How to Make Team Days Count


Successful sports teams work hard at building the right team culture. As part of this they put a lot of resource into making sure the players get to know each other as well as possible. Eddie Jones and Gareth Southgate (rugby and football respectively) are both well known for taking their players to army camps to drive team bonding (and test the players under pressure). Gary Neville, England Women’s football coach, states that the team’s post Christmas trip to Qatar has been instrumental in driving the right team spirit and awareness.

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So what are the top three questions we find CEOs and MDs ask when it comes to all staff or team days? 1. What is the science behind team building days? 2. What are the key ingredients to make them successful? 3. And how can you ensure they have a lasting impact? Let’s take a look at each of these.


”The challenge of every team is to build a feeling of oneness, or dependence upon one another. Because the question is usually not how well each person performs, but how well they work together.” Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers Coach

This quote from one of the most successful sports coaches and leaders of all time pretty much sums up the purpose behind all staff or team days.

Decades of research across the business, education and sport sectors can be distilled down into simple principles around how to drive performance within any group of people. Central to this is the concept of psychological safety, something we have written about a lot in the past.

In essence, a climate characterised by mutual respect and interpersonal trust, where people are comfortable being themselves.

This is one of the key drivers behind all staff/team days. Because one of the best ways to drive psychological safety is to bring the human to the workplace. The more you know about each other, the more you understand how each other operates, what motivates you, what interests you, etc, the more likely you are to drive the right environment within your team.

Another key driver is to energise the team. We often find clients want to give their staff or teams a boost before the final quarter of the year. Or before a big project starts, especially one which will require a lot of collaboration. Or even after the summer break, to set the right habits for the ‘start of term’.

What are the key ingredients?

The research and insight points to the following as being key (and this is reinforced every time we run these sessions, no matter what sector we are working in):

  • time together;

  • having fun;

  • away from your usual environment;

  • pushing you (even if just slightly) out of your comfort zone;

  • learning more about each other;

  • in an environment which allows you to try, possibly fail, show vulnerability and so build tighter, closer bonds that drive trust and respect. All supporting that vital part of Psychological Safety - “a shared belief by members of the team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”


Driving Long Lasting Impact

As behaviour change experts, and through deep experience of how to ensure external training has impact, our top two tips are:

  • build a plan for how you are going to reinforce and embed the training, either before or during the day (examples include debrief sessions and follow on commitments); and

  • ensure the day leads to tangible and measurable action points, particularly around behaviours.

To find out how our workshops can energise your teams, get in touch on 01904 737007 or