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Three of the Worst Team Building Disasters in Corporate History

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Three of the Worst Team Building Disasters in Corporate History

By: Rebecca Viner

When you plan a team building exercise for your colleagues, you want it to be connected to your goals, related to your overall strategic plan and practical. Instead, some activities can actually be boring and even quite embarrassing.

From kickball games to getting naked (yep, we said it!), we’ve rounded up the three worst team building exercises you can do to ruin your corporate culture… at least we warned you in advance!

1. Any Disconnected Outdoor Activity

You might think an outdoor, physical activity is a great way to get people away from the office. They’re expected to be fun, engaging and usually push people out of their comfort zone. But the results of these team building exercises can be poor. Some of your employees will love competing and showing off that they spend every minute of their spare time in the gym. Others who are not as competitive may feel incompetent or embarrassed. Plus, you never know when an accident might happen.

That’s exactly what happened at the Public Relations firm Jackson Dawson Communications. A team building activity in the form of a company kickball game turned into a messy legal situation. Former employee, Stephen Whigham, who actually organized the event, ended up shattering two bones in his leg and needed a knee replacement. Lesson learnt: be careful when planning an outdoor team building activity.

2. Let’s Get Naked

This team building exercise involves revealing awkward and embarrassing information about yourself to the rest of your colleagues. Not only do a lot of people make things up in these situations, they also appear confused about the whole purpose of the exercise. Some people aren’t comfortable being forced to do activities like this, which may create a negative experience for them within your corporate culture.

One company in Japan actually took this one step further where a colleague was made to take a bath with his boss and supervisors, only of the same gender. He said, “It’s called ‘naked relationships’ and is thought to build trust. The idea is that when you are naked, everyone is equal and you will feel free to discuss things and joke about things that you wouldn’t in the office setting.”

3. Peanut Attack

If you’re planning a team building exercise that involves food, check for allergies first. There’s nothing worse than causing bad relationships because a colleague can’t take part in an activity due to food allergies.

Don’t believe us? Take this office example: This department was doing a ‘trust’ activity where people had to hold hands and touch each other, done after they had consumed a snack that contained a large amount of peanut products. The colleague in question said, “I got in trouble for refusing to participate. Participating would have meant risking death – yes, I’m allergic to peanut products.

So if you’re planning a team building exercise for your office, don’t choose activities that might violate someone’s privacy. Not everything is fun for everyone! Ask yourself whether the exercise relates to the work your colleagues actually do.

And remember, you can find the best team building facilitators for your team on Eventerprise.com.