8 Team Building Myths

Bopana Nanjapa

Bopana Nanjapa

Regional Head - South

“Team building? We had one half-day activity just 6 months ago!” is a common refrain from the manager. “Why do we need anymore?” There exist many such team building myths, some that are unique to India, others that are universal. Here are a few:

#1 – Team Building activities need physical fitness

The first vision that springs to mind when team building is mentioned, is a day out of the office, possibly in a resort, playing games or physically exerting oneself. Team building need not comprise only the outdoors and certainly does not prerequisite physical fitness. The intention of a well-planned activity is to solve a problem together, as a group. In the process, challenges are overcome and team members communicate and collaborate. Such activities can be indoors and not necessarily involve physical effort.

#2 – Once a year team building activity is good enough

Annual events in companies are common. Put simply, these events are not planned or designed for improving teamwork. The next time you attend a company event, check if you are any more communicative with your team members after. These annual events are typically run to share company-wide updates or to exchange notes with others in the company that you may not have met for many months. Nothing more, nothing less.

#3 – Fun is proportional to the funds allocated

One multinational company allocates a quarterly budget of INR 200/- per employee for fun activities. Practically, all this INR 200/- can buy today would be a plate of samosas, chips, and tea! Jokes apart, the funds allocated need not deter you from having fun. Team meetings can be an excellent ground for experimenting with various team building activities, such as the Mine Field, Game of Possibilities, etc. Try it. It will be fun and doesn’t cost anything!

#4 – There is no ROI with team building

Effective team building activities lead to a positive vibe at the workplace and are excellent fodder for camaraderie. Colleagues reminisce about the good times had and learn more about each other. Asking for help from someone who was difficult to talk with, suddenly becomes much easier too! This leads to a more pronounced effort put in towards results. A collaborative team performs far better than one that does not.

#5 – All metrics will turn green with team building events

With all the benefits of team building, it will NOT lead to an overnight change in the metrics for the team or the company. We agree that team building is immeasurably important, but by itself, it does not guarantee profitability and a booming business. So, if you are looking at that castle in the air following one such event with team building, hold your horses! It is not happening yet. Team building activities are not a panacea for all ills. However, It does remain an important cog in the wheel of success for the company.

#6 – Activities will need physical contact

In the Indian context, some individuals may be wary of touch or any sort of physical contact during the team building activities. Happily, activities can be planned that honor and respect this often-overlooked sentiment. Feel free to reach out to us for some tips!

7# – A team lunch/ dinner is an excellent team building activity

The discussions that happen over lunch/ dinner give enough insight into each other. Why plan for anything different, eh? Because in a team lunch, all that happens is that teammates eat food in a crowded restaurant and talk to their immediate neighbors only. Eventually, the lunch with teammates that happens in the cafeteria every day simply shifts to another location outside of the campus. We know team building takes more effort than that!

8# – Productive time is being wasted

Last but not the least, for this post, is this hugely common misconception about productive time being wasted with a day out. Admittedly, poorly planned events can be a waste of time. What if we spend time in making the event more meaningful for everyone? What if the group spends quality time together in solving a real-world challenge that leads to enhanced communication and collaboration? This is possible to do and requires a commitment from the leaders in the group.

There are many more such team building myths. Do you have any that you can think of? Do not forget to leave a comment with your thoughts and feedback. I would love to discuss them with you.