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Lee Martin

Toojays Training & HR Consultancy Ltd

Managing Director

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With the image of Team Building taking a hit in the media this week (Dragons Den - team Drumming, & Hotel Babylon - The Team Building Facilitator and 'Exercises')...just wondered how people were 'selling' corporate team development? Are the horrific perceptions created by such media having an impact? And how do you over come them? Personally we don't 'sell'. Infact we don't actively advertise....aside from details on our website - we dont market. Instead preferring to rely on word of mouth on the tangible, business focused, events that we run - that don't embarress, dont force people to do what they dont want to, and dont apply uncomfortable peer or facilitator pressure. And that approach...testimonials and recommendations, does work for us. Just wondered how others dealt with the preconceptions historic providers or the media create? Do employers still percieve team development to be just about 'fun' - or are more understanding the business links and ROI avaialbe.?

5 Responses

  1. playing to a different beat
    Juliet,

    I note the previous thread….but that seems to centre on the activities within team building…i.e. to drum or not to drum….

    The centre of my questioning is around ‘how do we all pitch/sell/promote/suggest the benefits of team building’ when the perception (not helped by the media) is one of useless, non relevant practices.

    sorry if that wasn’t clear to you…maybe the message didn’t come through clear enough…or was drowned out by the drums!

    Don’t want to bang on..but just curious as to how everyones finding the market for team development…

    (sorry now run out of drum puns)

    Lee

  2. I’m a DIY Kinda Gal!
    I have never attended or organised a team day such as those you are talking about. The reason for this is that I have an exceptionally tight budget. When every Post It note counts I’m not going to my MD to ask for money for fire walking, drumming or bridge building across rivers. He would think I was insane. I have to come up with cheap if not free excercises that I can run in a training room.

    Having said that, I have been so busy (especially recently) justifying everything I do and making it fit into the business that I was in danger of taking out the fun. There is no doubt that at the end of a course ‘That was so useful’ beats ‘That was so much fun’ hands down, but it finally occured to me that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    One day I may have money to throw at fun stuff, but even then I would be approaching any kind of expensive team training with a wary eye. If it doesn’t bring the money back into the business then the bridge building will remain as paper and foam blocks rather than in the Lake District!

  3. Out of Control
    Let me start by saying that I have no desire to claim that all “team-building” events are a waste of time or that all team building trainers are frustrated sergeant majors. They would be ridiculous generalizations.

    I can only speak for the few I’ve been on – which were in five cases out of six, a complete waste of time. And in the sixth case became a waste of time after a promising start, because there was inadequate follow up.

    The problem, it seems to me, is that anyone can set up shop as team building trainer with no particular skill, knowledge or experience. The overall leader of one course I remember (though I wish I didn’t) had spent his whole lworking life as a desk-bound engineer until he just thought he’d like a change. His second in command wore mirror sunglasses (NOT prescription lenses, and no history of sensitivity to light) every waking moment. They made a truly awful team, but got away with – as far as the company I worked for at the time was concerned – because no one from the O&R department was willing to travel the 300+ miles from head office to the location where the courses took place.

    The trouble is, as most of us probably know, the people who don’t like something are more likely to express their views in public (as I’m doing now) than the people who think a course is at least “alright”.

    As a very strictly personal opinion, I have never come across anyone – directly or indirectly – who supported the “team building” profession whose comments convinced me that they really knew what team building “best practice” would involve, either mentally or physically.

    The media’s view of team building may often be OTT – but in far too many cases, if the conversations I’ve been party to on the subject are anything to go by, the reality frequently isn’t too far behind.

    Be well

    Andy Bradbury

  4. Team building
    I have had lots of discussions recently with managers / directors about motivating their staff. There’s lots of comments around about communication and, for some, the preferred communication tool is a team day.

    However, like anything else in training, alluded to by others, there needs to be a business reason – for the odd few, a day out of the office at the company’s expense is seen as a reward for hard work. The individuals and the company don’t expect or want learning; the plus side of motivating the team this way is enough for them. For the majority, they would need to some benefits, even if they need help constructing them – eg if we can understand each other better, we can work together to improve some of our processes, such that we can reduce the cost to do xx or time taken to deliver yy or keep the customers happy, therefore keep more customers.

    Then the day is constructed around how they get to understand each other better – management simulation or simple games; psychometric or simple (free) questionnaire; asking them to ask each other what they want to know etc ….. And then the debrief.

    The team day is one option for improving the way/s people work together – as a trainer, I want the client to know what they want to achieve and then trust me to advise them of the most effective and efficient solution. Not just believe that a team day is a good thing, or a bad thing.
    Sue

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Lee Martin

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