How Focused Are Your Team Building Activity Goals? office team building activities

When I was in college, I was the most unfocused guy you’ve ever met. When it came to social activities, I had wide and disparate areas of interest, and worked hard, no doubt – just not at any one thing in particular. I felt a need to be “well-rounded,” and as such tried to jam as many things onto my plate as possible. In short, I was a Jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none.

Here’s a brief rundown of my college “extra-curricular” activities:

  • Saxophone/bands
  • Writing for the humor publication
  • Volunteer firefighting
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Italian club
  • Media club
  • Hillel
  • Fraternity
  • Hip-hop dance troupe (seriously)

Plus a whole bunch of other stuff I can’t remember. Kind of a random collection, no?

As far as classes themselves, I was equally unfocused – with the exception of the requirements for my major (psychology), my undergraduate college transcript looks like I shook up the course book and took whatever poured out first. I was always jealous of, say, the pre-med kids who basically had their entire lives already mapped out: they had a set of requirements and steps to take over the course of 4 years in undergrad, followed by the necessary steps to get into med school, residency, internship and then ultimately into the workforce.

As I was back in college, I find that a lot of companies who approach me for corporate team building activities in New York City and elsewhere are when it comes to planning their events. During my initial conversation with any inquiring CEO, HR director, office manager or department head, I always ask: why are we doing this? What do we ultimately want this group to get out of the experience?

Sometimes, the answer is very clear:

  • I want to boost office morale
  • We have a specific teamwork issue which must be addressed
  • My group doesn’t communicate well
  • My team doesn’t collaborate like they should
  • We’ve just merged 2 companies/departments, and need to integrate them

However, more often than not the answer is actually one of the following:

  • We do something like this every quarter/summer/year
  • Everyone’s been working hard, and needs a break
  • We just want to do something fun
  • My boss told me to do this

Team building can and should be an enjoyable shared experience – however, in order to really get the most out of the event, it is imperative to have clearly defined goals beforehand. Not only does doing so help identify which areas you are seeking to address, but it makes it easier to measure the outcome.

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  1. Hannah on November 17, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Great ideas here. I think knowing your employees and being able to choose an activity that they’ll respond to is key.

    • david on November 17, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Thank you Hannah – agreed! It’s not enough to simply say, “let’s have a team building event” – you need to have a firm understanding of your group and how they tick, before selecting an appropriate activity

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