Posts Tagged ‘Teambuilding’

Team-Building or Team Intervention

Mar 29, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Team Intervention


Picture source: Wishard_of_Oz via Flickr

Picture source: Wishard_of_Oz via Flickr

Some well-meaning trainer friends recently commented:

“Allen, it will be difficult to get people to show interest about your Team Intervention work. You can’t even ‘google’ team intervention on the web.”

“You have to tell people that you are good at team-building. You have to accede to the mainstream.”

“You got to do what the clients want…not what you think you want.”

Well, I intended to stay the course…but let me explain.

The idea of team-building can be trace back to the year 1920s-30s with the now classic Hawthorne studies. These involved a series of research activities designed to examine in-depth what happened to a group of workers under various conditions. After much analysis, the researchers agreed that the most significant factor was the building of a sense of group identity, a feeling of social support and cohesion that came with increased worker interaction.

My sense is that most mainstream ‘team-building’ events are designed specifically to address the above bolded factors:

Sense of Group Identity – the event are usually high in energy, competitive or challenging activities to arouse collective sense of group identity. The team/group may leave with recollection of what their purpose is and new found camaraderie at the end of the day.

Feeling of Social Support - the sessions tend to give maximum opportunities for supportive action (holding one another, belaying and supporting in low/high adventure learning settings etc), brainstorming and problem solving, discussion and cheering for one another when the chips are down. The idea is to let team members rekindle the feeling of social connection again.

Increased Worker Interaction – Not the least, a typical team-building event will have team members spend maximum time eat, sleep, have fun and suffer together usually at an off-site location far away from their workplace environment. They will usually have group presentation, role-plays and activities like amazing race, river-rafting and building anything using lego bricks to cooking together in a posh kitchen and even spraying paint ball at each other.

Don’t get me wrong, my points above are perfectly alright and legitimate for building a team. In fact, I have been doing this for the last ten years and still enjoys doing and think that it does impact team development to some extend…Here’s my problem, I constantly question myself;  is that what team-building is about? I have seen enough sweat and laughter with the team during the event but at the end of the day when I watched them walk out of the room, I doubted the “feeling” they have just acquired was sustainable.

ConversationCircles want to do more and deeper work with team that goes beyond just sense, feeling and interaction.  We want to intervene right from the beginning during consultation, listen to your real issues and challenges that is facing the team and together take some calculated risk to provide CIRCLE solutions to group intervention that may be sustainable.

We are prepared to intervene…are you ready?