Many of us have participated in team building activities arranged by our company at least once in our life, but we wonder how does team building actually reflect the working environment? How can games in team building be tied back to the corporate world? During the team building activities, we hear the coach shouting out these strong words.. Teamwork…. Leadership…. Communication…. etc. and that is where the team building program ends, merely at a surface level.

This is exactly what I feel when I first attended a team building workshop, where team building felt just like a “feel good” being a part of the team.

A game is just a game, if there are no tiebacks.

In order to achieve team effectiveness, a team should possess the following

1) Team mission, planning and goal setting.

  • A number of studies have found that the most effective teams have a strong sense of purpose, they organize their work around purpose, plan and set goals in line with that purpose.

2) Team roles

  • Individual members need to have clear roles, accountabilities, and a clear understanding of not only their accountabilities but also what the roles of other are.

3) Team operating process

  • A team needs to have certain enabling processes in place for people to carry out their task together. Eg, decision making methodology, ground rules, reward & punishment mechanics, review process, etc.

4) Team interpersonal relationships

  • The team must actively communicate among themselves in order to achieve a clear understanding of goals and roles.


Hence, a good team building program should have the above components. How can this be put into practice? 

1)  Team Mission, planning and goal setting

  • Every game or activity should have its objective, during the team building, participants will ask these questions, “What is our mission in this activity?” “Is every single participant crystal clear of the goal?” “What is the strategy?”, “What is our realistic goal considering our manpower and team ability?”

2) Team Roles

  • a lot of team building activities explore only on creativity and problem solving but all this can function with just one or two team member’s effort, the rest of team members may just doing nothing and yet they can win the game easily with only a “one man show “contribution. However, in a corporate setting, everyone has a role to play, be it small or big and all this roles are important to determine the organization’s success. Therefore, a good team building activity should involve every single participant, making them all “indispensable” assets during the activity.

3) Team Operating Process

  • Every organization has their own way to do things, or we call it “culture”. It can be in written or unwritten form and a good operating process makes it easier for employees to do their jobs because they won’t have to guess how to get task done. Team building activities can simulate the way an organization practices their operating process, for example; participants can establish their operating process similar to their SOP in the game, set ground rules for everyone, cover the slow pace of team members and so on.

4) Team interpersonal relationships

  • This is where teamwork, communication, leadership, followership emerge! To achieve the goal, teams need to constantly communicate, brainstorm, deliberately practice and focus.

JAY team Building activities that practice team effectiveness: Rollercoaster Challenge, Human Puzzle, PVC Car Building, PVC Connection and Team Jump rope Challenge

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