Here is a team building exercise that you all should try. It is a guaranteed success.
First, organize one of those silly team building exercises that many corporations seem to love – getting the entire company together, break them into small groups that have nothing to do with the employees’ real teams, and then do some link building, get-to-know-you activities like treasure hunts and ropes courses.
Then end the day about an hour before your employees usually go home and watch the magic begin. The real teams will congregate and start grumbling about how huge a waste of time this day was. What ignoramuses our upper management must be to think this could work !!!! They may even all go out to happy hour or dinner together to keep the gripe-fest going. It may even last all week. And THIS is the team building that is my guaranteed success. You would be amazed at how unifying against a common adversary can bond a team together. This is real bond-building, not the link-building that the ropes courses create.
But in all seriousness, there is a potential consequence that you need to worry about. Who is it that they are bonding to oppose? You can’t let this turn into longer term negative competition between workplace teams or disruption against organizational principles once they get back to their real work. But that is not too hard as long as you follow a few basic guidelines.
· Make sure that the groups inside the fake team building exercises are orthogonally created to their real work teams so there are no out-group identity schema created during any competition. If you have any questions about this, please ask me about it in the comments because it is really important.
· Make sure that the rules of the fake team building exercises are structured using good gamification principles to discourage any cheating, even in fun. If you have any questions on this one, read my new book when it comes out in the fall. (Yes, this is a convenient plug. So sue me !!).