#199: Team Building Makes Me Nervous

Team building exercises make me nervous. At best, they teach people how to do meaningless things together. At worst, they produce the opposite effect.

This happens when our focus is on team building instead of on a work-related outcome.

A focus on team building makes you want people who are good at liking each other and trusting each other and paddling well together. When you focus on outcomes, you understand that you need people who care so much about the outcome that they overcome their liking to deal with any member who is not performing.

Consider this example. A friend was once told to improve the teamwork between her staff and an important client by going river rafting together. In her own words: “Before, I thought he was an idiot. Now I know.”

So much for team building. What should have mattered was the work they produced together. Not whether they could paddle together.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.