Top 5 Reasons Why Team Building Games Fail, and How to Avoid Them

When a Californian home security company chose their team building games, little did they know that the program would end disastrously, not just for the employees but for the company as well.

In the fiercely competitive game, sales teams were pitted against each other. Throughout the game, the competitors’ name posts were fixed in strategic places to make the employees ‘fight the crap out of each other’. In the end, the winning team ridiculed the losing team by making them wear diapers, feeding them baby food and throwing pies at them.

After the event, employees sued the company and it had to pay out USD1.7 million as damages! So much for honorable intentions!

A huge number of team building games fails because they share at least a few – if not all – of the elements above. They think that the best team games are those that pit teams against each other through fierce contests and throw up clear winners and losers. This is ironic because most companies desire more cooperation between employees, not fierce competitiveness. They want an atmosphere where knowledge is shared and success is achieved together. Then, where is the sense in selecting team building games where the focus is on competition rather than cooperation?

Some of the main reasons why team building games fail are as follows:

  • No understanding of final goals and objectives: Many employers like to spring a surprise on their employees but this can be counterproductive. When participants do not know the end goals, there could be seriously hostility between them. Instead, companies should inform the team members of the teambuilding program. In fact, companies can go one step further and give team members the power to choose. By respecting the team’s views and decisions in the matter and by giving them what they want, companies take the first step towards effective team building.
  • Trying to scare employees into being a team: Facilitators sometimes push a huge challenge on the employees as the very first activity. Quite naturally, this makes more than 90% of the participants hold back from giving their best. Facilitators must design games so that there is proper sequencing of activities starting with games that address the group’s current state of being. Do the team members know each other well? Is there a conflict that must be resolved before the team can work as one? The level of complexity must go up slowly to ensure that everyone is able to contribute evenly.
  • Stiff competition = rivalry: Competition is not the basis for team work, cooperation is. According to studies, more than 87% of times, greater advantage goes to teams that took the cooperative approach instead of the competitive one. The reasons are not hard to find. When you try to make one team (or team member) win, everyone loses. If people get a feeling that they weren’t good enough, it lowers their performance. Often, competition uncovers the inner jerk in the participants and some people may even try unfair means just so they can win. Besides, people learn much less when they are fighting against each other. Therefore, team building games must focus on imparting lessons instead of finding and rewarding winners.
  • Lack of commitment: Sometimes, management makes the mistake of considering the program an exercise in futility, something that is done to keep the employees in good humor. This feeling gets conveyed to teams automatically and results are unsatisfactory. Team building is a value mission and there must be a belief at the highest level that the company thrives on the culture of team spirit.
  • Working with the wrong consultant: Finally, the quality of team building games is only as good as the quality of the team building Event Company you are working with. Experts in the field have the technical proficiency to guide management in choosing the best activities for their goals. When looking for a team building consultant, it is vital to find someone who is passionate about what they do and are ready to work with you for the success of your team.

If a company has had a bad experience with team building games in the past, the reasons are likely to be one or more of the above.

Team Building Ideas

When John Dunne penned the phrase: “No man is an island”, he could well have been writing about the work ethos of corporate organizations to-day.

For, long gone are the days when the focus was purely on the individual, and personal goals in the workplace. Nowadays, however small the enterprise, the emphasis is on all members working closely together. And, for that, you need plenty of team building ideas, teaching your members how to communicate and interact well together, working collectively towards the same goals. After all, a business can only be truly successful when staff are motivated and pull together as a team.

History of Team Building

McDougall (1920) is reputed to have been the founder of team building, when he stated that there were five different conditions necessary for a highly productive group, although other persons of note, such as Sigmund Freud, have also recognized the benefits of team work.

However, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that companies in the United States seriously began to introduce a team-based system of working into their firms.

This method of collectively working towards and achieving required goals has now become recognized worldwide, to the extent that numerous consulting firms have set up, their purpose being to advise organisations and corporations on the best way for that particular firm to build its team, along with ideas and activities to improve the team’s performance.

Team Building Consultants

Teambuilding consulting firms possess the knowledge, experience and tools necessary to advise corporations on, first of all building a team, and then getting the very best out of that team.

They’ll discuss with you the specific goals of your organization, taking into account such issues as the needs of your team, their ages, and the size of the group.

They’ll then present you with team building ideas and activities for improving such matters as communication, motivation, goal-setting, problem-solving, decision-making, and trust-building. It’s also important that staff should explore their own strengths and weaknesses, and learn self-regulation.

All of this should result not only in highly-improved team productivity, but also in a more pleasant working atmosphere, making that particular company a more enjoyable place for staff to spend their working day.

Team Building Activities

So, what sort of activities will consultants suggest to help bring out the best in your team?

Team building ideas vary considerably, depending on the sort of organization you are. For, building an effective team is not only essential in the business world, it’s also very much required by other organizations, such as sports teams, youth groups, and cultural groups.

Activities range tremendously, from outdoor activities – both physically demanding and less physically challenging – through to group bonding sessions or behavioural-based activities designed to improve group functioning.

At the end of the day, whatever type of organization you have, a well-managed team will result not only in success, but also in its members being more motivated and working confidently towards their collective goals.

Green Commercial Buildings

In this day and age, it is simply not economical to consume unlimited energy resources. Costs for electricity, natural gas and heating fuel are climbing at a consistent rate, and show no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, the traditional methods of building maintenance and upkeep have become obsolete as technology is changing and our social responsibilities demand that corporations take a proactive step toward energy efficiency and green construction.

Those who live in residential neighborhoods have already begun shifting the way they consume energy – including electricity and fuel. For the past few years, statistics have shown that green products, from efficient fluorescent light bulbs to major energy efficient appliances, have been selling more often as people want to do their part to help the environment while saving money in the process. These same small steps can be done on a larger, commercial scale and achieve similar results.

Building managers who operate a traditional facility can begin thinking about their building’s carbon footprint and the type of lifestyle it promotes for the people who live or work in or around it. At first, the simple step of switching to energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs can be one way of reducing energy consumption, and reducing monthly energy expenses. From their, a building manager may explore the possibility of installing modern appliances that use a fraction of the electricity and energy of older, non energy-efficient appliances. Windows and doors can be replaced with models that are highly insulated, ensuring that the building’s heating and cooling system runs more effectively. New heating, cooling and ventilation systems can drastically improve indoor air quality and give the inhabitants of the building allergen-free air to breath.

On a larger scale, companies who strive to be proactive and drastically reduce outside energy consumption can install energy-generating devices that will allow the building to be self-sufficient. Solar panels and wind turbines will generate electricity for use inside the facility. In many cases, solar panels and wind turbines can create more than enough electricity – meaning an environmentally conscious, green building can help generate power for its entire community.

There are many steps one can take to improve building performance efficiency, small and large. Working with a green building consultant, a building manager can decide the right path for their facility and implement better maintenance techniques. CMMS implementation can greatly reduce costs and ensure building performance is running at the highest level of efficiency.

Green building consultants have expert knowledge on the most up-to-date green building techniques and can recommend energy efficient products and green product manufacturers. Remodeling and existing building or constructing a new facility with the help of a green building consultant will guarantee that it is designed in the most energy efficient manner and promotes a healthy lifestyle for those who live or work in it.