Anne 🐝 Thornley-Brown, MBA in Executive Team Building Network, Directors and Executives, Business President and Founder • Executive Oasis International Mar 23, 2017 · 1 min read · 1.1K

2 Hour Team Building: What's up with that?

2 Hour Team Building: What's up with that?I have had a question for quite some time now. In fact, I have written a number of blog posts about it and finally wrote one that asked:

I really hope that some executives will weigh in because I don't get it. 

The time companies allocate for team building has been shrinking. I am not going to bore you by re-hashing why I think this is a REALLY BAD IDEA as have already weighed in on this issue a number of times. (I am even starting to bore myself.)

My company’s approach has been to deliver value and caution prospective clients and those who read our blog posts about the pitfalls of short team building. Yet, the timeframes are getting shorter and shorter. Lately, the most frequent requests have been for 2-hour team building. Even when the initial request is for 1/2 day to 1 day, the agenda gets more and more packed until only 2 hours is left. 

We rarely accept these engagements as there is little upside to them. By the time you get on-site, the group is behind schedule and you end up with 1 - 1 1 /2 hours at best. How can you possibly offer fully interactive team building with sufficient depth to satisfy the needs of bright and extremely busy executives within that timeframe? The best that is possible is an interactive keynote with 1 or two very short exercises or peer discussions.

The post cited above post has links to most of my content about this topic:

  • 2011: 1-Day Team Building Pitfalls
  • 2011: Team Building: Cutting it Short – What’s up with That? 
  • 2011: Instant Team Building: What’s up with the 30 Minute Debriefs?
  • 2014: Team Building is not a Half Day Event
  • 2014: Team Building is not a Meeting Plus a Social Event
  • 2016: Team Building is not an Afterthought
  • 2016: Short Team Building: Adding Value for Senior Executives

  • Image: Beth K. (Flickr)

    Burning Questions

    I kept my promise so now it’s your turn. Now, I’ll turn things around and ask these burning questions. (Burning from my point of view.)

    • What’s up with the 2-hour team building?
    • Why are team building timeframes shrinking?
    • What value do executives and organizations see in 2-hour team building?

    I welcome comments, especially from executives.

    Anne Thornley-Brown is the President of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto team building and management consulting firm. She has designed and facilitated executive retreats, meetings, and team building for companies from 18 countries. 

    In addition to her own blogs, Anne blogs for The Huffington Post. She has blogged for a number of corporate clients and event industry portals including Plan Your Meetings by MPI, Cvent, EventMobi, Event Manager Blog, and Elite Meetings.

    Donna Wood Mar 25, 2017 · #9

    #8 Toronto is a beautiful city. My son-in-law almost took a job there a couple of years ago. Part of me wishes he had, so he and my daughter could experience a different part of the world ~ yet not so far from home. :D

    +1 +1

    Yes, everything you say is true Donna. They need to focus on team building that helps with revenue generation like Visexecutaries. Just realizing I should add the video to the post..

    Donna Wood Mar 24, 2017 · #6

    Ever since the 2008 exposure of the billions of dollars spent each year on executive travel and retreats, many companies have put the brakes on spending in the training category. The investors were concerned about taking employees away from the actual work of making a profit. When budgets were, and some still are, tight, culture building or development is considered a luxury expense rather than an integral foundation building expense. Executives are in a Catch 22 situation when it comes to wanting to provide the full training for employees, and having to explain the expense to profit-centered boards and investors.

    +1 +1

    Yes they are caleld bored rooms for a reason. Effective team building doesn't park people in their seats and yak at them for hours on end.

    I agree that feedback by email can be an helpful modern version of the suggestion box.

    +1 +1
    Erroll -EL- Warner Mar 24, 2017 · #4

    People get board attending meetings. They lost interest easily at gatherings. There should be a "talent team" made of associates who will solicit ideas and concerns from associates. Those concerns will be addressed by management. Feedback will be provided via email or in writing. Out standing ideas will be forwarded up the hierarchical managerial chain of command. Associates will be awarded for great ideas.

    +1 +1

    @Javier 🐝 beBee Those are great benefits but almost impossible to deliver in a standalone 2 hour session.

    @Harvey Lloyd, I agree, team building as a stand-alone event is not very effective yet that is how most companies approach it.

    Team building does not have to be off-site to be effective. Now if you make it a 2 hours session every week or every other week for a few months with clear action items in between, that could work. Perhaps that is what we should be suggesting to time-strapped executives. Are we on the verge of coming up with a new model here? The hive is at work.

    +2 +2
    Javier 🐝 CR Mar 23, 2017 · #2

    I love this idea, a 2 Hour Team Building !

    Some.benefits of team building can be:
    1. Improved Communication
    2. Develop Team Roles
    3. Time to Develop Skills
    4. Better Relationships
    5. The ability to maximize profitability by allowing individuals to better combine their skills to achieve more.

    and so on...

    +2 +2