Not Everyone Loves Putt-Putt

by Jennifer Miller on September 15, 2009

in Leadership, Team Effectiveness

For many of us in the United States, September means “back to school”.  In the business world, that sense of starting anew often prompts team leaders to consider some sort of social off-site activity (lunch, golf, attending a cultural event) as a means to energize their team.  Off-site activities, when properly conceived and aligned to a team’s personality, can be a very useful tool for creating team cohesiveness or just plain “blowing off steam” in a fun environment. 

Regrettably, many off-site ventures fall flat because the team leader didn’t consider the implications of conducting an off-site gathering.  Furthermore, many companies have a culture that promotes the concept of teamwork. Fun-day activities may seem to be a fairly easy way to get the group together, so the team leader organizes an event.  Just as there are varied personalities that comprise a team, there are myriad activities that will excite (or create dread for team members.)  One person’s “I LOVE putt-putt golf!!!” is another person’s “Putt-putt: Are you kidding me?”

Are you (or your team leader) considering hosting an offsite social gathering for the team?  Take my Off-site Readiness Quiz to determine if this is a good use of your team’s time.

  • When you float the idea of an offsite, does there seem to be a general sense of “energy” around it?
  • Do employees willing volunteer to help organize the event?
  • If you routinely do social off-sites, are the locations and types of activities varied to accommodate a variety of interests?
  • During past events, have the majority of employees fully participated in activities?
  • During past events, has group attendance been 100%?
  • After past events, were people still talking about it (positively)2-3 days later?
  • After past events, did you hear comments like, “That was fun! We should plan something like this for next quarter”?

If you answered “Yes” to five or more of these questions, you probably have a team that enjoys this type of activity.  If not, you may consider asking the team for input on what alternatives would be more enjoyable.  Do not mistake a team’s lack of interest for off-site “fun day” acitivities as a lack of team work.  I’ve known many highly-functioning teams that simply didn’t care for that type of diversion.

Looking for an alternative to infuse energy into your team?  See my post about No-Cost Ideas for Energizing Your Team.

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