“Wine Tasting” is not Team Building

Carolyn Dorsey | Program Manager | People Factor, LLC

What does your company do for team building events? Do you go bowling? Is going as a group
to a cooking class the sum total of the event? Many people in management today believe that
these are great activities to build their teams. While these are good for building some
camaraderie, they are really just team “outings.” Unless your team is learning something new
about how to work more effectively together, your outing is not really “building” a better team.

So what constitutes a true “Team Building” event? The first element is determining what
you’re looking for the event to actually accomplish. What do you want to achieve as a result of
the event? Is your team having productivity problems? Is one member domineering and not
allowing others to do their jobs effectively? Is contention or internal competition killing the
peaceful, productive vibe you’re hoping for? A team building event – done properly – can help
address these issues and build a foundation for a more effective team going forward.

When People Factor designs a team building event, we start by having a long conversation, or
“discovery session,” with the manager on what issues he or she is hoping to address and see
improved. We find out what the needs are and create an event that is designed to address
those issues and help the team members understand there’s a better way. (We even find ways
to “push buttons” so we can talk about the issue in a more relaxed setting than oh, say, a job

A good team building event not only turns some light bulbs on for the team members, but gives
the manager feedback on what individuals are thinking and some supportive solutions to
implement going forward. It also has to be fun! A “classroom” experience isn’t much fun for

Finally, for any solution to “stick,” it has to have follow up. We check back in with the manager
to see how the team is doing with the issues we addressed at the team building event. Support
after the event is key for any solution to be successful, long term. We invested a lot of time and
effort into helping you and your team! We want to see those positive outcomes you were
looking for too! Truly, if you’re not happy, we’re not happy.

There are many activities billed as “team building.” Just make sure the activity and event
actually accomplishes a management/team goal. If you’re spending your budget and
productive work time to develop your team, you should get more out of it than some wine and