The Hoax of Team Building


If you work in a corporate setting, you have most likely been subjected to the dreaded team outing.

Sold to employees as a way to build team cohesion, it’s really nothing more than a massive waste of time, a gross misallocation of resources, and almost always, an insult to the intelligence of the participants.

I have had the displeasure of spending at least one day a year for the last 5 years on some form of 8 hour endeavor of embarrassment as part of my job. It changes slightly every year, but they all contain similar elements of outdoor team exercises and puzzles followed by a few hours of debriefing. The debriefing element is a wonderful way to clearly delineate the morons in the office from those who are smart enough to mentally check out of the process.

The squad simpletons are very engaged in the whole process, blissfully unaware that it’s nothing more than another idiotic idea from some manager who read it in some Management for Idiots book and is merely trying to impress another idiot above.

None of the projects provide any type of true sense of accomplishment, mainly because they’re not real and have no bearing on reality. Just because 5 of you were able to walk on two planks together does not mean you’re going to function at the workplace.

Team building should be done at the office and involve an actual business problem or goal that can be solved rapidly, effectively and have an actual impact that can be translated and attributed to everyone involved. That’s how you give employees a feeling of accomplishment.

Oh yeah, a little reward never hurts either.

The industry that feeds on the team building hoax is no better than used car salesmen. Actually, I would put them far beneath car salesman, because at least I’ll get something that I can use in the form of an automobile. The team building huxsters are selling absolutely nothing of value, just like the snake oil salesman of yore.

Personally, I’d fire anyone who thought that a team building outing would be a good use of funds.


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