Event Management

by Rus Slater

Teambuilding and strategy days

If you have been asked, or you have decided, to run a ‘teambuilding’ event, there are a number of specific considerations that are relevant.

  1. There is a difference between ‘teambuilding’ and ‘team bonding’:
  • Teambuilding is a deliberate set of activities that are designed to get a group of people to recognise the value of working as a team, to identify their shared goals and objectives, to identify their team style and interactions, to learn about each other’s strengths, to develop leadership and followership and to create a synergistic relationship.
  • Team bonding is closer to the creation of a series of friendships within a group. This comes about when a group of relatively like-minded individuals share an experience or interaction.

This may sound rather a semantic difference, but team bonding may well occur as a result of a day of paint-balling followed by a night of carousing in the bar. This is not actually likely to create a team ethic that will translate to the workplace.

  1. When selecting activities for either teambuilding or bonding, try to select activities which are inclusive to all the group;

A team leader was bemoaning the fact that ‘teambuilding activities are a waste of time’:

‘I’ve organised three teambuilding sessions and it is always the same people who take part and the same people who won’t come – it just creates a clique!’

What teambuilding sessions have you organised?’ he was asked

‘We went for a five-a-side night one Thursday, paint-balling one Saturday and a curry and lager one Friday night’

...and what were the outcomes?’ he was asked

Dave, Mike, Jim, Stevo, and Tony came to all of them; Pete, Phil and Andy came to the five-a-side, but Mary, Jane, Helen, Kate and Kathy didn’t show up at all! Total waste of time!’

At the risk of sounding sexist...

Activities that are physical need to be managed in a careful and considered way to ensure that they include all the team. There are organisations that will manage this; they are not cheap, but they are often better than the alternative!

If you are planning teambuilding or team bonding activities, it is as important to consider all the other aspects covered in this topic, such as goal setting, timing, location, insurances and legal aspects.

Strategy days

It is becoming increasingly popular to take a team off site to a neutral venue to have a session to develop ‘strategy’. This is an annual feature with some senior management and board level teams and is increasingly common at lower levels in the hierarchy, both for operational business and project related arenas.

If you are organising such an event, it is critical for the team concerned to have a strong and common understanding of the goal.

‘Strategy’ is an elastic term in many people’s minds, so a strategy planning session can range from simply identifying where you want to be in five years, to considering options that may support that objective, to deciding which options you will adopt, to prioritising those options and finally through to planning how you will actually deliver each of those options.

See the topics on Teambuilding and Strategy.