ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Business and Employment»
  • Learn Business Skills

The Three Types of Team Building: What You Need to Know

Updated on May 27, 2009

It is a simple fact that an effective business means an effective team of employees. But how can you get your employees to act as a unit? How do you make sure that they become a team, rather than a group of individuals with only a passing knowledge of one another? That's where team building comes in. No matter what you know about team building - or what you think you know - this HUB will show you the three distinct types of teambuilding that are available to today's business. We'll go through each in detail, examining the short-term benefits and longer-term results offered. You'll be able to see which one will be best for your needs, and you'll be able to know exactly what you're getting when you hire a teambuilding company.

What Is Team Building?

Whenever two or more people are working toward one goal, a team effort is created. And wherever you have a team effort, you want that effort to be as efficient as possible. Team building is the art and science of bringing people together, of uniting the people working toward a single goal and helping them do their individual jobs more efficiently. It brings everyone together and refocuses, creating bonds and increased productivity.

The real debate amongst teambuilding firms is what exercises produce the best results. There are several different philosophies, ranging from the games-oriented weekend outing to a macro-level shift in the whole company, and everything in between. But what is the most effective team building tool for creating real results in your company? That depends on what you're looking for.

Teambuilding Style 1: It's All Fun and Games

You've probably heard at least one story from someone who did some kind of bonding game on a company retreat. Maybe you've heard a teambuilding professional talk about "outings." They may sound official, but basically they are field trips. Wine tastings and excursions to Dave n' Buster's are common staples of this type of team building. The idea is to have fun together, and then hope that the fun that's had will cement the team together.

At first glance, this type of teambuilding seems fairly logical. After all, the team that has fun together works well together, right? Well, not always. First of all, the type of excursion is vitally important. Imagine a group of lawyers or engineers singing silly songs together around a campfire. That won't bind them together; it'll just annoy everyone present. You'd be wasting time and money if you organized a teambuilding event like that.

The bottom line is that this type of teambuilding only works with young employees, and even then its effect on actual team unity is hit or miss. Maybe it will help the staff bond, but it might just end up being an outing that never produces any real results. This type of team bonding may even produce negative results. It can be a bit of a risk, and many companies find that this type just isn't worth it.

Teambuilding Style 2: True Team Building

This style of team building focuses on creating measurable results by shifting thinking and behavior. It's a comprehensive approach to teambuilding, using proven tactics to accomplish well-defined goals. This type of teambuilding focuses on strengthening communication and working more effectively, both of which increase the overall company bottom line. Structured exercises and training tools will help employees adapt and become part of a new, stronger team.

The best true team building companies can provide an experience that is both fun and effective. They may combine this style of teambuilding with an excursion, or it may be organized in the comfort of your regular offices. Wherever it is held, the main goal is always to increase business productivity, and to keep that increase in the long term. When it comes to long run results, most companies find that true team building provides the best duration and return in addition to present results.

This type of team building is good for any company with employees of any age and experience level. A good company of this type knows how to blend fun and serious work, providing your team with a great bonding experience and real improvement. This type of team building is also notable for its flexibility: it can work well at any level, whether it's within a small focus group, a larger department, or an entire corporate division.

Teambuilding Style 3: Management Consultation

This service isn't really team building, not in the traditional sense. Although many executives think it falls under the same heading, management consultation is really more company consulting than employee-focused. They provide a macro-level company shift, evaluating performance on a large scale and providing recommendations on a large scale. They may consider team building issues, but it's usually as part of an evaluation of the company as a whole.

While it may seem like a good idea to have your entire company re-evaluated, the process is a complicated undertaking and is always very expensive. Management consultants will go through every element of your company with a fine-toothed comb, unearthing and discussing far more than just personnel questions. You may get team building out of it, but you'll be paying for much more than just that.

The bottom line is that management consultation is best only for companies looking for a company-wide shift, not a department that wants to improve productivity. It's also a very costly process, so be certain you find a good company, and know that you want the level of detail and information that they will give before you submit your down payment.

Finding The Right Teambuilding Strategy For Your Company

Now that you know a bit about the team building strategies available, it is time to consider which one will be best. The easiest way to decide is to consider your long-term goals. What impact do you want to see a year from now? Do you want just one department affected, or are you looking for something that will overhaul your entire company, not just the employees? What you want from the teambuilding experience is the most important factor guiding your decision. Consider results first.

Getting The Best Teambuilding Service

Once you know what type of team building you want, you're ready to find a company that will provide the service. The key to finding the right company is making sure that they are really the kind of company you want - many fun and games companies will try to pass themselves off as true team builders although they don't have the expertise necessary. As a first step, check the company's website to see what experience and certifications they have. At the bare minimum, they ought to provide D.I.S.C. work profile assessment or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator testing. Both of these are powerful tools for determining working style and group dynamics, and it's hard to get good team building results without the information they provide.

After it is clear that a firm knows what they're talking about - on paper, at least - you can start looking at the details of what they offer. Do they seem knowledgeable about offering fun as well as productivity? Team building with the wrong company can be boring, and boring is rarely effective. The trick is finding a company that knows how to create lasting team building results in a fun atmosphere that can be tailored to your individual business.

Some companies are run by people who have not graduated from business school, and who have little or no experience in the business world. Even if these companies offer the necessary certifications, you should avoid them; they won't be able to understand what your business needs, and they certainly won't be able to understand the pressures of your particular market. Being a businessperson is a tough thing, and until you've tried it, it's hard to understand it. And if the team builder doesn't understand it, how can he or she help your employees understand it and become better at it? He or she can't. Don't risk your money. Get a team builder that knows business and is willing to take the time to learn the particulars about your industry and market.

Your second step should be to have a conversation with your prospective teambuilding company. Ask them questions, including some short inquiries about an actual team building problem you are facing. See if they sound knowledgeable in their answers, or if they sound hesitant and unsure. If you have any doubts whatsoever, they're not the right company for you, and you should move on.

Putting It All Together

Once you have found a great team building company that provides the type of exercises your business needs, you will see results. You'll get better productivity from unity and increased efficiency. You'll see immediate business benefits, and if you get the right company, those benefits will last for years to come. If you are pleased with your results, consider developing a lasting relationship with the team building service you used. It will be helpful for integrating new employees, but it will also be good to give your more experienced team members a tune-up to keep productivity and morale high.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      Great job admin,

    • profile image

      wahidullah 5 years ago

      What are the Types of team building

    • profile image

      Megan L 8 years ago

      I really like how you broke down the different types of team building exercises. After reading this, I now realize that most of the team building events I've participated in could be categorized as just 'fun and games.' Next time my firm is looking to strengthen our team building practices, I'm going to definitely recommend we turn to the experts so we can really start seeing results. Thanks for the great info!

    • Christine OKelly profile image

      Christine OKelly 8 years ago from California

      LOL - I LOVE the video from The Office. Classic! This Hub really got me thinking about my business... and whether or not I may be able to increase productivity by strengthing the team. I have an interesting situation because everyone on my team works remotely. This has gotten my wheels turning about how to adapt some of these ideas into a 'virtual' environment. Great stuff - thank you for this!

    • Marianne G profile image

      Marianne G 8 years ago from Florida

      Great info! I have participated in the "outing" teambuilding events in the past and you are right. They can be pricey and are not guaranteed to change anybody's perspective. How can watching a baseball game truly bond employees anyway? Lol