If you ask ten people what they think team building is, chances are most of them will say that it's being made to build rafts, it's standing around feeling uncomfortable and being made to 'share' or even that it's a good reason to call in sick!
These are the myths behind team building, they are outdated and they are wrong. The times, they have changed and now it's all about participation, interaction and fun while attending a team building event. The objectives of the team build are quite often covert, your participants will learn the lessons without it having to be spelt out, dissected and forced!
I'm not saying that there is no place for facilitation and reflection, it's more that with the huge range of fun and effective team building options, there's more than one way to skin a cat.
Let's look at change management for example; with the ever changing business world change is an unavoidable element of a company. How do you prepare your team for changes? How do you illustrate the effects? Sure, you could get everyone in a conference room, sit them in a circle and write bullet points down on a flip chart and maybe this will work to some degree but have you considered the alternatives? You can illustrate this through team building, you can get your team to actually feel what change is like and once they have felt it, they then can reflect and analyse it in the comfort of the abstract but with experience. The team building event provides a safe environment in which it's ok to try and to support your fellow team members.
If this is sounding all too pie in the sky and you are still sceptical about team building, then I can tell you that you don't even have to be in a conference room, there's not a rope or raft in sight and everyone is guaranteed a good time. This is effective team building, this works.
Of course you have to find the right team building company before you can achieve this. Try to go on recommendations, if someone else has hosted an event, find out a little bit about it and if it sounds like the type of event you would like to host then contact the company yourself to see how they could help your team.
If you are starting from scratch and have to find the team building company for yourself then take a look at the events that they offer, would you like to find yourself on one of them? Do they look like they might be fun as well as effective? Then talk to the company, ask them questions, ask what types of companies have hosted the events before, ask them if you can talk to an existing client. If they are a reputable company, they'll be pleased to let an existing client sing their praises!
So far from being an ordeal that your team have to endure, team building can be effective and it can work. It should leave everyone energised and motivated and to ensure this you are going to have to find your ideal team building partner, once you have, it should be plain sailing from there!