When certain elements are missing, team building is less than effective. Definitely, an effort is made to include each and every one of these elements for every team building initiative. Unfortunately, many clients are totally resistant to including some or all of these elements. Including these elements will require a total of 40 - 60 minutes from the CEO (i.e. about 20 - 30 minutes with the CEO before the session, 10 - 15 minutes during the session and 10 - 15 minutes immediately after). Any CEO who is not prepared to invest this much time to ensure that team building is effective is simply not serious about it. When this level of commitment is missing, there is a high liklihood that team building will be ineffective.
It's happened before and it seems to be happening with increasing frequency. It's the focus on instant results. "Hurry sickness" is a disease that is now plaguing corporations all over the globe. It is not surprising that this has been showing up in team building sessions in North America for well over a decade and it's not getting any better. It's spreading. Companies are pushing and burning out employees and expecting them to produce results in ridiculously short timeframes. When team members try to set realistic boundaries, they are branded "inflexible". As a result, companies are losing some of their best people and experiencing alarming short-term disability costs due to the number of people on stress leave. It is not surprising that this is showing up in the approach to team building. Why spend a fortune on team building and allocate a timeframe in which it is virtually impossible to achieve results? Why pay top dollar for an expert team building consultant, fly them half way across the world and ignore their advice? I hope that every CEO reading this who expects "instant results" from their people will seriously re-think their orientation.
What a week! First the debt ceiling crisis kept the world at the edge of its seat. Then, financial woes in Europe and concerns about the Euro and the Yen. Now stock markets around the globe are spiraling downward. In the midst of this, I uncovered more incidents of wasteful spending on playtime for executives and employees by companies with declining performance. Have some executives learned nothing from the events of the past 3 years? No amount of playtime, golf, jamming in a rock band, or other placebos can substitute for good old fashioned brainstorming to tap into the collective wisdom of your team.
With increasing frequency, there is pressure to cut team building short on the last day. Suddenly there is pressure to wrap things up shortly, end the session early to let people go back to the resort early or have more free time for shopping. Cutting short the debiefing will guarantee that the analytical learners never have an opportunity to tie up loose ends. I have some ideas about why this is taking place but I want to hear from blog visitors first. Any comments that would shed light on some of these dynamics and propose solutions would be great.