Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Dangers of Team Building

This dislike (of team building exercises) has gone back many years, but I think it was exacerbated by a particular event. Once, longer away now than I care to remember, I was a little articled clerk, full of enthusiasm and naivety. On our first or second week, our group of articled clerks was sent on some kind of “leadership” or “team building” exercise. I don’t know what exactly the point of the exercise was, but the end result was appalling. By the end of the week, we had gone from being a friendly bunch to a group with massive schisms, full of suspicion and dislike. It certainly didn’t build a “team” mentality; in fact the very opposite. Luckily, I was a bit older, and I’d already been working full-time for over a year before then, so I didn’t take the whole thing very seriously. I have always just wanted to do my job well and go home. From Legal Eagle's The Legal Soapbox.

The above quote is drawn from a rather nice post by Legal Eagle on her dislike of team building exercises. It links across to a post by Marcel Proust reporting on the extremely sad case of Dr MacKinnon.

To me, LE's post provides a clear cut example of the dangers that can be involved in so-called team building exercises, an approach that has become popular in recent years.

My experience has been that most team building exercises do not work. They can have a place, but only if carefully constructed and controlled.

No comments: