A common myth around corporate and HR circles is that team building activities and similar approaches like “trust falls” and other artificial (and often meaningless) contests pitting co-workers against each other actually work to boost morale and bring people together.

Executive Summary

Team building exercises, retreats and "trust falls" by themselves won't build a great corporate culture. But trust is the glue that holds great cultures together, writes leadership coach Marcel Schwantes, who also highlights the importance of alignment around common core values and environments where leaders believe that how people treat each other is as important as results as key components of effective work cultures.

While all have good intentions and people will probably have a great time and enjoy some good laughs, the myth here is that team building activities will magically result in a great corporate culture materializing before your very eyes.

Whether you dub it an activity, program, staff retreat or even training, the research is clear that none of these approaches are sustainable for building a solid foundation for a culture to be leveraged for business outcomes. (Otherwise, what’s the point?)

Furthermore, the myth takes on a chicken or the egg scenario. I’m often asked: “How do we increase our employee engagement and satisfaction metrics?”

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