A place in the sun

How are you rewarded for failure at work? A trip to the big apple, soaking up the sun in Dubai or a golfing trip to Portugal? It's called team building its very popular with managers whose football teams have suffered a dip in performance during the long winter days after Christmas. Team building is also popular in the public sector and not just if a new manager is trying to bond a dysfunctional team. 

Team Away days are time away from the office, time to think, to agree the way forward ,clarify roles and responsibilities in the hope that doing this together will encourage cooperation and mutual support. 

An away day is a day away, team building is usually over several days the idea being that the time spent together eating and socialising is just as important as the formal activities. 

As a senior manager I was responsible for a team of managers managing very different services who felt they had little in common except they were all managed by me. 

One year I tried to combine an away day with team building. The  morning being focused on the business/budget plan, a common set of priorities and agreement on what type of management behaviour we wished to encourage, the afternoon at the bowling ally for some friendly competition. I didn't mention this in advance and the team were a little surprised after all this was a "fun activity in work time " and these were all serious service heads but it went down well. Except with my boss who refused to sign my expenses claim for the cost of the session from the training budget. Ironic as I was responsible for the management training budget. I think word must have got round that the director didn't approve of this type of activity during work time because no one else followed my example!

Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk 

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