For a recent article in the Columbia Business Times, five management consultants were asked to respond to following four questions.

  1. What are a few steps small businesses can take to create better work environments? Conversely, what are some mistakes that companies make that create poor work environments?
  2. There are horror stories out there about well-intentioned team-building exercises that end up causing more divisiveness in the workplace. In your experience, what works and what doesn’t work?
  3. Just about every potential employee who walks into a job interview will tell you he or she gets along well with others, but what are good questions to ask job applicants to help determine whether they will indeed be team players?
  4. What are the top three to five management concerns that business operators have expressed this year? Are those concerns much different than they were in past years?

The survey responses are very insightful, and I thought I would share the article with you. It is worth reading.

One of the comments that made me think was Bob Scribner’s response the second question about team-building exercises:

It’s not necessarily the team building exercise that is at fault. Team building exercises were never meant to correct poor relationships that already exist in an organization. They ask people to make themselves vulnerable without taking into consideration the relationships of the participants is stormy at best. If the persons who are participating in such activities have healthy relationships then there may be some benefit from team-building exercises. If the relationships are [I think this is supposed to aren’t] healthy then they will only bring more harm.

I have found this to be true in many cases. There are many different types of effective team-building activities, but what may be appropriate for one team may not be appropriate for another. You need to know which stage of development the team is in before deciding on a team-building activity. If you use an inappropriate team -building activity, you could create resentment and end up doing more harm than good.