My associate in Singapore posted up his comments in a LinkedIn group post and I got copied. The posting consultant in India put it up for thoughts comments (and there are almost 200 comments!). He initially said:
Client: We are having an offsite for our leadership team. They all work in silos and there is a trust issue. We want to communicate to them that they should all trust each other and work together. Only then we would be able to achieve our roles.
Me: Why do not you tell them that?
Client: We want a facilitator to bring these issues subtly and indirectly. Our CEO does not want to address this directly. May be you could do this through some games or activities. We are also talking to couple of other organisations like yours and want to see who offer the best solution.
Me: I took leadership team of a client three times in two years to Rishikesh and to address trust and silo issues I made them do whitewater rafting. They enjoyed the rafting. After two years I learned that they became very good in rafting but the trust issues remained. So no indirect approach to the trust and silo issues.
I will pass this opportunity. Lets work together some other time.
If you did not notice this, let me point it out again:
“…to address trust and silo issues I made them do whitewater rafting. They enjoyed the rafting. After two years I learned that they became very good in rafting but the trust issues remained.“
Well, duh! Really. People on this executive team actually expected that a consultant-led raft trip would improve corporate functioning? Why do we experienced consultants somehow believe that a paintball or lasertag event, or a Firewalk or go-kart race is going to transfer anything to the issues of improving organizational performance results? We see people learning how to crew an 8-oared rowing shell, or learning how to climb and rappel, or even going parachuting or hang-gliding. Neat! Fun!! But real teambuilding?
These kinds of team bonding activities are actually expected to change organizational results? Seriously? (And how is it going to drive that change, through cognitive dissonance or improved leadership or impacts on intrinsic motivation to do something differently?)
Why not choose to do team building to accomplish team building?
And we will guarantee that using the exercise as designed will generate solid discussions about what specific changes need to be generated it one follows the suggested line(s) of debriefing to link to issues and opportunities. You WILL generate discussions — and what you choose to do subsequent to that program will drive the implementation of results.
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
One of the best teambuilding exercises in the world, as rated by his users, is The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, which focuses on leadership, collaboration, alignment and focuses on implementing the collective performance optimization ideas. He is also known for his Square Wheels® approach to innovation and engagement.
Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/
Also published on Medium.