Team Building Tips: Clarifying Objectives

Team Building Objectives

6. Clarify your  team building objectives.

Before you send a member of your staff to contact prospective suppliers and plan your corporate team building session or executive retreat, it is important to clarify why you want  team building.


  • Do you want to resolve business challenges?
  • Is your goal to foster “out of the box thinking”?
  • Are you trying to resolve a conflict?
  • Has there been a decline in demand for your products and services and do you want to do some brainstorming to identify new target markets?
  • Are you preparing for a merger or move?
  • Is there a need to design cost-cutting strategies

Remember you need the steak AND the sizzle. It’s an organization you’re running not a social club so keep that in mind when determining the best course of action. Far too often, companies end up disappointed in team building sessions and corporate retreats because expectations were not clearly identified and articulated.

Examples of Team Building Objectives

  • Forge stronger alliances between geographically dispersed teams
  • Fine-tune your marketing and sales strategy
  • Reduce friction and “turf wars” between organizational levels and departments.
  • Improve communication between teams and departments
  • Improve your decision making process
  • Identify strategies to reduce red tape and duplication of effort
  • Brainstorm and generate new strategies to resolve business issues and overcome challenges
  • Manage projects more effectively even within tight timeframes

Then, think carefully about whether or not team building is really appropriate. Select your programme based on your objectives not just because a particular activity sounds “cool”.

There is a place for team recreation, socials, picnics, etc. The key is to be clear about what you’re doing. Don’t call it team building just to have an excuse to party or next year maybe that budget will disappear.

At Executive Oasis International, each and every one of our team building sessions and executive retreats is LOADED with the “fun factor”.  However, unless someone has hired us strictly for recreation, its fun with a purpose. Why gather all of these people together, pay money to stay at a resort or rent meeting space at a hotel if your goal is strictly “fun”. Order a pizza, go bowling, go out for dinner and then salsa dancing, or go to an amusement park. It’s a lot cheaper.

The more specific you can be about your objectives, the better. If objectives aren’t clear it will be challenging to:

  • select a consulting firm, team building facilitator, and programme that hits the mark
  • design a meaningful simulation with relevant exercises and activities
  • debrief the session effectively and glean insights and learning that are relevant to your business
  • measure effectiveness

If you don’t take the time provide direction and clear objectives, the conversation ends up being:

Caller:I would like to get a quote for some team building.

Consulting Firm: Okay, great. Can I ask you a couple of questions to clarify what you need?

Caller: Sure.

Consulting Firm: What are your objectives?

Caller: I’m not sure.

Consulting Firm: I see. Well we do have a range of options so it would be helpful to have an idea of what you’re trying to achieve.

Caller:I really don’t know. I think we just want to spend some time away from the office and have fun.

Consulting Firm: I see.

Without clear objectives, you are likely to end up with a desk full of proposals for activities that are “fun” but add no bottom line value. You’ll end up making a selection based on the lowest cost provider or what your team think sounds like an an enjoyable activity. One day you or the person who succeeds you will conclude that team building consists of nothing but meaningless recreational activities. The entire budget will be cut.

The only way in which you can end up with effective team building that moves the yardstick in terms of business performance is to:

  • be crystal clear and specific about your objectives
  • communicate your objectives clearly to the member of your staff who is doing sourcing on your behalf

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