Team Building

Team Building!

We hear about team building all the time. Companies doing team building retreats, companies offering team building activities, but at the root of it, what exactly is team building? The University of California – Berkley defines team building as “an ongoing process that helps a work group evolve into a cohesive unit.” Well, that’s subjective, huh? What someone believes is cohesive may be the equivalent of forced family fun to another. The first step in your team building adventure is to first understand your team dynamics. Perhaps you have a fully functional cohesive team that understands the goals, works well together, and gets the projects done. Perhaps, you have a team that gets projects done, and works fine together, but is missing that little spark. And perhaps, you have a team that at the individual level understands the goal, wants to do what they can to accomplish the goal, and does exactly what they need to do to meet that goal, but there’s just little to no camaraderie in the room. Team building activities offer leaders the opportunity to identify and help distressed relationships within a team, strengthen already strong teams, and foster growth and community within your team.

Team building activities do not have to be large extravagant retreats. They can be as simple as a gathering for lunch away from the office or after work. Depending on the dynamics of your group, you may get together after work and do a cookies and canvas event (who doesn’t love cookies, and paint ?!) or you may find a community service need and come together to serve a meal down at the local shelter. The point is your activity should be inclusive to the people on your team. Asking your team to do a trust fall when you aren’t confident that they all would be happy to catch the person falling is probably not the best team building activity – we won’t even mention all of the loss control recommendations that we’d put into place for such an activity! Team building activities should give participants the opportunity to not only do something that is enjoyable, but also the chance to engage with their teammates outside of the work environment.

Team building activities give leadership an opportunity to witness inter-employee relationships, potentially identifying areas where there may be distress. Identifying this distress gives leadership the ability to address situations before they become a workplace situation or claim. Team building activities also give employees the opportunity to reconnect or connect for the first time. In some organizations, employees may work remotely, or be in a different department, so you don’t often have the opportunity to just sit down and get to know your colleagues. While team meetings conducted electronically are great for the sharing of information, they are not so conducive to the interpersonal connections that happen when you are sharing a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with someone. Team building activities provide people the chance to be human, to engage with each other to fully experience each other by having the ability to read body language and not be distracted by a technology issue, the dog barking or your spouse dropping in on the zoom call.

Recently the SDPAA Team came together as a group for the first time since… well, let’s just say it’s been far too long. For those who aren’t familiar, the SDPAA team is a remote working team. We come together via Zoom to have team meetings, and while the Member Services Team comes together at the various conferences and events, our entire team doesn’t physically meet often. Our team building activities weren’t anything that required talent beyond following Google maps to various locations, and simply enjoying each other’s company. The SDPAA Board of Directors’ meeting is held in Deadwood each year. This year the team agreed to come into town a day early. Jerry and his wife, Bernie, hosted the team for dinner at their cabin. We enjoyed delicious food and wonderful conversation while we caught up with each other. The following day, we booked a tour through Boothill Tours (via their website and spent an hour learning about the history of Deadwood SD. We laughed together as we made our way to Wild Bill’s grave and took a quick picture with him. After the tour, we enjoyed more food and quick shopping before we checked into our hotel to prepare for the board meeting. We did not do a trust fall, although I would trust any one of them to catch me, and I would absolutely catch every one of them. While we didn’t do anything that required much actual effort, what we did do was reform bonds that were not necessarily broken, just missing something… missing that human contact.

Team And Wild BillJerry And PaytraJerry And Paytra 2
We encourage you to look around your community, what can your team do together to help foster a more cohesive work team?

If your entity is looking for a cohesive team of professionals, whose dedication to the public servants who serve our communities exceeds that of all others, give us a call. We’d be honored to have the opportunity to serve your community as well. All SDPAA Team contact information is located on our website at