How To Fail At Team Building

Many business leaders organize team building activities to consolidate team spirit within the company and improve performance… and it’s all wrong. Laurent Vorelli, HR Propulsion Director and specialist in organizing team building activities, shares the common mistakes to avoid.



1. Throwing yourself into the action without diagnosis

“We follow a recipe, repeating past experiences, copying the strategies already applied to other companies and duplicate it as is into our own situation. On the contrary, it is necessary to analyze and take into account the company's structure, mission, culture, team dynamics… It thus becomes clear that the problem is not even a team mobilization problem, but mismanagement from supervisors! In this case, for example, it would be more suitable to develop the management skills of the person responsible for training or coaching.”

2. Don’t set specific targets

“Increasing the team’s mobilization is a very broad concept. Maybe there are some very committed and mobilized individuals within the team but who are used to working on their own. In this case, there is little interest in strengthening these aspects of the mobilization team. However, it would be appropriate to increase collaboration within the group. If the team building activity is not set up that way, intended to promote collaboration and the power of the working group, then we are losing our time.”


3. Forgetting that you’re seeking change

“Sometimes, team building activities, because they are not action-oriented or the facilitator loses control, turn into a flood of anecdotal discourses and personal outpourings from participants. We certainly want people to find individual and collective issues, where they share what they feel and they can draw conclusions, but in the end, the organization expects that concrete changes will come from this type of activity.”


4. Group mismanagement

“This is a common trap. It allows those who are leaders to monopolize the trading of ideas and take their own initiatives during the exercises and activities. The result: the most introverted people remain in their corners and participate very little. The facilitator's role is to ensure that everyone actively participates and that no one is left out. This is a team activity, after all!”


5. Having fun… and that's it

“Often, we see activities where people have fun… And what? It's maybe good for the team for a moment or two, but what do we have the next day? Having participants enjoy themselves is not enough, it is important to build on what has been experienced. This is why it is important to take the time to ask, think and discuss what has happened, to make a connection with work situations and draw conclusions. This feedback time is often even more rewarding than the experience itself!”


6. Considering team building activities over once they are completed

“We need to follow up! Otherwise, everything will fall flat. People forget their ideas and resolutions once they return to their workstations. If, for example, the idea of a new work organization emerged during the mobilization activity, one could create a working committee to implement this idea, thereby ensuring that the mobilization activity brings concrete results.”


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