Bad food and teambuilding

The caterer for an event recently offered Viv a variety of tasty choices for a forthcoming event. His final option was:

bad food(for team building in adversity)

I had to blink and think about this.

Obviously he’s put it there as he has had demand for such a thing in the past.

It’s very tempting to treat participants as objects for experimentation and “teambuilding” is often a pretext for this. I occasionally use this term myself but I always feel like apologising when I do.

I sometimes suggest we organise ourselves on the basis of “coalitions of the willing“. That means having trust that people will organise themselves better if treated as volunteers not conscripts.

From time to time I suggest groups do games and activities which I think might be useful to them. I am pretty careful to always include the option to opt out completely or just watch. I seemed to become a hero overnight in one American bank merely for creating this choice, so accustomed were they to being dragged into icebreakers by their over eager bosses.

As a facilitator, it’s always salutary for me to go to meetings as a mere punter. It reminds me how reluctant I often feel at the prospect of sticking a post-it note on my head, moulding a piece of clay to represent the brand values etc etc.

I’ll break my own ice, thanks. Oh, and I’ll try the caviar.

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