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Team Mentality

Q+A with Summit Team Building's Claudia Valle

What trends are you seeing in teambuilding?
It’s more important than ever to connect the event back to the workplace; clients need to see the value if they are taking the time and expense to do it. Teambuilidng isn’t just for manage­ment training anymore. We are working with all levels as well as mixed teams.

When is teambuilding most effective?
When it’s the right fit for the group and meets the objectives of the group. Teambuilding can mean a lot of different things to people, from conflict management strategies to cooking together, so it’s important to make sure everyone is clear about what objectives the chosen experi­ence will meet.

What misconceptions do people have about teambuilding?
I think the biggest one out there is that teambuilding is touchy-feely and makes people uncom­fortable. We counter that by developing our programs with our philosophy of, “If we don’t have fun doing it, then our clients won’t either!” We make team­building enjoyable, with experi­ences that aren’t silly and don’t ask people to do something they aren’t comfortable doing.

What mistakes do you see planners and clients make when incorporating teambuilding in their programs?
Cancelling teambuilding because there is not enough time in the agenda. Professional sports teams spend 98 per cent of their time practising being an effective team before they are asked to get out and perform. How many corporate teams have the chance to practise working effectively with one another before a high level of expectation is placed on them to perform? Teambuilding is a great opportunity to get that practice time.

What can planners do to make the most of teambuilding?
Know your client. Ask the right questions so that you and the teambuilding company can work together to find the most appropriate program options for their budget and objectives. It may be that a philanthropic teambuilding event is the right fit for a company’s meeting focus, or it could be that an inspi­rational keynote is the way to go. When teambuilding is done right, the memories can last forever and help connect a team for years to come.

How can planners effectively communicate ROI of team building to clients?
It is difficult to attribute a better bottom line directly to teambuilding, but there has been much research show­ing the impact of employee engagement on a spreadsheet. By investing time and money in their teams, and allowing mem­bers to learn, have fun and build relationships, organizations show they care. Employees who feel valued tend to have higher engagement levels—and that can lead to less turnover and fewer sick days.


For the past 15 years, Claudia Valle has worked with Summit clients to put together top-notch teambuilding and team development programs. Her experience as a training facilitator has given her the opportunity to work with many of North America’s top Fortune 500 companies, as well as travel to Europe and Africa to work with international groups and leadership teams from non-profit agencies. Summit’s most popular pro­grams are Put Your Chef Hat On! (a competitive culinary challenge) and Play it Forward (a phil­anthropic digital version of a scavenger hunt).

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