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Definitions of Team Building

Updated on October 20, 2014

'Team Building' or 'Team-Building' or 'Teambuilding'

What is it about our culture today that our language seem to get us to say the exact opposite of what we really mean?
Isn't it strange that when the youth say that someone is bad, it actually means they think they are good?
Today's youth take something great and think its "cool" when back in the seventies they all thought that thing was "hot"!

We are often frustrated by people's definition of 'Teambuilding'.
There seems to be such a wide variety of viewpoints as to what a teambuild actually is.
Some people will call the boss sitting in an open plan office randomly spewing his wisdom as a teambuild, a few drinks after work with some colleagues on a Friday night as a teambuild, the company paying for an annual ten-pin bowling evening gets justified as a teambuild or just a sponsored braai or barbeque outside the back warehouse on a Friday afternoon gains the label of a teambuild.
The trouble is, too often these activities are anything but a teambuild.

Now our research doesn't help us much.
Even as I type this article the number of red squiggly lines under the word 'teambuild' is disconcerting.
This program seems to indicate that it is not a word!
The dictionary does not display the word teambuilding anywhere.
Referring to the internet we gained a little hope when Wikipedia came up with a result, but that was quickly deflated when the first thing is that you read a warning that "the article does not reflect the encyclopaedic tone of the site".
It then proceeds to show a picture of a team of women lifting a log as teambuilding for the US military. Really!

So how do we define Teambuilding?

Well 'Teambuilding' is about people getting back to the people that we work with and realizing that they are also human, they also have a life and interests and they are probably not as bad as we imagine them to be when we cuss and deride them for adding to our workload.
Teambuilding is about taking a breath and putting people in an environment to refresh themselves and realize that they need the other members in order to succeed, and that they themselves are needed and valued.
It's about treating everyone with respect and creating an scenario where everyone can get involved and show their worth, not just the physically fit people, or those with a degree or those that have been there for longer.
It is about everyone - No exceptions.
Teambuilding is about creating a safe haven where people can talk openly about their ideas and frustrations and work out how to make their working environment more effective.
The debriefs in a outcomes based team building activity are about allowing everyone on the team the opportunity to share their thoughts on what can be done to work smarter.

A teambuild is about making more friends.

It has been found that the best way to achieve this is though a fun environment, but fun is only one of the deciding factors.
There has to be a solid point to it and most often this is done via a time of reflection after the fun has been had. People need to embed the learning that they have just experienced.
They need to reflect on what worked, what didn't work and what they could do differently if they had to do it again.
They need to take the results of an interactive team building intervention and dissect how they can take some principles back to the office to make it a better place.
Altered attitudes and positive changes in people are made this way.

The M.D. of a leading team building company in South Africa, says "We frankly don't care that one of the words in our name is not defined and we'll go about sharing our definition of what we consider to be one of the most critically needed interventions in today's corporate world. They want us to call it 'Team Building', or 'Team-Building', but we need to force the dictionaries to recognize this word - 'Teambuilding'".


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