMES WE SEE MANAGERS ORGANIZING A TEAMBUILDING
EVENT FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES BECAUSE THE MANAGER HIMSELF WANTS TO FEEL IMPORTANT, HE WANTS
THIS TO BE HIS DAY WHERE HE CAN BE CENTRAL-STAGE AND BE THE IMPORTANT PERSON THAT HE ALWAYS
IS. ANYWAY, SO THIS ANECDOTE BRINGS US TWO MORE
MISTAKES. MISTAKE NUMBER FOUR: HAVING THE WRONG REASON
OR MOTIVE FOR ORGANIZING TEAMBUILDING EVENTS FOR THEIR STAFF. MISTAKE NUMBER FIVE: NOT KNOWING THE CORE
CAUSE FOR PROBLEMS AT WORK AND ALREADY AUTOMATICALLY ASSUMING TEAMBUILDING WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. AND NOW THE LAST POINT (MISTAKE NUMBER SIX:
TEAMBUILDING IS NOT A MAGICAL SILVER BULLET) — A CASUALLY PUT TOGETHER TEAMBUILDING EVENT
FOR ONE AFTERNOON, AS WE HAVE ESTABLISHED, MOST LIKELY WILL HAVE NO LONG LASTING EFFECTS
ON ANYTHING — NOT ON ANY ATTITUDINAL, AFFECTIVE, PROCESS, COGNITIVE, PERCEPTUAL, OR PERFORMANCE
OUTCOMES. IN FACT, SUCH A LOUSY TEAMBUILDING EVENT IS
LIKELY TO BE NOT JUST UNPRODUCTIVE, BUT COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE BECAUSE THEY CAN TRIGGER RESENTMENT AND DISSATISFACTION
ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEES. SO, BAD TEAMBUILDING EVENTS ARE TRULY BAD. BECAUSE IT IS NOT THAT THEY HAVE NO POSITIVE
EFFECTS, IT IS THAT THEY HAVE NEGATIVE ONES! BUT EVEN THOSE TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS
THAT ARE PROPERLY DESIGNED AND CONDUCTED, WHICH TAKE A LONG TIME, MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT
WORK. EVEN REAL TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS ARE NOT
A MAGICAL SILVER-BULLET. TEAM EFFECTIVENESS IS NOT THE RESULT OF ONE
OR TWO THINGS, IT IS THE RESULT OF THE SYNERGETIC EFFECTS OF MANY FACTORS. ACCORDING TO RESPECTABLE HRM AND OB LITERATURE,
FOR A TEAM TO BE EFFECTIVE, THERE NEEDS TO BE ADEQUATE RESOURCES, A STRONG AND FITTING
LEADER, A FAIR AND GENEROUS APPRAISAL AND REWARD SYSTEM, TEAM MEMBERS NEED TO POSSESS
THE NECESSARY ABILITIES, EXPERTISE, KNOWLEDGE, EXPERIENCES AND MOTIVATION, AND THE FIRM OR
ORGANIZATION NEEDS TO HAVE A HEALTHY ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE WHICH IS IN LINE WITH THE ORGANIZATION’S
STRUCTURE AND ITS VALUES AND ITS MISSION AND VISION, ETC. ETC. THERE ARE MULTIPLE CATEGORIES OF FACTORS WHICH,
TOGETHER, CONTRIBUTE TO TEAM EFFECTIVENESS. CHANCES ARE NO STAND-ALONE TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTION
IS ABLE TO ADDRESS ALL THESE FACTORS REGARDLESS HOW PROPERLY DESIGNED AND EXECUTED IT MIGHT
BE. SO, WE SHOULD ALL STOP TREATING TEAMBUILDING
LIKE THIS MAGICAL SILVER BULLET. THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET. IN THE POPULAR MANAGEMENT LITERATURE, NUMEROUS
THINGS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED OR PORTRAYED AS A MAGICAL SILVER BULLET — TEAMBUILDING, OR
EMPLOYEE DIVERSITY, OR LEADERSHIP, OR OPEN PLAN OFFICES, OR ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE. BUT THE TRUTH IS — ANY OF THESE THINGS ALONE
WON’T FIX A COMPANY. WE SHOULD NOT EXPECT TO JUST DO ONE LITTLE
THING AND THEN SEE THAT ONE LITTLE THING MAGICALLY CHANGES A COMPANY. THAT HAPPENS ONLY IN MOVIES AND FAIRY-TALES,
NOT IN REAL LIFE. I UNDERSTAND — SIMPLE PROPOSALS THAT PROMISE
TO SOLVE COMPLEX PROBLEMS SELL, BUT THEY HARDLY WORK. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE.>>>WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TEAMBUILDING INTERVENTIONS. WHAT DO YOU AGREE AND DISAGREE WITH WHAT I
PRESENTED IN THIS VIDEO? I INVITE YOU TO LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS
DOWN BELOW, BUT PLEASE KEEP THEM CIVIL AND RESPECTFUL. AS ALWAYS, THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS RR VID,
PLEASE LIKE AND SUB, SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

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