Some years ago, when I was working in IT, we were informed, one morning, that we all needed to go across to the local hotel for a team building day. There had been no warning and it was mandatory regardless of what deadlines or work loads we had. I don’t think anyone was impressed with that. Nevertheless, we duly marched across the road to the sound of some unimpressed grumbles, entered the hotel and sat down in a conference room, to be addressed by a team of very intense but well-meaning organisers.
There were around 50 of us at the time and we were split into five groups. My group was taken outside for our first exercise: The throwing of furry balls to each other whilst shouting out the name of the person you were throwing to. This took 20 minutes, standing in the carpark, in the rain, and then we were blindfolded and had to do the same again. I’m sure you can imagine that this was largely unsuccessful. But apparently that wasn’t the point – it was supposed to be forming a mutual bond between team-members. Did that include the guy I hit in the face with my rain sodden furry ball? Probably not.
We returned inside and were given a pile of old newspapers, a pair of scissors and a flip chart board each. The instructions were - to cut pictures or articles from the papers and paste them on the flip charts with blue tack. The pictures and articles had to be relevant to my personality, so that the other teams would be able to work out who it was who had made this montage.
It was a distinct failure. There was little I could relate to in the way of pictures and articles. In the papers there were things such as: The Euro had just been launched, Glenn Hoddle had been sacked as England Manager, The Midland Metro opened in Birmingham. There was the Solar Eclipse, Harold Shipman, The Rugby World Cup, The London Eye, and Vauxhall launched the Zafira. I can’t remember what articles and pictures I chose, but 3 people thought I was, quote “The woman in accounts.”
There were other exercises which we experienced during the day and there was a common feeling amongst us all that it had all been a waste of time and money. So, when I moved to the Events Industry, I vowed to set up a team building methodology THAT WOULD ACTUALLY WORK. And I am proud to say that the work we do at Nice N Easy Events really does make people feel like a productive member of the team.
How do we do it? I'll blog more about this very soon!