Top 5 Reasons Why Team Building Games Fail, and How to Avoid Them

When a Californian home security company chose their team building games, little did they know that the program would end disastrously, not just for the employees but for the company as well.

In the fiercely competitive game, sales teams were pitted against each other. Throughout the game, the competitors’ name posts were fixed in strategic places to make the employees ‘fight the crap out of each other’. In the end, the winning team ridiculed the losing team by making them wear diapers, feeding them baby food and throwing pies at them.

After the event, employees sued the company and it had to pay out USD1.7 million as damages! So much for honorable intentions!

A huge number of team building games fails because they share at least a few – if not all – of the elements above. They think that the best team games are those that pit teams against each other through fierce contests and throw up clear winners and losers. This is ironic because most companies desire more cooperation between employees, not fierce competitiveness. They want an atmosphere where knowledge is shared and success is achieved together. Then, where is the sense in selecting team building games where the focus is on competition rather than cooperation?

Some of the main reasons why team building games fail are as follows:

  • No understanding of final goals and objectives: Many employers like to spring a surprise on their employees but this can be counterproductive. When participants do not know the end goals, there could be seriously hostility between them. Instead, companies should inform the team members of the teambuilding program. In fact, companies can go one step further and give team members the power to choose. By respecting the team’s views and decisions in the matter and by giving them what they want, companies take the first step towards effective team building.
  • Trying to scare employees into being a team: Facilitators sometimes push a huge challenge on the employees as the very first activity. Quite naturally, this makes more than 90% of the participants hold back from giving their best. Facilitators must design games so that there is proper sequencing of activities starting with games that address the group’s current state of being. Do the team members know each other well? Is there a conflict that must be resolved before the team can work as one? The level of complexity must go up slowly to ensure that everyone is able to contribute evenly.
  • Stiff competition = rivalry: Competition is not the basis for team work, cooperation is. According to studies, more than 87% of times, greater advantage goes to teams that took the cooperative approach instead of the competitive one. The reasons are not hard to find. When you try to make one team (or team member) win, everyone loses. If people get a feeling that they weren’t good enough, it lowers their performance. Often, competition uncovers the inner jerk in the participants and some people may even try unfair means just so they can win. Besides, people learn much less when they are fighting against each other. Therefore, team building games must focus on imparting lessons instead of finding and rewarding winners.
  • Lack of commitment: Sometimes, management makes the mistake of considering the program an exercise in futility, something that is done to keep the employees in good humor. This feeling gets conveyed to teams automatically and results are unsatisfactory. Team building is a value mission and there must be a belief at the highest level that the company thrives on the culture of team spirit.
  • Working with the wrong consultant: Finally, the quality of team building games is only as good as the quality of the team building Event Company you are working with. Experts in the field have the technical proficiency to guide management in choosing the best activities for their goals. When looking for a team building consultant, it is vital to find someone who is passionate about what they do and are ready to work with you for the success of your team.

If a company has had a bad experience with team building games in the past, the reasons are likely to be one or more of the above.

General Church Building Guidelines

The follow church building guidelines are an excerpt from the authors’ book, “Before You Build“. These church building guidelines have been compiled from a variety of sources including years of experience seeing what really works, and what doesn’t. Use these guidelines as a starting point for planning, but please note these are general guidelines for a church building program, and every one of these has exceptions and modifiers based on your particular needs.

In general, you should estimate approximately 1 acre per hundred people. This allows for your building, adequate parking, green space, recreation and storm water management. This space requirement would be greatly reduced in a metropolitan area where on-street or public parking is available.

Plan for 1 parking space for every 2.25 people on campus at one time. This will probably be less than the required parking by the city or county, but will more accurately reflect actual need. Initially you will be able to get away with less parking, however, you need to plan for adequate parking for the total capacity of the facilities, even if you decide to grow into it over time.

To get a good idea of parking requirements for a future building program, have someone go into the parking lot and count cars over a several week period along with taking a good attendance of everyone on campus. Divide the total average attendance (men, women and children) by the average number of cars. The result will probably be somewhere around 2 to 2.5 people per car. Multiply this number by the capacity of your new facility and this will tell you how many parking spaces you will eventually need in order to park everyone to fill your building to capacity.

Estimate on-site parking to be approximately 100-110 cars per acre. Structured parking (parking decks/garages) is VERY expensive. While structured parking can dramatically increase parking per acre, use only as a last resort due to the high cost of construction.

Sanctuary seating requirements typically range from 10 to 15 square feet per person, depending on layout, seating type, seating pattern, and total size of the sanctuary. Stage area should be calculated separately from seating area, which may vary greatly between churches.

Using chairs instead of pews will generally allow you to seat more people in the same space, perhaps as much as 20% more. Chairs also allow you to reconfigure your sanctuary as needed to support various types of use (weddings, Sunday morning service, events, community use, fellowship, etc.)

The Vestibule/Lobby/Narthex should be about 2 square feet per person in the worship center. Normally this will be approximately 15-20% sanctuary seating space. If you plan on running multiple services, you should consider increasing this to facilitate the “shift change”.

Classrooms range in size from 12 square feet per person (for adults) to 35 square feet per person in the room (nursery and toddlers), depending on the age group using the space.

Almost no church is built with enough storage, janitorial and working space.

A high school size basketball court is 50×84 feet. Adding modest space around the edge of the court for out of bounds, plus allowing for restrooms, storage rooms, multipurpose rooms, etc., means that you are probably looking at a minimum of 7,500-8,000 square feet of building.

Individual offices are usually recommended to be a minimum of 120 square feet and pastor’s offices a minimum of 150 square feet (with a recommended size of 300 square feet). Cubicles in open workspace areas range from approximately 48 to 105 square feet, although they may be as small as 4’x4″ (16 square feet).

Round tables in the fellowship hall will reduce seating capacity by 20% or more. In calculating space needs, plan on 12 square feet per person for square tables and 15 for round.

Overall, a building with dedicated spaces for sanctuary, fellowship, education, administration and multiuse space may require from 35-55 square feet of space per person, depending on programs, ministries and other factors.

A building with multi-purpose rooms (some rooms used for multiple purposes) may require as little as 23 square feet per person.

Plan on nearly twice the amount of restroom capacity for women than for men.

Hallways should be no less than 6 feet wide. Seriously consider wider halls if you run multiple services in order to facilitate “shift change”. This is especially important around the Sunday school rooms, and area that always seems congested.

Handicap ramps have a slope of no more than 1 inch of drop for every linear foot unless handrails are provided.

Budget approximately 10% of the building cost for new furnishings.

Generally speaking, first floor space on grade is cheaper than basement or 2nd floor space. If you have the room, it is generally better to spread out horizontally instead of vertically in order to minimize cost.

One way to estimate the cost of furniture is to take the floor plan of your new facilities and do a room-by-room inventory of what you would need to buy for that room. The easiest way to do this is in a spreadsheet with columns for room, item description, quantity, item cost and total cost (formula of quantity times item cost). Open a church supplies catalog and assign reasonable prices for each item and let the spreadsheet total the results.

None of the above points should to be construed as advice as to what to build, but only as points of reference to be used in your planning and budgeting process.

With this information, you are now equipped with some general ideas on church construction. As they say, a little knowledge can be dangerous, however, it is less dangerous than a lack of knowledge.

It is generally in the church’s best interest to find an outside consultant, either within the denomination or an independent church building consultant to help mold these general concepts into a definitive plan for your church’s building program. Outside counsel is almost always a wise move as the gap between knowing and not knowing about a matter is much smaller than the gulf between knowing something and doing it right.

Mistakes are easy to make. For more information on how to address critical church building issues, read “Before You Build: Practical Tips & Experienced Advice to Prepare Your Church for a Building Program” available for immediate free download.

Building Design for the New Economy

“Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world with clean air, water, soil and power… economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed.” This is a beautiful quote from William McDonough. Professor of Architecture, Designer, Environmental Consultant to world leaders in manufacturing, and inspired soul. He addresses here the same principles of The New Economy, and supports the knowledge that there is a direct relationship between life, the living environment and the built environment. Have you ever been in a built environment that gave you a sense of calm and nourishment, that awakened your senses and gave you a feeling of deep rest and recuperation? We feel calm, nourished, awakened and alert when the air quality in a space is healthy… when form follows function… when space, light, color, and texture combine in an economy and elegance of design.

Nature is the gold standard against which our built environments should be measured. On its own, Nature has a finely tuned balance, but problems occur for both people and the environment when synthetic or man-made materials are introduced and the essential balance is lost. Ecological, sustainable building means not just sustaining our ecosystems, but human health as well. Mind, body and soul are affected in a myriad of ways by a dwelling. And it is clear that the once finely tuned relationship between humankind and nature is out of balance.

Let’s take a look at the 4 values that William McDonough mentioned in his quote and how they relate to sustainable building.

Economical, Equitable, Ecological, Elegant.

First let’s look at Economical… A quote from local Environmental Inspector & Building Consultant Jon Cotham… “It’s important to remember that with the rising cost of health care and lost productivity from illness, that anything we can do to maintain our good health is financially beneficial”. Our health is priceless and when buying, renovating or building a new home or business, its ability to nurture health should be our top priority. As more consumers look to healthy, sustainable building materials, the costs have come more in line with conventional materials. Contrary to popular belief, often the healthier alternatives are no more expensive, or even more economical in the long run due to a longer lifecycle and greater durability, or by reducing energy costs.

We have the ability to shift industry if we persevere in either buying less of something, or in buying more of the sustainable alternatives. Many of us will spend additional money to buy natural, organic and fair trade food & clothing. Why not take these into consideration when buying building materials? History has shown that consumers’ have great power with their spending habits. Runaway consumerism, has played a significant role in the collapse the economy and of the ecosystem, given the energy, water, land and other resources required to produce all the “stuff” people buy and quickly dispose of. Exciting opportunities for sustainability lie in the beginnings of a revolution that replaces materials made using dirty, wasteful methods with those resulting from clean processes patterned after Nature’s cyclical patterns. Since the 1990s leading manufacturers have adopted sustainability standards that have increased revenue through risk management, increased competitive advantage, cost reduction and product differentiation. They have demonstrated that such sustainable practices not only work but are economically viable.

Equitable. Most of us are all familiar with this term in regards to Fair Trade practices, which is an important consideration in buying practices for building materials. It is important to look to manufacturers who ensure healthy working conditions, fair labor practices and fair compensation. But, do we consider how we can be more equitable to our children, our pets and the elderly that occupy our dwellings? They may not have much voice, if any, in the decisions made concerning building materials, and yet they are the ones whose health is most at risk. Children are more affected by indoor contaminants than adults because their respiratory, immune & neurological systems are still developing. And, their breathing zone is much closer to the ground where most contaminants originate.

The next value is Ecological. When considering materials for your built environment, think about the impact your decision has on the world at large. Fortunately, there is a current awareness that Building Operations… that is heating, cooling and lighting… is having a huge impact on our outside air quality. Surprisingly, when we compare sources of Co2 emissions, we see that the manufacturing of Building Materials alone is actually higher than the levels produced by Automobiles. The manufacturing of Portland Cement used in concrete, and the gypsum used in drywall are among the biggest polluters, but there are alternatives.

The destruction of global health is mirrored by a similar impact on our personal health. Tens of thousands of chemicals being used today in the home and elsewhere are known to be toxic. The alarming growth of diseases such as childhood asthma, autism, and fibromyalgia – have become cause for researchers to look for links between these chemicals and our health, and indeed many have been found. Both the EPA and American Lung Association urge us to not use materials with PVC or formaldehyde added which can include vinyl flooring, carpet pad & backing, plywoods and particleboards found in cabinets and furniture, textiles, paints, stains and sealers. Studies have shown that poor indoor air quality affects attendance and productivity in schools and the workplace.

Elegant and Sustainable go hand in hand. The dictionary defines Elegant as “of a high grade or quality”. With today’s selection of sustainable building materials, elegance does not need to be compromised. There are a wide variety of materials that are truly elegant not only because of their high grade or quality, but also because they are truly pleasing and sophisticated. Sustainable building no longer is limited to a rustic or industrial looks.

Today we are faced with a dazzling array of finishing products. It is a daunting task to make healthy, sustainable choices, especially when considering how little information is revealed on product labels, and how much knowledge is required to decipher them. Fortunately, there is now more information available to the consumer through the internet and television, through books, and through the increasing number of professional consultants available to help with inspections, analysis, design and procurement. When starting any type of building or remodeling project, we need to take time to plan. A hard thing for many of us in this society of immediate gratification, but we need to invest sufficient time into finding healthy, environmentally sound choices.

Our homes and business represent one of the biggest investments we will ever make of our time, energy and money; they are a life long focus of concern and can become a source of well being. The simple steps of creating a healthy home or workplace are some of the easiest ways we can live an ecologic life, doing our part to be stewards for the earth, and helping to create a truly sustainable economy.

Copyright 2009 Cynthia Grier. All rights reserved.