As a team building company, we at Invite Japan believe that what we are doing has a real benefit for teams. We’ve seen first-hand the type of changes that can occur in teams when they take part in our activities or participate in our workshops. We notice the smiles that turn into raucous laughter, and the excitement that builds and continues even after the program has ended.
This year especially, we’ve seen the difference team building can make. Teams that are remote and haven’t had the chance to see each other in person for a long time were able to bond and have fun together in a non-typical environment. Again, we could almost read the positive effects of team building on participants” faces.
However, despite all of the information out there about the benefits of team building, a lot of misconceptions about team building still exist, and therefore might be turning off teams to team building activities or limiting their options.
So in this blog post, we will sort through some of the most common misconceptions about team building that we’ve encountered during our years in the field. This will hopefully be useful for teams that are wondering what to expect from team building programs, as well as for teams that are looking for new team building options.
1. ”My team doesn’t need it”
One of the biggest misconceptions about team building is that only some teams need it. Team building, however, is not just for teams that are in trouble or feel the need for it. Every team can benefit from team building, even those that are doing fine.
Team building is about strengthening teams’ resilience and showing them what they are doing well and what needs improvement. All teams can benefit from this type of practice. And indeed, we recommend that teams make team building a regularly scheduled activity in order to better instill the lessons from team building and to make it a habit.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say that a team is doing phenomenally well and that its members get along great. Even so, team members still need the time and space to relax and have fun together. And as we will see shortly, team building doesn’t always have to mean something serious and improvement-focused. Sometimes team building can just be about fun, and that’s something all teams can benefit from.
2. “It’s boring”
As we mentioned above, team building isn’t just about being serious and trying to teach teams how to improve themselves. Of course, a lot of team building is based around getting teams to improve, but good team building does this in ways that aren’t boring or over-serious.
One of the main messages we want to get across is that team building can take many forms. There are workshops and lectures that are more education-focused. But there are also games and activities (like Invite Japan’s puzzle-based activities) that are both fun and mentally stimulating. There are outdoor activities, indoor activities, online activities, and a whole range of options to choose from.
There is bound to be a program that will be good for your team, you just have to not think of team building as only one thing.The most important thing is to find the activity that will engage your team and get them excited. In order to do that, you have to understand your team and what the best way will be for them to have fun together.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some have the misconception that team building is “too fun” and childish. They may view team building as just “adults playing games” and therefore a waste of time.
The reason team building often utilizes games and activities is so that participants internalize the messages of the program better. It’s easier to learn things when we are having fun and enjoying ourselves, and physically doing something helps us engage interactively with what is being taught.
Activities also create “low-stakes challenges”. Instead of having teams work on regular projects which might be stressful, team building activities create stress-free challenges for teams to solve so that they can practice working together and communicating without the normal anxieties and pressures of work.
In other words, there is a method to the madness. However, if teams are looking for more “serious” or educational approaches, we recommend finding team building workshops that include lectures on team building topics like psychology and group behavior.
4. “There’s only one type”
Now we get into something that we touched on before. Many of the misconceptions on this list are based on the assumption that team building is only one thing. Maybe this is due to how team building is portrayed in society, or maybe it’s due to a personal experience someone may have had with team building.
So let’s break this misconception now: team building can be many things. It can be more fun or more serious; it can take a long time or be a quick two-minute activity; it can even be done anywhere, not just in one location.
When you realize the options that are out there for team building, you will see that there really is no limit to what team building can do and achieve for your team. And experimenting with these different types of team building can be a good way to learn more about your team.
5. “It’s time consuming”
This is another major misconception about team building. Many seem to think that team building is only worth it as a long program or event, and that you need to spend a lot of time planning a team building activity or finding one for your team.
While this might sound weird coming from a team building company, team building doesn’t need to be time consuming. Of course, we provide programs that range from one hour to a whole day, and longer programs can be good at solidifying team building values. However, team building can be as short or long as you want.
Like with any type of exercise or study routine, it’s better to practice regularly, even if some sessions are shorter than others. There’s a lot of quick team building activities and icebreakers that you can fit into your schedule easily. Team building also doesn’t have to be that hard to plan– it can be as simple as grabbing drinks with coworkers or going on a nice walk outside.
6. “It’s expensive”
Along with the time cost is the actual money cost of team building. Yes, team building can be expensive. But like we said above, team building can be simple and quick too, especially if you’re resourceful and use what you have in front of you.
Yes,longer programs from professional companies do cost more money. However, when you weigh the costs and benefits, good team building programs that actually strengthen relationships and communication skills do give you your money’s worth. This is why it’s important to understand your team and what they need from team building. That way, you can find that program that is right for you and not feel like you’re wasting your money.
7. “It’s only in one language”
This might be a very niche misconception, but considering that we are an internationally-minded company, in the end it should be on the list.
We get a lot of questions about language and running multilingual events. In many people’s minds, team building activities can only be conducted in one language easily. However, this is not our experience.
We’ve put on hundreds of multilingual events. The issue is not necessarily the language but the type of activity. Activities that are not language or word-based, like symbolic puzzles and body-language based activities, are really good for multilingual groups, and can actually make communication flow naturally.
We hope you can see now that team building can be so many different things. It’s nearly limitless in terms of what activities you can do and what you can get out of it for your team. The most important thing to consider when choosing a team building activity is what you can do with the resources you have that will best activate and ignite your team. The rest will fall into place.
Contact us to find out more about Invite Japan’s range of team building activities. We offer so many types of programs–indoor, outdoor, online, full day and more. Plus, all of our programs are fully bilingual. You will definitely be able to find a program that is right for your team!