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What are the 3 distinct levels of Team Building?

What are the 3 Distinct Levels of Team Building?

The phrase “Team Building” certainly get used with frequency these days, but do people actually give much thought to what it really means, or indeed that there are numerous levels of delivery to consider?

How do you match the right activity or solution to an actual business need?

LEVEL 1 – SIMPLE INTERACTIVE M.I.C.E EVENTS (For Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events)

At this level of delivery the focus is very much upon fun, interaction, theme selection and basic relationship enhancement.

Human beings at their most basic behavioural level seek engagement within a social network to establish conscious and sub conscious awareness of power, relationships and collective purpose.

The style of events that can work well at Level 1 engagement are virtually anything that will require basic collaboration and shared purpose for small teams usually on a competitive basis.

Such approaches include simple parodies of reality TV Shows (The Amazing Race, The Apprentice, Idol etc), Cooking Classes (Master Chef parody), CBD Races and Treasure Hunts, Painting a canvass as a team etc.

Team Building for fun and superficial level shorter-term outcomes. Whilst the sophistication of events that is required to achieve success at this level may not constitute “rocket science” by way of their construct or complexity, they must be professionally designed and delivered to engage a discerning business audience.

There will be subtle and meaningful outcomes of an interpersonal nature, along with an overall and collective sense of fun with a nice “buzz” if the activity hits the mark with its target audience, but rarely if ever are events at this level capable of carrying any depth with respect to messaging, lasting outcomes or as agents for long term change.


We often like to refer to this level of delivery as the “You Can have Your Cake and Eat It” level due to the fact that all of the benefits of a Level 1 Event can be present within a fun theme, yet enhanced with some genuine focus on outcomes, key messages and lasting value.

Team Building with greater depth. The challenge of actually being able to design, deliver and achieve this outcome on a sustainable and reliable basis as a provider are significant. This level in fact constitutes the very threshold between a rudimentary provider of simple “team games” and a genuine team building and development provider.

The style of activities deployed here need to meaningfully engage the human dynamic and the human brain beyond just the rational behavioural level and need to begin the process of covertly (or overtly in some cases) tapping into deeper levels of team and leadership dynamics.

Humans work within networks, build relationships and form team and leadership dynamics according to a variety of well-established principles and stages. If these are well known to the designers of the concepts being used, then even an event deployed at this level can achieve lasting results.

Activities here need to meaningfully draw out diverse team role behaviours, thinking styles and observable individual and collective strengths and weaknesses for observation and review.

Such approaches include tailored business games and simulations that require teams and individuals to dig deeper than just basic drivers for competition and fun to mirror some of the challenges and complexities they may face at work.

Tailored reviews and de briefs may then link experiential outcomes to positive outcomes in the real world. The event has enough sophistication, depth and thought put into its design to be somewhat of a “Trojan Horse” for linking to workplace processes, behaviours and an understanding of individual and collective biases and behaviours as drawn out in the simulations.


This level of delivery transcends “an event” and whilst they can often be delivered within the constructs of an event, are dovetailed strategically into an integrated process we call “Sustainable Teaming”, “Team DNA” or “Leadership DNA”.

Here the drivers are not merely theme based but rather we are drawing from a diverse toolbox of possible approaches and solutions to achieve meaningful and desired end states for clients that transfer clearly to real world follow through.

Whilst the flexibility within the continuum of the design for such high end approaches enables us to draw upon elements from level 1 and 2 as required, at level 3 we are also engaging highly complex neuroscience, accelerated teaming, individual and team profiling tools along with a level of facilitation and design that far exceeds that required for simple MICE delivery.

These levels of design, delivery and engagement are those that make lasting and meaningful changes to client teams, individuals and to organisations as a whole. Team Building with lasting value and that is strategically integrated into the framework of a client’s business needs.

At this level there are few genuine providers.

Square pegs into Round Holes?

The frustration that often occurs for professional team building providers at a higher level is that many clients are often torn between their budget and theme driven motives on the one hand that often attract them to level 1 or low level 2 solutions, and on the other hand the fact is that they are actually trying to achieve high level 2 or even level 3 outcomes.

A level 1 event cannot be expected to get anywhere near the impact, sophistication or outcomes that are possible from a higher level of design and delivery of a level 3 programme.

The old maxim that “you will get what you pay for” holds true here as naturally the more sophisticated and meaningful the solution, the more research, development and infrastructure cost has gone into its creation and also the ongoing ability for it to be delivered reliably for you.

Hence the clear price variations that occur across the three spectrums of delivery we have illustrated here. These are an accurate reflection of the degree of sophistication and outcomes that can be expected. From different styles of team building.

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