Offsite Team Building
A week ago, our company had a two-day off-site for a little team building, work, and fun. We are in start-up mode, so we didn’t spend a bunch of money, we went to the CEO’s cabin. Everything was DIY. Meals were pretty simple – kick-ass BBQ for dinner, cold cuts, and chips for lunch. Most of us brought sleeping bags to sleep in. As simple as the schedule and the fare was, I think everyone had fun, appreciated the change of scenery, and we all had a chance to get everyone on the same page around our business and where the company is headed. Team Building is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some its group exercises (Ropes courses and Trust Falls come to mind here) and a lot of Kool-Aid-drinking–Kumbaya-singing kind of “stuff”. We’re a startup; we work fast and long hours. So team building for us is a little different:
- Focus on Company Strategy. Getting everyone on the same page around the strategy of the company. Our off-site focused on our 3-6 months goals and more importantly WHY they are they are so critical to our success. Getting everyone on the same page is important, and for companies of any size, I think it’s key to give everyone the opportunity to know what the company goals are.
- Asking Questions and Challenging Decisions. Giving folks the opportunity to ask questions and challenge decisions made/being made. This is really important in our company. If employees aren’t on board with the company goals, not only will the company suffer, but the employee image, commitment level, and engagement will suffer in the long run. Nobody wins.
- Taking Time for Fun. People came and went around the campfire. We talked about work but also made time for things other than work. Topics included Google +; mobile platforms; startup technologies; bad jokes; how NOT to roast an s’more. There wasn’t any singing or hand-holding. There were some semi-responsible drinking and a lot of “teasing because we love.”
- Team Swag. Three of our amazing developers were recently named on our patent application which just went through and we had a little fun by creating some T-Shirts to celebrate the success. What kind of team building is there without some swag?
At the end of the day, anytime folks are doing something as a group we consider it “team building.” Yes, we could spend $50.00 a piece and ride go-karts for 20 minutes, but I would prefer a cabin retreat any day. Mostly I think it’s because I prefer this particular set of friends. For me, this offsite proved the simple adage, “It’s the company you keep…”
Keeping it real,
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.