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Team Building in the Office Stinks

Do you feel this way?  Even though I speak about and promote team building activities in the office, I know why some of us have believed that team building activities stink.  I know where that disdainful feeling resides and it’s not a pretty place.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about using the right activity at the right time with the right people for the right duration in the right situation is because I’ve had to endure those activities when that criteria was not met.  It can be torture.  In my Guidelines for Using Ice Breakers ebook, I briefly point out that there is a right time and place for the bonding activities.

One of the worst team building activities I had to endure was on a retreat with a really large group of people who were asked to go on what seemed to be a mock scavenger hunt.  A purposeful, well-developed scavenger hunt would have worked better.  Instead, the format of this activity had us voluntarily getting into groups.  Right there, the disaster started.  We all stood around and looked at each other to determine if we wanted to be on the same team or not.  Our teams did not form well; the resentment started.  The directions were unclear; we did not understand what we were supposed to do together.  Go searching throughout the building?  Inside and outside?  We were instructed to create a list of items to identify yet the items were so obscure; the entire exercise was a morale killer.  The instructions were poor, the facilitator was awful at communicating, the timing of this large-scale complicated event was right after a fatty lunch when we were all fighting the yawns.  No one was happy.  The outcome was not joyous, celebratory, interesting or bonding.  A total flop.

I’ve since heard similar stories from people about team building activities, or ice breakers from hell that have ruined their willingness for more.

Since I am an inventor, I see opportunity, problems to solve and ice cream in my freezer all the time (dreaming and inventing go hand in hand).  I am out to crowd out the inappropriate team building activities by replacing them with small and effective games that will provide levity in the office while helping people learn how to work better because of their differences.

As of this post, I have FIVE (5) games very close to being published.  The fact that they are not yet for sale on the Internet stinks too, I know.  Please be patient.  Those of you who have tested these fun ice breakers are first in line to hear the news when the games are available.

In the meantime, join me in this quest to stamp out the team building activities that stink!

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One Response to Team Building in the Office Stinks

  1. Wow — what a fantastic resource! I came across your web site kind of by accident and found myself reading everything! Each link provides such fun and useful information. Because my boss and I are responsible for maintaining some semblance of employee morale, you know I’m going to be referring to your site again and again and again….. Thank you!

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