Let's be clear. I am talking about real team building that has an impact on the business, not a corporate play day or recreational event. They have their place but that is not what we are discussing today. How would you feel if someone invited you for dinner and instead of providing a full meal served an amuse-bouche and dessert and rushed you out the door before you could finish your coffee? Yet, this is the approach to "team building" that is becoming more and more common.
Some organizations are forgetting that businesses exist to generate profit. Their primary mission is not to provide social activities for employees. It's a trap into which many organizations fall. When the good times roll, there is a heavy emphasis on corporate play days that are justified in the name of "team building". This is followed by massive cuts in team building budgets whenever the economy dips. Much as this might upset those who peddle paintball and other recreational activities, recreation is not team building. Marketing recreation as team building is just as misleading as marketing icing and as cake or gravy as meat. So if recreation by itself is not team building, what does real team building look like? Here is some food for thought.
I was sure that, in the aftermath of the economic downturn and the "AIG Effect", we could finally say good riddance to companies using extreme activities as a substitute for real team building. Based on recent CNN report, this is not the case. I hope that some executives will come by and share their perspective.
.....with apologies to Jonathan Swift. The recent release of Pac Man on Google fired off a lot of brainwaves. With some of the trends we've seen in recent years, don't be surprised if some companies use the free flash version of Pac Man to reduce their "team building" budget to 0. Now there's a cost saving measure. Read the rest of this blog entry for more tongue in cheek approaches to shrinking "team building" budgets.