If you ask a person with antiquated views on leadership what their opinion on team building is, the following phrases will likely come out of their mouth:
“Waste of time.”
“Work is for work, not for hanging out.”
“Waste of money.”
“Not necessary for outstanding growth.”
Followed by more comments regarding budget necessity, leanness, and you needing to understand the difference between work and play.
And for those of you suffering from “antiquated boss” syndrome, I get it. I do. To some, team building seems like a superfluous expense; an excuse to get a paid vacation out of the company’s pocket. But it’s a lot more than drinks with little umbrellas and someone damaging the rental car. The outcome to team building, on any level, largely outweighs any of the aforementioned lines of poppycock.
Allow me to convince you.
Team builders are, for lack of a better term, about building a stronger team. Through various emotional, mental and physical exercises that are performed on these trips, our teams are given the opportunity to connect with those they need to have the absolute best in-work relationships with. There are a number of reasons why I feel so strongly about team building, and why I encourage every company to do their own fashion of it. And by “number of reasons” I mean exactly three:
- Team builders are an excellent way to get everyone out of their emotional shells. Exposed vulnerability isn’t typically something coworkers get to see in the workplace, so this is a great way to get people talking and discovering on deeper levels.
- By going on team builders in varying locations, you offer up ample opportunity for folks to learn how one another handles themselves in certain situations. For instance, you’ll see how your team handles struggle when you’re 4-wheeling in the Arizona desert and one of the 4 wheelers tips over, you’ll see how your team handles openness and vulnerability when in the middle of an intense lifeline exercise, and you’ll see how your team handles their liquor after a few Deep Eddy Grapefruit Vodka Sodas.
- Not only is the point of team building to grow over shared experiences, but it’s to foster an impenetrable culture from the top down and back up again. Team builders help create innate cohesion in the workplace as you learn and experience new things that rustle your emotions, physical capabilities, and understanding of one another.
“Yeah, Dan. We all like traveling on the company’s dime. But what’s the ROI?,” the speculative executive might ask.
The ROI is, in a sense, incalculable. The experiences, moments, learning opportunities and growing pains that occur during team builders are ones that you cannot put a number against. However, as explained in the aforementioned reason number three, the culture that is championed through this kind of bonding is one that can translate over your entire company. And as we know, culture promotes positive retention, positive retention promotes efficient workflow, and efficient workflow promotes unstoppable growth!!
So, if you’re on board for a little building but haven’t really an idea of what to do, here are some tips and suggestions to having the best team building trip ever, which will ultimately bringing your company to a valuation of 100 billion dollars:
- If your company has the means to travel, I highly recommend getting you and your team to a new city. Some favorites of mine have been trips to the California coast, and skiing in Colorado. If not, there are tons of programs and adventures that every city has to offer. In Austin, you could go on food tours, scavenger hunts, spend a day at the race track, go to a cooking class, or, my soon-to-be favorite, spend a day at a stunt ranch pretending to be an action hero!!
- If you are going to travel, over the last couple of years we’ve found that duration of trip is crucial. Not only for cost purposes, but for the sake of everyone’s wellbeing. We’ve discovered that 4 days, 3 nights (we do Wednesday to Saturday so there’s a buffer recover day) is the perfect amount of time spent away, and I recommend you adopt this same timeline before you book a week long trip and you lose your CFO to clinical insanity.
- Try to go on trips or do things that most of your team hasn’t done before. Once in a lifetime trips/adventures where you’re doing and seeing something new often makes for a fun, more memorable experience.
- And while you should definitely take advantage of adventures while away, be sure you schedule in enough down time for everyone to relax and have fruitful conversations with each other. Planning a trip that yields everyone returning exhausted is sort of counter productive.
Have any awesome team building stories? I want to know about them! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message and share your awesomeness.
Check out some photos from our most recent team builder to Phoenix, AZ: