Having worked at companies as large as a Fortune 50 and as small as a two-person startup I feel like I have been subjected to a large number of team building exercises. Some will start out with a personality assessment - not a test, as we're taught that we are not taking a personality test that one can pass or fail, but an examination and revelation of individual personality traits. We're then given tools that we need to improve our communication skills, increase productivity, become more helpful, become indoctrinated in company culture and lore, get more motivation, or just get along better with our colleagues.
While the core benefit is mostly well-intentioned, the execution can be quite painful. First of all, it always starts early in the morning and who likes to do...anything before 9 AM? Plus, you're always being forced to team build with Lisa from Accounting or Greg from Sales, two people you wouldn't trust to build a LEGO set, let alone a team.
And the group activities...my God, the group activities. Why are trust falls so important for team-building? Why do we have to role play? And why oh why do they have to make us watch the instructional videos right after our paltry lunch? The video playing softly, the lights dimmed and the room warm - if that's not a recipe for an unintentional nap, I don't know what is.
A couple of the more demoralizing team building exercises I have been through include having to cross-dress for a play and being interrogated for 15 minutes on very personal aspects of my life in front of the entire company. So, you know, the only thing we were building was my anxiety.
I get it, these events are sometimes important and sometimes helpful too. But they are just so awkward and so labored and so long that I'd much rather be back at the cubicle.
Demotivational poster with the word TEAM written in a square-blocky style with a lowercase letter "i" as the whitespace in the letter "a". The caption reads: "Apparently there is an "I" in team after all!".
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