Team Building Programs and Events

Team Building Won't Fix Bad Company Culture

Music-based team building experiences

A three hour team building session won't fix a bad company culture. There is no silver bullet. Good company cultures are based on trust, and trust takes time to build. Once trust has been established, regular activities that nourish the group as a whole, including quality team building programs, will build on that trust to create top-performing teams that communicate, collaborate and produce results consistently. 

Steve Bova, CAE, Executive Director of the leading association FICP (Financial & Insurance Conference Planners) wrote the blog “Team Building Starts with Trust Building” to emphasise this point. He noted that “whatever the desired outcome, the first step in team building is trust building. Teams can’t work effectively together without a basic level of mutual trust and respect.”

Steve lists the following five building blocks of trust:

1. Credibility: Others believe that your assertions, opinions, judgments, or beliefs about something or someone are highly likely to be accurate.

2. Confidence: Others have no doubt in an expected result, action, or outcome that has your name on it.

3. Integrity: Others know that you are principled, well-intentioned, truthful, honest, and consistent in your words and actions; you will do the right thing, in the right way and for the right reasons.

4. Respect: Others have admiration for or deference toward you because of your position, accomplishments, knowledge, skills, experience, or character.

5. Loyalty: Others have unwavering allegiance and devotion to you.

I agree whole heartedly. At SongDivision, we don’t get requests for team building from companies with bad company cultures. I doubt that we’re on their radar at all, and if we were, I’m pretty sure that they would think that 'team building doesn’t work'. Our clients are industry leaders, companies and associations who are already performing well (or extremely well) and understand the value of always improving communication, creativity and collaboration skills, the necessary ingredients for a culture of innovation. Global powerhouses such as Microsoft, GE, PwC and AstraZeneca engage companies like us regularly because they already have strong company cultures and they know they need constant nurturing.

Once trust is established, there are lots of reasons why successful companies hold regular team building events. Again, Steve Bova from FICP puts together an excellent list:

  • To get out of the office, have fun, and take a break from the daily grind
  • To get to know each other better, to help new team members acclimate to the group
  • To show appreciation for a job well done or to acknowledge a milestone reached
  • To solve a problem, brainstorm, or think critically about a situation
  • To get comfortable taking risks, resolving conflict, or developing an entrepreneurial spirit
  • To improve communication
  • To share a vision, establish goals and priorities, or clarify roles and responsibilities
  • To emphasize accountability to the company, a client, each other, or to oneself
  • To enhance trust and respect

To ‘enhance’ trust and respect, not establish it in the first place. I receive hundreds of emails each year from executives describing tangible impacts that team building experiences have had on their people and their productivity. When you hear someone declare that ‘team building is a waste of time’, take a closer look, you’ll probably find someone that works in a company without a lot of trust.

Andy Sharpe
Founder, SongDivision

To learn about the programs that Fortune 500’s turn to in over 25 countries, check out our Team Building Services here

For our keynote on this topic, 'Building A Culture Of Innovation - Communication, Creativity & Collaboration. ’ Click here

Updated on 5/12/2016

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