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Team Building Activity Debrief

Hosting a team building activity debrief provides an invaluable platform for the members of your team to acknowledge what they’ve learned about themselves, about others and their interactions with one another. Perhaps even more importantly, a debrief allows teams to identify the lessons that can be implemented to improve the way in which they work, whether that is in their communication, leadership or collaboration with others.

A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review showed that teams who host even an unstructured debrief have a 22% higher chance of succeeding than a team that didn’t do one. So, we can see that even a quick, informal debrief can have such a greatly positive impact on the way we do work. So why is it that most of our clients do not request a team building activity debrief?

First, consider the ‘WHY’

There are many reasons for wanting to organise a team building event. Some of the more popular reasons include: just have fun, getting to know each other & as a reward. For these outcomes, a team building activity debrief may feel out of place. There’s no particular need to debrief after an Amazing Race on what everyone learned as the lessons of collaboration, problem solving & communication are already embedded within the activity itself. Going over everyone’s experiences within the activity with a fine-toothed comb may feel like overkill for your delegates – especially when the overall goal was simply to have some fun & network.

On the other hand, if you have clear, defined outcomes for the team building activity such as building trust, coping with change, working as one team, leadership, effective communication etc. a debrief is vital in ensuring the team building activity is both meaningful & lasting.

The Debrief

An experienced facilitator will lead your team through more than just a play-by-play of what happened in the activity. Safe & productive discussions can be harnessed through well devised questions that connect your delegates experiences to your outcomes & goals for the activity. Generally, a debrief can be split into 3 main areas: what, so what and now what.

1: What? = Objective facts, the truth
You can begin with this style of questioning for any team building activity.

Describe your experience, what happened?
Who did what? (roles & responsibilities)
What did you see/feel?

2: So what? = Effects & subjective interpretation
After discussing ‘what happened’ you can move on to interpreting the effect certain actions had.

Why were you successful (or not)?
What did you discover about yourself?
How were differences in opinion handled?
Which behaviours/actions had the most effect on the team?

3: Now What? = Transfer of agreed learning & shared understanding
Following the ‘so what’ discussion you will move into discussing what can be learned from this experience & how it can be applied to future interactions.

How does this relate to something that occurs in our workplace?
What would we do differently next time?
What good practice can we take with us?
Where do we need to pay increased focus/attention?

If you’re interested in incorporating a team building activity debrief talk to us! We can link your set outcomes to the best activity and tailor the debrief questions to suit. We will help you find the lessons that will help your team be more productive & successful in the future.