By Jeffry Farman, past Global President, International Association of Conference Centres.
So, you a planning to take your team away for a few days for some positive learning and motivation. You ask, “team building? Is it a good investment? Is there any scientific evidence that it is worthwhile? Does it really work?”
More important than ever
These questions have exercised the minds of researchers over decades and there has been copious scientific evidence to say it does. In an era in which co-workers are spending less time interacting with one another and more time in front of monitors and messaging services (even to chat with people sitting just mere feet away from them), team-building is actually more important than ever before. People today often work remotely making it difficult to really feel part of a team.
What Makes a successful team - Study provides evidence
Many organisations focus on goal setting, problem solving, role clarification, improved communication and the discovery of leadership potential. A study from MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory showed that when it comes to predicting the success of a great team, the most important element is how well the team communicates during informal meetings:
"With remarkable consistency, the data confirmed that communication indeed plays a critical role in building successful teams. In fact, we’ve found patterns of communication to be the most important predictor of a team’s success.”
Another study showed that results (based on 60 correlations) suggested that team building has a positive/moderate effect across all team outcomes. In terms of specific outcomes, team building was most strongly related to affective and process outcomes.
Give Back to the community
One popular example is to find a volunteering opportunity in the community, such as a food bank, in which team members can spend time helping the community while also getting a break from their regular jobs. By putting team members into a different context such as this, conversations and relationships will inevitably grow.
There are plenty of other ways to develop a sense of camaraderie amongst team members -- even for those who might work remotely or otherwise cannot physically participate in team-building activities. Ultimately, the goal is to make everyone in the organization feel genuinely valued and, most importantly, give them a sense of where they belong within the overall organization. That, coupled with a culture of respect, is a key to genuine and long-lasting team building.
There’s more on the positive aspects of team building in our new, FREE “Guide to Team Building” e-book.