No company retreat is complete without some type of team building activity, or two or three; we can’t get enough of them here at Sugar Lake Lodge. Why? Because team cohesion is one of the most important things a business can have. Your people are your company, and how well they work together determines how productive they are on a day-to-day basis, how efficiently they solve issues, and the complexity of the problems they are able to solve.
What the Heck is Team Building Anyway?
You’ve already built a team, as in you’ve hired the right people for the right positions. Your team also works well together; they get along, and most people are happy. That’s great, but it’s not what we mean by the term “team building.”
Perhaps we should start with what team building isn’t: team bonding.
Team bonding is about building strong interpersonal relationships among the members of your team. It’s about creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and environment for people to work. It helps with employee happiness and retention, and it builds trusting relationships between the people in your office every day.
It basically means that they know and like each other well enough.
While team bonding is important for the relationships between your employees—it’s also something we do here at Sugar Lake Lodge—team building is how well your employees come together to solve problems. Your team can be filled with best friends who have known each other for decades, but that doesn’t mean they can work well together to solve the challenges they will face in your industry.
That’s where team building comes into play.
The Benefits of Team Building for Your Organization
On a general note, research has found that team building has a positive effect on team outcomes. In terms of specific outcomes, team building was most strongly related to process outcomes (how well the team achieved a proposed purpose).
That’s not all. Practicing team building has many benefits for your organization and everyone in it:
- Increased team effectiveness: this study found an association between attending team building exercises and team effectiveness. Teams that went through team building exercises performed better at solving various problems than control groups that did not.
- Better communication: a study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that team building activities can improve team cohesion, communication, and collaboration. The more your team works together through thought-provoking challenges, the better communicators they will become.
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses: team building often involves activities that highlight individual strengths and weaknesses. This isn’t about singling people out based on their skills; it’s about identifying gaps in your team’s capabilities. These insights can be used strategically in the workplace for better task delegation and to create a more balanced and capable team.
- Team structure: team building tasks can also cue you in on where you need to hire, how the roles of your employees can change, and who can potentially move up into a leadership position.
- Managing conflict: conflict is a natural part of any team dynamic. Team-building exercises put your team in situations that encourage conflict and teach them how to resolve it in a healthy way. This helps team members understand and navigate issues in a constructive manner.
- Encouraging creativity and innovation: Some team-building activities focus on fostering creativity and innovative thinking. We won’t spoil the fun, but we have some pretty unique challenges that force teams to think differently approach problems in new and imaginative ways. This contributes to a culture of innovation.
Team Building is Not a One and Done
Like anything, your team can easily fall out of “team-building practice” if they do not keep up with these types of activities year after year. That’s why they make the perfect addition to a company retreat. Many of the research studies we’ve cited have shown that the effects of team building wane over time. People forget the lessons they’ve learned and fall out of the habits they have formed.
While we recommend revisiting these lessons multiple times a year, the least you can do to maintain the effectiveness and benefits of team building activities is incorporate them into your annual company retreat.
At Sugar Lake Lodge, this is just one of the many things we do for organizations looking to design a custom corporate retreat or event. We go well beyond the typical “icebreakers” and social events, working with expert facilitators to design team building activities that drive performance for your team.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to your team? We’re happy to help! Get in touch with Abby, our Director of Leadership programming, for a quick introductory call. Talking about your goals will help us begin to build a program that gets you the outcomes you need for the teams that are most important to your organization.
Give us a call at 218-327-1462 or fill out the form on this page to get in touch with us!