Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Manager, Operations
Leadership & Team Building
Workplace Assessment And Training
Maj SR Roy
Obt Trainer
+1 Other

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Hi Guys,
A frequent mistake that corporates make is to think of team entertainment as being the same as Team building.
The attached article here talks about why this is a big and costly misperception.
In case you do not want to download the article, you can read it here in our blog: http://www.focusadventure.in/magicof...team-building/
Do share your thoughts!

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File Type: pdf Team Entertainment is NOT equal to Team Building.pdf (113.2 KB, 1948 views)

Dear Arun,

Thanks for sharing the article. Good thought indeed. In team building training, lot of games happen but then those games, whether they get translated into cohesive teams that remains to be seen. Not many training managers or training companies have come forward with their own case examples.

Frankly speaking idea of teamwork is embedded in the culture of the company. To certain extent, culture depends on the structure also. If there are structural faults then whether you entertain your team or otherwise, your efforts will never succeed.

As far as article is concerned, it is too theoretical. I do not know who is the author of the article as name of the author is not mentioned. Author could have given some examples. Article mentions about Tuckman's model or Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle. Nothing new about these theories. But then where are the examples in support of these theories? At one place there is a statement in bold "The way people play is very often the way they work too”. Yes the statement is catchy but where is some case study in support of the statement?

Though the article is good, it appears to be a leisurely cogitation rather than a posteriori .


Dinesh V Divekar

Thinking that a Team Activity or Team Entertainment is synonymous with Team Building is a common misconception. I had contributed an article in the same vein some time back. I am resubmitting the article for the benifit of those who missed it.

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File Type: doc OBT vs Picnic.doc (48.0 KB, 384 views)

I have always believed that these "team building" games or exercises or whatever you want to call them are a complete waste of time and energy.

Many people include them in training sessions because they think that is the way it is. It's not. I have never run a training course with games of any sort. I absolutely loathe with a passion any training course that I attend that has games.

I also believe that many people do their utmost to get out of training, solely because there might be games or group activities or something of the sort which they are not comfortable with and do not want to participate in. Trainers need to be mindful of that. Forcing people to do things they do not want to do just leads to resentment and passive involvement.

While I agree it is "sometimes" necessary to take people out of their comfort zone, my view is that training is NOT the place to do. You are trying to impart knowledge to people, to help them, to help the company etc. In some cases this is knowledge that might save their lives. Every which way you look at it, training is important and you absolutely need buy-in from the participants.

That is not to say training cannot be fun. Of course it can. A good trainer will always be able to create a great learning experience, and hopefully leave the participants wanting more.

In my training courses there are group activities, but they are activities where I put people in groups to discuss things or nut out a solution to a problem etc. During the course of these sessions, I walk around and watch the groups to see how they work together, who are the natural leaders, who are the shy ones etc. Each time we do an activity I mix the groups, so everyone gets a chance to work with other people, not the same ones each time. So you could say that surreptitiously, I am teaching them team skills.

There is tons of stuff out there about team building in the workplace etc. We are told that the key to productivity and profits is having our workforce all working together as one cohesive unit. Well, that is just a fantasy. Not going to happen. It can't. Our workforces are made up of many different personalities. We have outgoing people, shy people, leaders, followers, passives, aggressives, know-it-alls, etc etc.

Team building starts way back in the recruitment and selection stage. You need to hire a range of people with complimentary skills who can all work together for the common good. That is not easy, but as I have said so many times in my postings on CiteHR, you need a robust recruitment and selection process that everyone must follow to the letter, and then you will get a team of people who will do your company proud.

Finally, we have a training company here in Melbourne that proudly advertises that none of its training courses include, role plays, group hugs, butcher's paper or self-introductions etc. That is their point of difference in the crowded training market.

Dear John,
Thanks for sharing your forthright views. Your post deserves more than just appreciation.
When I get a query for conducting training, the first thing that HR asks is whether the training will have games. They never bothered to ask what will I do to measure the effectiveness of the training. They ask this question out of just a sheepish mentality - "everybody does it then will you also do it"?
In India at least, not many HR comes forward to measure the effectiveness of training. That includes MBAs from very prominent institutions as well. Since HR is not interested beyond the feedback at the end of the training, it helps run-of-the-mill trainers whose sole aim is to win a day through their craftiness.
Dinesh Divekar

Dear John ,

I do not fully agree with you that games, roles or experiential learning are all wastage . How these methods are used are very important? For a group of young management trainees these fun games can really change their attitude, making them aware of team work , motivates them to common cause . . These games may not be very effective for training middle or higher management group.One thing is true that participants could not concentrate on one thing for more than 10 minutes ,\.The trainer need to be change the media . Therefore he uses different technique so that participants continue to concentrate on the topic . The behavior of participants ( for internal training sessions ) during a game session need to be recorded so that managers use them to understand their attitude /relationship with others ,their perception etc, These feedback could help the manager .devices strategies in dealing with human resources . .

Office Picnic / entertainment shows can also be very effective in building group cohesiveness and team building . Instead of organisation driven it has to be employee driven .. My experience in Kolkata was mind blogging .When we initiated a picnic programme most reluctant people were those who were not good at work... In my first initiative they did not participate . During the picnic i learned the equation among the people,who likes to work with whom, inter personnel relationship was best understood at these places . In my second initiative i made sure that these reluctant people participate and given major roles . When they did it successfully they were better employees than before . Their relationship with others improved . It reduced inter personnel conflict. It gave me the opportunity to tell these not so good employees that they were very good in organizing the picnic . It motivated them and they shared their problems with me . Slowly the workplace become better . The improvement comes over the years .Organizing Picnic /entertainment shows alone would not improve human relations / build teams It could be one of the method of team building if properly handled and organised . Employee involvement in these programs is the key to success. A managers challenge would be to involve as many employee as possible.

A shared sense of fun and adventure is a must for any kind of camaraderie to develop amongst team mates.
More than any lectures of contrived quasi-psychological activity, simple things which engage and require people to work together help. Team building is not something exotic - in its simplest form, it is the feeling that I love to work with the other guy and will cooperate to make him, and us, successful. If they do it in a game, they'll do it much more easily in a workplace situation.
I am a strong believer in shared fun activities being a powerful training tool.

Dear Bodhisutra,
Would you mind to provide your own or someone else's experience of training effectiveness of Outbound Training (OBT). Did the fun, adventure or camaraderie helped in increasing the business?
You have written that "I am a strong believer in shared fun activities being a powerful training tool." Would you mind to disclose who were the beneficiaries of your power training tool? What was increased or decreased, would you mind to provide measures?
You may not like the way I have asked the direct questions, however, I am waiting for the years together for someone to come forward and validate OBT with tangible results.
Dinesh Divekar

Hi Dinesh,
The article was written by me. I agree, I could have put in more examples - but then, it would have perhaps become too long, I felt then. However point taken for any future posts I share.
This would almost seem like I am promoting our firm here, but since you ask for someone else's experience of OBTs they have attended, which has been positive, would like to direct you to a few testimonials we have received from some of our clients. You are free to independently contact any one of them mentioned there & check out what they feel: Testimonials | Team Building Events - Focus Adventure, India
FUN & PLAY - used in the right way, can be very powerful tools for building engagement in a workshop environment. Clearly this is a topic that generates very varied views depending on individual experiences. All our experience points us towards embracing it. Guess every person dances to a different drummer :-)

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