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Recently we ran an event in Ho Chi Minh City for the European Chamber of Commerce. Three speakers covered various aspects of staff development including leadership, training, and health and wellness.

During the question and answer period at the end of the workshop, one of the attendees raised his hand and asked: “Does team building actually work? Every year we go on a team building trip and when we return to the office, nothing has changed.”

It’s a valid question and he’s right.

All too often “team building” is nothing more than team bonding. Colleagues eat and drink together and then play kiddy games on the beach. The whole event is organized by a travel company (not a training company) and the “team building” is facilitated by a tour guide who has little understanding of the challenges of a corporate workplace and who has no formal training as a trainer or educator. Therein lies the problem.

Real Team building requires authentic trainers – not tour guides – and these trainers must have the relevant backgrounds to make sure that the activities are educational and develop the fundamentals of teams: things like communication, collaboration, respect, creativity, problem solving, delegation, etc.

Team building entails learning. And learning requires a trainer who can facilitate the learning. Trainers must also have the ability to connect the dots so that participants can see how the activities they are doing actually enhances the skills necessary for teams to truly function.

The trainer can begin the team building with a brief and engaging seminar to explain the aspects of what makes an effective team.

During the actual team building activities, the trainer can explain to the participants how the various activities develop the necessary skills required for the development of a strong and functioning team.

Finally, after the team building, the trainer can facilitate a discussion with the participants to get them talking about what they have learned, what challenges they faced and overcame, and how they can apply the lessons in the office.

Team building doesn’t suck. You just need to know where to find the real deal. And on that note, here is a video of Top Team’s team building and training featuring just some of our professional trainers…. 😉