What’s hot in team-building programs? Check out these top trends that successful companies want (and benefit from the most).
Team building never goes out of style, and neither do the benefits that come with it. You know … like better communication, strengthened leadership skills, achieving common goals and objectives, and a better bottom line.
But the way we approach team building does change, and for good reasons. People change, businesses change … times change. That’s why I get excited whenever I see emerging trends in coaching, training and team building. Great things happen when I implement new ideas and fresh approaches to get awesome results. Being tuned in to what clients need – and what they respond to – makes team building that much more effective.
Take a look at the top 11 trends I see in team building right now:
CSR is BIG
While I’ve been organizing charitable team-building events for years, they have become more popular among employees and executives alike. Organizations are increasingly seeing the value of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and forward-thinking companies know the importance of having united employees while also making a difference in their community. A couple of long-term benefits from this approach is that organizations foster and develop new partnerships with specific charities in their community, and employees are often spurred to continue volunteering on their own time.
Vida Aventura examples:
- Putting for Pantry – teams build a putt putt course made from non-perishable food and household items
- Dog House build
- Building Bikes for Children
If you’re familiar with Steven Covey, then you know about his approach to “begin with the end in mind.” Many of the organizations that I work with are asking for development workshops like DiSC, Emotional Intelligence, and 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team. They also want the training to include a second or third day that gives the teams an opportunity to practice and apply the learning in a simulated environment. Why? Because at the end, that extra day helps cement new thoughts and behaviors in place.
Cross Team Integration
It’s more important than ever for teams to collaborate throughout the organization. Gone are the days when groups work in silos. Now teams are made up of a large cross section of the organization to work collaboratively toward shared goals. Organizations want to be able to leverage and capitalize on resources across the organization. And the surest, fastest and most effective way to do this is to build rapport and trust, and facilitate the integration.
A Physical Approach
More and more organizations are asking for team building events that are moderate in intensity. That’s not to say that you have to be a marathoner to participate. In fact, when I lead team building exercises that involve physical challenges, I emphasize that it’s always a choice, never a requirement. And I also reinforce that it’s not really about the physical challenge anyway – it’s more about challenge in working together effectively despite our differences. Nevertheless, active millennials and companies that employ a younger workforce are embracing more physically challenging team-building options.
Vida Aventura examples:
- Amazing Race
- Adventure Races
- Team Survivor
Blended (and Customized) Development
I often work with organizations that have the best of intentions, but they have one big problem that keeps getting in their own way: they don’t know how to work strategically and cohesively. What’s the solution? Learning how to blend departments and roles that better suit their business goals. I customize team building programs that apply the 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team principles and help teams learn to work together for common goals.
When companies face turbulence or uncertainty (especially in the global marketplace), effective executives are proactive and know they need to give teams real tools and strategies to deal with it. This might include team building with real projects that produce tangible results. Or it might be in the form of benchmarking exercises, urban safaris that include interviews with top brands, or team building exercises that help teams connect the dots and spot industry trends.
Why not have a team building event that also happens to have a direct impact on the bottom line? This approach helps organizations see the impact of team building initiatives first-hand, measure results, and have fun in the process. Examples of revenue-generating team building might include:
- designing a specific project or process
- launching a viral marketing campaign
- creating guerrilla marketing events
- Producing a viral video
Long-term Organizational Development (OD)
Organizing team building events once a year doesn’t produce lasting results. Successful companies know this and seek to engage team building consultants for regular team-building initiatives and long-term assignments. One of the many benefits of this approach is with ongoing support, teams are equipped with the tools and strategies to handle specific business challenges as they occur.
Tech-savvy employees embrace the latest and greatest in gadgets, gizmos, and apps. So it only makes sense that virtual reality, drones, GPS devices and augmented reality make the opportunities for meaningful engagement limitless. And as ever-changing technology continues to redefine the way we are able to communicate, it will play an important role in team building and cooperation. It’s important to note that I never incorporate technology just for the sake of it – because it’s “cool.” For effective team building, the context, debriefing, and applications to day-to-day business realities are what’s most important.
What Are Your Favorite Trends?
Have you experienced or seen any other specific trends in team-building? Has your company held any team-building activities lately that left a distinct impression (good or bad)? We’d love to hear about them. Tell us what you liked, what worked, and what you’d do differently by leaving your feedback below.
Des, you rock! Great list and great post! Here’s a challenge for you – how can we do effective, fun and engaging team building for remote teams without bringing them physically together?
Thanks, Susan. It takes one to know one. Let’s talk! I have a few virtual team building activities that I’ve led and would love to share with you.