Those rediculus dragons

Like many people I enjoy watching the Dragon’s Den.

This week, though, my respect for those highly successful business people took a bit of a knock… well, for two of them it did.

‘Team Building’ courses (and I can hear your collective groan as I write this) have a bad press and they have a bad press because of the eejits like the two guys who pitched to the Dragons in this weeks episode.

They talked about corporate team building but it just wasn’t. It may have been team entertainment (so let’s call it that), but team building it wasn’t.

To call it team building gives those of us who are training professionals a bad name. True team building must have its roots in organisational need – how a business wants to positively affect the way it does things in order to achieve better results.

To do that, anyone who portrays themselves as ‘trainers’ or ‘team builders’ must have a bit about them. They must understand how businesses work generally and they must know how people learn in order to get the best return on investment from the team building event.

More importantly, though, anyone who sets themselves up in this arena must be able to relate abstract concepts (in the case of the Dragons Den it was drumming) back into the work place. Team building events should be used to demonstrate what teams are doing now that is good and destructive and how behaviours can be changed so that the team operates better.

I have to say that at my business we do ‘team building’ but we spend time with the business first to find out what they want changed and we carefully select from a range of ‘team building’ options we have that suit the personality of the organisation in question.

We then run the events, debriefing and creating improvement plans at every stage of the course.

This is real team building.

Duncan Bannatyne said that he wrote two things about the ‘team builders’: ‘horrendous’ and ‘even more horrendous’.

Despite this, though, the two guys pitching got their money. Well done them. But I have to say that they’ve done the rest of us who are training professionals no favours at all.

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