Team Bonding, Team Building or Team Development?

When I do a needs assessment with a potential client, I ask LOTS of questions to see what type of program they are looking for.  And in my mind, there are three common types of programs in our field; Team Bonding, Team Building and Team Development.  Team Bonding refers to fun, recreational programs that may involve some networking and rapport building.  Team Building offers teams the opportunity for growth, reflection, and potential ongoing learning. Team Development is ongoing ‘deep-dive’ work that focuses on behavior change and team performance. All three serve a useful purpose, but it’s important to know what each type of program entails.
Team Bonding
  • Is designed around a simpler goal or outcome of having a good time.
  • May follow a specific schedule, but is not catered to an end workplace goal.
  • Typically does not require reflection time.
  • Can act as a stand-alone event.
 Team Building
  • Is designed around a particular goal or outcome that is transferable to the workplace or school environment.
  • Has an intentional curriculum or flow.
  • Is designed and/or facilitated by trained facilitator with skills in experiential facilitation techniques.
  • Allows for built-in reflection time where participants reflect on their experience and relate those experiences back to the real world.
  • May include follow-up work.
Team Development
  • Is designed around long-term, targeted organizational goals.
  • Has a multi-phase curriculum including behavioral assessments.
  • Includes a minimum of one program a quarter and ongoing coaching for team members.
  • Is facilitated by a Master Facilitator who works closely with the organizations internal Human Resource team.
  • Outcomes include behavioral and organizational change.
It’s important for organizations to clearly define what their programs offer.  There’s nothing worse than a client expecting one thing and you delivering another.  And the flip side of that, clients can sometimes expect you to perform miracles in a two-hour session.  Establishing what is realistic in their Needs Assessment can help both parties have a positive experience.  I find these three categories easy for clients to digest and helps create a shared mental model for what fits their needs, budget and desired outcomes.
Do you have other language you use with your clients in your Needs Assessment?  Please join in a discussion on our Facebook page.