Customer Service Training TIps

Three “teambuilding” activities that backfire

Ever attend a “teambuilding event” at work that backfired? Consider these examples:

  • At the annual December company dinner, an employee who overindulges at the bar makes an inappropriate comment/ pass at another employee. That Monday, the subject of the unwanted attention files a complaint with HR.
  • At the summer company bar-b-que, several people (extroverts) who are on vacation can’t attend and feel like they’ve missed-out. Others (introverts) are relieved they have an excuse to avoid it.
  • At an offsite paintball outing, a somewhat out of shape employee stumbles over an obstacle, which at first causes some co-workers to laugh, but actually requires knee surgery.

In each case, well-intended managers hope the event will enhance team bonding and boost cooperation. Unfortunately, it has the opposite effect.

Company meals and events should be seen as bonuses or perks (that are sometimes expensive and risky). But they aren’t teambuilding events. Walking a high ropes course or completing a fire-walk has virtually no relevance to the problem of the service department blaming the sales department when a customer is upset.

In my 30 years of clients bringing me in to engage teams, I’ve observed that trying to enhance teamwork is like trying to fall asleep. Teamwork, like sleeping, is a byproduct of other steps you take to make it happen. In other words, teamwork is a side effect of everyone focusing on the larger goal – delighting internal and external customers.

That’s why for my client leadership teams, I walk them through staging monthly Customer Service Team meetings ­- CAST©. In 90 minute meetings, managers use the CAST tool to enhance internal and external customer service culture. Results: teams become more focused on service and more motivated to deliver it. Teamwork is the happy side effect.

Interested in staging your own CAST meetings? Check out the step-by step-process in my book, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month   I’ll also be staging virtual seminars on the topic this fall. Details are at Leading a Customer-Focused Team


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