2 Hour Team Building: What's up with that?

2 Hour Team Building: What's up with that?I have had a question for quite some time now. In fact, I have written a number of blog posts about it and finally wrote one that asked:

I really hope that some executives will weigh in because I don't get it. 


The time companies allocate for team building has been shrinking. I am not going to bore you by re-hashing why I think this is a REALLY BAD IDEA as have already weighed in on this issue a number of times. (I am even starting to bore myself.)


My company’s approach has been to deliver value and caution prospective clients and those who read our blog posts about the pitfalls of short team building. Yet, the timeframes are getting shorter and shorter. Lately, the most frequent requests have been for 2-hour team building. Even when the initial request is for 1/2 day to 1 day, the agenda gets more and more packed until only 2 hours is left. 

We rarely accept these engagements as there is little upside to them. By the time you get on-site, the group is behind schedule and you end up with 1 - 1 1 /2 hours at best. How can you possibly offer fully interactive team building with sufficient depth to satisfy the needs of bright and extremely busy executives within that timeframe? The best that is possible is an interactive keynote with 1 or two very short exercises or peer discussions.

The post cited above post has links to most of my content about this topic:

2011: 1-Day Team Building Pitfalls2011: Team Building: Cutting it Short – What’s up with That? 2011: Instant Team Building: What’s up with the 30 Minute Debriefs?2014: Team Building is not a Half Day Event2014: Team Building is not a Meeting Plus a Social Event2016: Team Building is not an Afterthought2016: Short Team Building: Adding Value for Senior Executives

Image: Cambodia4kids.org Beth K. (Flickr)


Burning Questions


I kept my promise so now it’s your turn. Now, I’ll turn things around and ask these burning questions. (Burning from my point of view.)

  • What’s up with the 2-hour team building?
  • Why are team building timeframes shrinking?
  • What value do executives and organizations see in 2-hour team building?


I welcome comments, especially from executives.


Anne Thornley-Brown is the President of Executive Oasis International, a Toronto team building and management consulting firm. She has designed and facilitated executive retreats, meetings, and team building for companies from 18 countries. 

In addition to her own blogs, Anne blogs for The Huffington Post. She has blogged for a number of corporate clients and event industry portals including Plan Your Meetings by MPI, Cvent, EventMobi, Event Manager Blog, and Elite Meetings.



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Anne 🐝 Thornley-Brown, MBA

I shared the video in my Toronto Team Buiding Post https://www.bebee.com/producer/@anne-thornley-brown/toronto-team-building-7-compelling-reasons-the-gta-should-be-your-go-to-destination

Anne 🐝 Thornley-Brown, MBA

Yes, everything you say is true Donna. They need to focus on team building that helps with revenue generation like Visexecutaries. Just realizing I should add the video to the post..

Anne 🐝 Thornley-Brown, MBA

Yes they are caleld bored rooms for a reason. Effective team building doesn't park people in their seats and yak at them for hours on end. I agree that feedback by email can be an helpful modern version of the suggestion box.

Anne 🐝 Thornley-Brown, MBA

Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee Those are great benefits but almost impossible to deliver in a standalone 2 hour session. Harvey Lloyd, I agree, team building as a stand-alone event is not very effective yet that is how most companies approach it. Team building does not have to be off-site to be effective. Now if you make it a 2 hours session every week or every other week for a few months with clear action items in between, that could work. Perhaps that is what we should be suggesting to time-strapped executives. Are we on the verge of coming up with a new model here? The hive is at work.

Javier 🐝 CR

Javier 🐝 CR

4 years ago #2

I love this idea, a 2 Hour Team Building ! Some.benefits of team building can be: 1. Improved Communication 2. Develop Team Roles 3. Time to Develop Skills 4. Better Relationships 5. The ability to maximize profitability by allowing individuals to better combine their skills to achieve more. and so on...

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

4 years ago #1

From a small business perspective and conversations with mid-level executives i can say that team building is a trust exercise that is difficult to do within a special envelope of time unless it is supported by the whole of the organization. In many of my discussions and execution of the team building i can say that the trust built is tested by participants in their real office environment with mixed results. Depending on schedule, need and priority to trust is typically broken when it involves "doing the right thing". Specifically as it applies to who/what will take the fall for not meeting some expectation. I agree with team building as a way to enhance the corporate culture but the culture has to be sound and lead by someone who is vigilant in creating the culture proposed.

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