Executive team building: stop wasting their time

In Off-Sites that Work, July 2006, Harvard Business Review, the authors argue that the core problem with most strategy off-sites or team away-days is that they're insufficiently structured and not enough thought given to how they are to be facilitated.


It is simply not enough to schedule a meeting, invite top leaders (and, perhaps, an outside expert), and block off units of time to discuss big subjects expecting the rest to take care of itself - it wont produce anything useful.

"If you and your executive team spend four days a year rafting down rivers together, you'll eventually get good at rafting down rivers".

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This article hits the nail on the head. When planning executive team building, more attention is paid to the location for the executive retreat, the recreational activities and the menu than the content. Sometimes the facilitated exercises are just a way to justify the other expenditures. When a company spends top dollar for a luxury venue but fails to set objectives for the executive retreat, skimps on facilitation, and crams the facilitated exercises into half a day or a few hours, clearly team building is not the priority. To produce results, team building has to be more than an afterthought. It must be carefully planned, flawlessly executed and thoroughly debriefed.

I totally agree.. We don't need to spend a lot of money for a Team Building Activity if in turn we will not meet the objectives or main purpose of the activity.

Why not plan a simple yet effective Team building activity? Less expensive yet it will really serve its purpose.

All the best!

I agree with the comments posted here. The money spend is not really what makes a team building better its how the employees experiences. Also, its not just the amount that matters more, its the idea that makes things fun.

The HBR has it right once again.

The major benefits of using experiences like river rafting, or another more extreme experience, are two:
1. Experiential activities show me what I DO, not what I THINK I do or what I know.
2. When done correctly, these activities connect our hearts and minds. And then, most importantly, the facilitator must now connect the individuals together in a meaningful way.

There are other benefits - getting them out their element, etc, but the additional benefits are simply icing on the cake.

CNN recently ran an article about Extreme Offsites and their value. You can check it out here:

If you are going to do something like this, PLEASE consider it very seriously and do it right, for everyone's sake!

Good luck and Be Legendary!


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