Team. It’s a word that we all, often grudgingly, have come to accept as a necessary ingredient in the recipe for organisational success. It’s a word that many of us roll our eyes at. This may have something to do with the fact that the original meaning of the word was “a set of draft animals yoked together”.
And there are times when teamwork can certainly feel like that.
However, evidence repeatedly shows that teamwork, when it is properly developed, is the beating heart of a thriving organisation. Not only that, it is also an enjoyable, morale-boosting, profit-enhancing wonder drug that leaves employees feeling fulfilled.
So, what are the skills that companies gain through team building activities? And, most importantly, why do they matter? Let’s shine the spotlight on three examples.
1) Better Communication
There is no shortage of literature illustrating the importance of communication. This academic interest is unsurprising: the figures are stark. For instance, a large multi-national study recently found that the average company loses £47.68 million per year as a direct result of communication barriers.
At the same time, organisations with excellent levels of communication achieve an average of 47% higher returns to investors.
The reason that these figures are so epic is that communication does not just affect one aspect of a company. Communication can have an impact on everything from problem solving, meeting deadlines, making mistakes, internal conflict, motivation, skill development, innovation and creativity, and organisational culture.
Team building activities highlight the communication barriers that are often invisible in the workplace and provide teams with the skills that they need to recognise and overcome these problems.
2) Improved Problem Solving
We spend most of our day-to-day lives solving problems without even realising it. These range from the small questions such as which colour socks to wear, to significant issues, such as whether to invest in a new venture.
We now know that this bombardment of choice leads to enhanced levels of stress.
Choice is intimately linked to problem solving, and psychologists tell us that one of the reason that we find choice so stressful is that we often go about the problem-solving process in entirely the wrong way.
And that’s just on an individual level.
On a group level, where communication issues may already be entrenched, problem-solving capabilities can entirely dissolve. This can lead to the organisational equivalent of the entire team being paralysed over the choice of which colour socks to wear with any bigger decisions being completely out of reach.
Team building activities aim to target these issues from a variety of practical and cognitive angles. Activities such as group Lego building might seem like rather pointless fun but they’re actually drawing upon extensive psychological research in order to develop powerful problem solving capabilities.
3) Increased Motivation
How it works is a bit of a mystery, according to scientists, but everyone acknowledges that motivation is a powerful force. It can also be a strange, dangerous and, at times, an illogical one. It’s clear that employees not only need to be motivated but they want to be motivated – indeed most people are constantly looking for causes and people to inspire them. When teams are thriving, organisational success can reach dizzying proportions.
Team-building activities can start the motivational / inspirational ball rolling. On an immediate level, they prove to teams that basic skills such as communication, problem solving, delegation, and teamwork can lead to the reward of success. This is known as ‘intrinsic motivation’ and the evidence suggests that it’s often a much more important influencer than extrinsic motivators such as financial perks.
However, perhaps more importantly, team-building activities are carefully designed to develop healthy motivational focuses. Grounded in ethics, they angle teams towards finding positive solutions, such as using innovation and creativity to turn a business around. It’s a much better strategic focus than corner-cutting (or worse).
See The Benefits For Yourself
It’s easy to rattle off a list of skills and qualities that team-building activities provide. However, it’s a mistake to think that building a team is about getting the ‘draft animals’ to pull the plough more effectively. Successful businesses draw upon the vast complexities of individual human thought and behaviour, which is why self-motivated, valued teams deliver such formidable results.
For a bespoke approach tailored to the needs of your team, please get in touch with one of our advisers today.