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Mailbag: Team-building techies

Dec 04, 20032 mins
Data Center

* Readers write on the value of team-building exercises

In a recent newsletter, I asked for your take on the value of team-building exercises (see editorial link below). Are these activities merely just a few hours of fun or do they foster close collaboration? It all depends on how they’re executed, according to readers.

Martin, a telecom analyst, writes, “God, yes, it does work. If anything, it creates camaraderie between team members.” He adds that this makes people approachable and likable, as well as pointing out to management who is with the team and who isn’t. In this way, you can give those who are not team players the extra help or incentive needed.

“I used to work for a company where the pay was lousy and the conditions were horrible.  But we had at least six team-building activities a year. Things were running smoothly despite the conditions,” Martin says. By contrast, he now earns more and works under better conditions, yet there are gangs of backstabbers who are only out for themselves. It may be too late, but he believes the atmosphere would improve if leaders placed more emphasis on team-building.

Stephen Gillies, a proposal developer, says teamwork is really something that should be considered when you hire. What’s the value of team-building exercises? It depends, he writes. “I’m aware of a recent brainstorming exercise of this kind that resulted in a group recommendation that individual achievement should be encouraged above all.” This probably isn’t the outcome the facilitator had hoped for.

He recommends, “The best way to build a team is by hiring people who like to work as part of a team and are comfortable sharing and delegating tasks. A weekend retreat by a group of lone wolves will not a team make.”