There was a time that team building opportunities for companies either consisted of a take- away lunch every other month or it was left up to employees to initiate socialising between colleagues after business hours. Thankfully managers have realised that team building cannot be left to chance or limited to a quick bite during working hours.
The Science Behind Building Strong Teams
A recent study by the MIT Media Lab has shown that the “science” behind strong teams is still good old fashioned, casual face-to-face interaction. As quoted in a recent copy of the Harvard Business Review, the researchers at MIT have shown that the greatest trust and best communication in strong teams are a result of people talking, sharing and interacting in an informal person-to-person situation.
The device invented by the researchers at the MIT Media Lab in the form of a security badge recorded with whom people interacted and how long. By tracking these interactions they concluded that informal socialisation in a face-to-face interaction accounted for a 35% variation in team results with the most interactive teams outperforming all others.
Team Building Activities Encourages Interaction
By analyzing the data obtained, they assessed that relaxed encounters outside of formal meetings is one of the most important factors to ensure the success of a team. The real eye-opener of the MIT study is that great teams can be created when a group of people who don’t necessarily stand out much on their own are given an opportunity to get together informally, i.e. team building.
The ultimate aim of great team building should be obvious: to encourage relaxed, face-to-face interaction in such a way that it encourages trust and more comfortable communication in the workplace. On the other hand a recent article in Forbes implied that team building exercises that excessively try to impress leadership training or functional objectives are shown to be less successful in the long run.
Team Building Events Should Not Be Too Formal
Managers overly concerned with getting a return on investment for every team building event has been shown to result in the teams not fully participating in their corporate events. In order to function at an optimal level, teams need to be given a chance to interact with each other in activities that can be just as outcome based as management needs, but without feeling that they are receiving training to address a specific need.
This is where professional help is required – the benefits of great teamwork cannot be denied and all managers know that great teams are needed for great results. Professional team building organisations know how to design and organise an event that will not only enable casual face-to-face interaction as the MIT study has suggested, but also how to incorporate much needed activities that result in the outcomes required by management without making it feel like the team is on a training session.
Benefits of Using Team Building Facilitators
The ultimate aim for all team building sessions have one thing in common – keeping teams interactive once the event ends. A professional team building facilitator knows that people are people and especially during these times, team managers need to create opportunities for people to meet, talk, socialise, and relax face-to-face, to ensure that their teams remain resilient and strong.