What's the Big Idea about Team Building?

Team building gets a bad rap.

To many, the idea of ice-breaker games, commemorative t-shirts, and time spent away from seemingly more important tasks is about as un-sexy as it is imagined by comedian group Flight of the Conchords in their song "Business Time". (That being said, a surprising number of online shops sell shirts that read "Team Building Exercise '99".)

So why bother?

Jovian Concepts faces a unique challenge. For a company founded to be different, President and CEO Richard Scheper imagines a work place that isn't drudgery, an environment employees want to join, where their personal lives matter and where their talents are recognized.

As nice as that dream is, the reality is that the environment in which most employees of Jovian Concepts work creates physical distance between the members of the company. At Jovian Concepts, the challenge of reconciling that gap is approached in a variety of ways.

1. Bring people together. This can be called 'team building', but it's no different than when families gather at Thanksgiving-- it's just good to see each other in person.

2. Remove obstacles. Arranging transportation, budgeting for meals, being away from a significant other--these are problems Jovian Concepts handles for employees to try to make it as easy as possible for each employee to attend the yearly retreat. Significant others are included in the retreat--if someone is important to an employee, he or she is important to Jovian Concepts.

3. Make it enjoyable. By its very nature, work is unpleasant -- but a beach or a mountain getaway is very pleasant!

4. Make it meaningful. From the welcome reception to the scheduled free time, the Jovian Concepts team building retreat is planned to be purposeful.

Building a team is accomplished through thoughtful activities built around a common company culture. By creating an atmosphere where employees want to socialize, relationships will grow and trust will build. No t-shirt can make that happen.

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