My wife is 9 months pregnant, and has unfortunately been suffering from “false labor” – sporadic contractions which are painful, yet thankfully short. While I hate seeing her in discomfort, it’s given me a chance to try out my new contraction timer app: I clock in whenever the contractions start and end, and it automatically spits out a whole slew of useful statistical information about – well, contractions.

This, naturally, got me thinking about work (I suffer from Entrepreneur ADD).

As someone who’s been in the New York City corporate team building & events scene for some time, I know firsthand how fun and memorable customized, well-produced events can be for groups of all types. While I could talk up the great benefits of professional team building activities until I’m blue in the face, however, smart managers with limited resources still want to know: what will bethe quantifiable results for my group?

It’s not a coincidence that lots of managers are skeptical of anything labeled “team building.” I myself always conjured up images of really lame and awkward activities like trust falls and the like whenever word came from on-high that a “group bonding event” was in the works. The biggest issue here, as any experienced HR professional or employee reward/recognition expert will tell you, is that there’s just not a lot of empirical evidence out there when it comes to team building. I’ve talked a lot in this space about how anyone can claim to be a “team building expert,” as evidenced by a simple Google search (I recently found a guy who specializes in fish racing- as in, your employees race fish. “Team building fish racing,” he calls it).

I think a much more effective means of measuring the success of a corporate team building event is to clearly set your specific group’s unique goals and objectives upfront. Some things to consider before you plan your team’s trivia night, scavenger hunt or fish race should include:

  1. Why are we doing this?
  2. What challenges does the group currently face?
  3. Whom do we want to get to know whom better?
  4. What skills do we want this group to practice more effectively?
  5. How can we do what we’re doing better/more efficiently?
  6. What message(s) does management wish to communicate through this event?

Once you have your goals and objectives clearly set, it will then become much easier to say whether the team building activity helped in achieving them.

Can you think of any other ways we corporate team building professionals in NYC and elsewhere can better quantify the results of our events? If so, I welcome your thoughts & suggestions below!