Jun 11, 2008

Executive Team Building - Don't Waste Their Time

In team-building exercises for executives, one of the biggest challenges is not in planning the event itself, but in properly structuring the activities and putting thought into how to facilitate your event.

It is not enough to plan a date to meet, invite your leadership team, schedule an outside expert, and then figure you'll discuss key strategic subjects and expect anything useful to result.

You can all go play golf together and you might get a little better at golf. Or, you can spend three days rafting down rivers and you might eventually get better at rafting down rivers!

When planning executive team building, more attention is often paid to the executive retreat location, the recreational activities and food choices than the substance and exercises to create results to the team's challenges.

Facilitated exercises must be more than justification for expenditures. They must be the core of the event!

If your company spends for a luxury venue but fails to set objectives, goes soft on facilitation, and dedicates only three hours or a half day for the key exercises, then I'd argue that you're really not doing the executive retreat to accomplish anything other than having fun together. There's nothing wrong with having fun - we all need to have fun as leaders in business just as in other parts of life.

But take the extra steps to ensure your executive retreat is planned properly, executed flawlessly, and thoroughly debriefed, and you'll likely learn a lasting result that can be developed further each year you get the team together.

If you're seeking a resource for your executive event, consider utilizing my friend Andrew Long's company, Critical Path Finders, to help you plan and facilitate your retreat. He's got the right perspective and does an excellent job!

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  1. Thanks for the posting & link, Scott. Same logic applies to team building at any level of an organization. Companies tend to assign the task of "finding a team building activity" to admin people.

    But to get the most benefit from a program, the senior people need to spend more time thinking about desired outcomes & objectives.

  2. I agree. Whilst team building should be fun and take people out of themselves there does need to be a purpose to it all. Too often we get the PA organising the event who can't answer the questions about what the event is set to achieve. It means the poor facilitator has not enough to go on before the event.