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Team Building – what does it really mean? A provider speaks

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Do managers know what they mean when they look for team training and building? Julian Dodson, Director of Active Learning Events Ltd and the 7 Seas Challenge, looks at definitions and at the expectations of clients, and suggests what to look for.


Has the term 'team building' become diluted and confused?

At briefing stage we always ask our clients what outcomes they are trying to achieve – and still get responses like:

"Well we would really like to do some raft building, and perhaps rock climbing, and then end up in the bar for a good evening (and early morning)."

"I want the team to learn to work together and start to pull their weight – take them away for a day and sort them out."

The team bonding jolly and the special forces wake up call are two extremes of a poorly defined spectrum. So what does team building really mean? Some suggestions:

- Individuals and teams identify and define their shared goals

- Delegates understand how their strengths interlock

- Identify areas of weakness that need to be supported

- Measure and track performance improvements on key competencies

- Relate learning back to the workplace and real business growth opportunities.

A cycle of experience, reflection, learning and assimilation is critical, and that if this builds consistently over a period of time real performance benefits will follow.

It's still team building – but I wish I could think of a term that differentiated it from the jolly and the SAS.


What do you think team building training should aim to achieve? Post your comments below.

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