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Once again I find myself at odds with everyone on the list.
I like team building exercises. Here's why:
*It usually involves some sort of free food. I love free food. I would
let you perform medical experimentation on my nether regions for free
*The people who think that these things are a good idea are usually the
ones who decide your compensation. They are perfect opportunities to
paste a fake grin on your face and suck up to the big cheese. Show that
you are a team player. Laugh at unfunny jokes (easier to do if you
remember that you are getting paid for this). Eat free food.
*Did I mention the food angle?
*Gives you a new excuse as to why your work is not done. Instead of the
old standbys of "The developers didn't tell me that..." or "They changed
X at the last minute," you can say "I was team building." In fact, I
recommend taking a few extra days after the team building exercise to
just walk around and chat with your co-workers. Maybe play a group game
on the company network. If someone asks what you are doing and why
aren't you working since the deadline is tomorrow, just tell them you
are applying the principles learned during team building.
*Finally, there are usually some free beverages to go with the free
I think that many team building exercises are vain attempts to grasp at
something that is missing from the corporate culture. Either your
corporate culture fosters teamwork, or it does not. If you are in a
culture that does not foster a team environment, no amount of running
through the woods naked while pounding drums will cure that.