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Team Building or Team Bonding. What is the difference?

Over the last few years we have noticed that we have been receiving requests that state “ please note this is not a team building trip so do not include any team building activities” and then later on in the same brief we read “we would you like you to offer us a mix of action and adventure, relaxing and fun activities which should be something different

During our in house brainstorming sessions, we often try to decipher what this actually means. It seems that the terms team building and team bonding are often used interchangeably. Many people think that team building in Barcelona will involve driving a Formula 1 Car around the F1 race track or dressing in crazy costumes, competing against each other to complete bizarre tasks and crazy games. But the truth is it’s not all about having fun, that comes under the heading of team bonding. A large part of our work is involved in offering development workshops with measurable outcomes as well as the “adrenaline rush” type of activities that are very popular in Barcelona.

Here are the parameters that we have defined in house to determine the difference between the two:

Team Building

  1. Focuses on people´s behaviour and their effect on workplace functionality.

  2. Helps build understanding and empathy in the workplace.

  3. Has a planned element that can be measured over time.

  4. Must have a clear ROI element attached to validate the program.

  5. Needs a real understanding of the characters and personalities in the team in order to design a program.

  6. Helps people work better in their already existing teams.

  7. Involve elements of communication, introspection, organisational behaviour and reflection.

  8. Encourages long-term behaviour change.

  9. Helps people build genuine connections.

  10. Usually leads to further discussion and deeper understanding of each other.

  11. Has elements of onsite and offsite interactions.

  12. Usually needs a coach or a facilitator to focus the learning elements.

Team Bonding

  1. Focuses on fun activities.

  2. Can be an integral part of a  team building program.

  3. Takes people out of their normal comfort zones.

  4. Focuses on new connections being made and existing ones being consolidated.

  5. Allows people to connect in a different setting.

  6. Is usually never repeated in the same way twice

  7. The aim is always to positively shock, surprise, impress and dazzle the participants.

  8. Can be used to incentivise or reward the team.

  9. Takes place offsite and can be done during the day or night.

  10. Encourages people to have fun together.

  11. There is generally a need to make each activity better than the last one.

  12. The team generally do not know the details of the program.

  13. Leave people with the “feel good” factor.

A mixture of fun team building activities and team bonding activities.

fun team building activities and team bonding activities. The challenge come in knowing the difference between the two and understanding what questions need to be asked in order to create the best outcome for all stakeholders.

The major difference is that team building is a long-term process that creates behavioural change while team bonding tends to be a short-term, fun experience that improves the mood of the team.

The top companies understand these parameters very well and employ a mixture of the two. An example of this is the work that we have been doing with one of the world´s top business schools IESE where for the last 10 years we have been collaborating to provide in house learning based workshops combined with off-site team bonding activities designed to consolidate the learning.

We have also worked with several companies who have already designed their team building program in their country of origin and need us to design a timetable of team bonding and hospitality packages to complement the training.

Top Companies do it

HPE, NIKE, KANTAR HEALTH or SEMPRE ANALYTICS (all who have been our clients) are just a random collection of letters, the values and philosophies upon which those letters stand relies heavily on a total commitment to team building and team bonding.

I’ve found that highly successful (and happy) organisations commit to a long-term team building approach that helps people think and behave in ways that benefit them and their work environment. Learning effective team building takes time and effort but it creates lasting success and a company culture that encourages positive behaviours. We take our focus on this area very seriously because we know it works and it helps us create enduring, measurable results.

For more information please take a look at or call us at + 34 93 270 2048.

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#teambondingbarcelona #incentivebarcelona #activities #teambuilding #DMC #Conferences #groupactivity

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