Has Team Building become Obsolete?


By Dr Chris Heunis, Founder & Director, Team Building Institute


The concept of team building often gets relegated to the sidelines, dismissed as just another box to tick in the human resources checklist. These knee-jerk tweaks are frequently seen as a day out of the office, to reward hard work or celebrate the end of a year. These events are normally filled with activities and laughter, but with little substantial impact on the actual functioning of a team.  

Team building is an effective tool to introduce and sustain business flow and transformation. Transforming the organisation starts with the way people, feel, think and behave. In other words how do they relate to themselves (intra-relations), one another (inter-relations), client-relations as well as how the team relates to the value added to clients. I have observed and facilitated the transformation that effective team building can bring about in organisations. It’s time to debunk some common myths and shed light on the profound impact a well-designed team-building strategy can have on a company’s ability to effectively respond to change, elevate morale, effective communication, and productivity in general.

Physical participation unlocks learning and understanding. Although physical participation in activities play an important role, team building is not just about fun and games; it’s the only means to generate new understanding of business imperatives in a sustainable way. If you are sincere about achieving results, investing in your teams is non-negotiable.

Debunking Common Misconceptions About Team Building


Despite its proven benefits, team building is often clouded by a plethora of misconceptions that undermine its true potential. Let’s debunk some of these myths:

  • Myth: “Team Building is a Waste of Time”: Effective team building is a crucial investment in your workforce. It’s not just about taking a break from work; it’s about enhancing the work itself when the work environment becomes a metaphor when activities create parallel experiences between the work environment and team building. A significant 80% of employees believe creating a sense of community at work is crucial, and 63% of leaders report improved communication post-team building sessions. These motivational factors lead to enhanced employee engagement and retention.
  • Myth: “Team Building Doesn’t Impact Results”: Contrary to this belief, investing in team building yields tangible results. Clients have reported a 20-25% increase in productivity and a 31% increase in profitability. This clearly indicates that team building goes beyond emotional benefits and contributes directly to the bottom line.
  • Myth: “Team Building is Awkward”: Some participants may experience a novel-setting and “unusual” activities as awkward. However, a well-crafted team building program is far from awkward. It’s about growing and learning in a supportive and accommodating environment. The key is to shift control to the participants. When they realise they are in control and experience emotional and physical safety, they are open to new perspectives without feeling uncomfortable or awkward. Be careful when choosing your service provider.
  • Myth: “Team Building Requires Big Events”: Effective team building should not be confused with recreational events. Perspectives change, and learning is optimised in small groups. This requires skilled facilitation. Unqualified facilitators are the biggest contributors to misconceptions about team building.

Team building is a continuous journey, not a once-off event. The real power of team building lies in its ability to transform how people interact, communicate, and work together towards common goals. Follow-up is key to sustained change.

Team Building’s Impact on Morale and Stress


The positive impact of team building on employee morale and workplace stress cannot be overstated. In a world where work-related stress is increasingly common, fostering an environment of support and understanding through team building is more important than ever.

  • Boosting Morale: Team building is instrumental in boosting employee morale and a feeling of belonging, when stories and learning moments are shared after team building in the work environment. By engaging in programs that encourage collaboration and appreciation, employees feel valued and part of a cohesive unit. This sense of belonging is crucial in maintaining morale.
  • Reducing Stress: Experiential learning that engages big muscle groups play a vital role in stress reduction. Working together in a relaxed setting, away from the pressures of day-to-day tasks, allows for a release of tension. The shared experiences and laughter transfer into the work environment, when stories are shared and newly adopted skills are applied.
  • Promoting a Supportive Culture: Team building fosters a culture where employees feel they can trust each other. This is especially important in challenging times, where the collective strength of a team can be a source of confidence and resilience.
  • Encouraging Open Communication: An often-overlooked aspect of team building is its ability to open lines of communication. In a relaxed and informal setting, employees are more likely to demonstrate open-mindedness, sharing, leading to better understanding, and breaking down siloed thinking and enhancing empathy among team members. 

Investing in team building is not just about improving and sustaining productivity; it’s about creating a workplace that cares for the well-being of its employees. A happy team is a productive team, and a stress-free environment is key to achieving this.

Addressing Workplace Challenges Through Team Building


One of the most significant benefits of team building is its ability to address and resolve various workplace challenges. From silo mentality to communication breakdowns, a well-designed team-building program can work wonders to transform workplace dynamics.

  • Breaking Down Silos and bureaucratic mind-sets: In many organisations, departments often work in isolation, creating ‘silos’ that hinder cross-departmental collaboration. Cross-functional team building encourages interactions across different departments, fostering an understanding and appreciation of various roles and responsibilities. Barriers are broken down and promote a more cohesive organisational culture when activities that demonstrate the desired behaviour are introduced.
  • Improving Communication: Effective communication is the backbone of any successful team. Communication improves when thinking styles are introduced in a fun and engaging way. When communication skills are enhanced with an understanding of the effects cognitive diversity has on effective communication, listening improves, ideas are better articulated and non-verbal cues are accurately interpreted.
  • Combating Office Politics: Office politics can create a toxic work environment. Team building activities that focus on collaboration over competition or bureaucratic mind-sets, can help mitigate this. By working towards a common goal, employees learn to value each other’s strengths and contributions, reducing the scope for internal politics.
  • Encouraging Empathy and Understanding: Understanding and empathy are crucial for a harmonious workplace. Team building provide opportunities for employees to step into each other’s shoes, understand different perspectives, and build empathy. This not only improves interpersonal relationships but also enhances teamwork.

Through targeted team-building activities, companies can address these challenges head-on, leading to a more harmonious, productive, and engaged workforce.

Empowerment, Managing Change, and Building Trust


Team building is not just about improving current team dynamics; it’s also about empowering employees, managing change effectively, and building a foundation of trust.

  • Empowering Employees: Experiential learning often places employees in situations where they need to take initiative and make decisions. This process of empowerment extends to the workplace, as employees feel more confident in their abilities and more willing to take on responsibilities.
  • Adapting to Change: Change is a “disruptive” and necessary constant in the world of business.  Responsiveness when change is introduced, and proactive thinking mitigate the disruptive effects of change. Restructuring the organisation does give the impression of progress and does waste resources when these initiatives are not aligned with a new organisational culture.  When participants face unexpected challenges during a team building program, this helps teams to adapt quickly and effectively. These experiences teach responsiveness, flexibility, problem-solving, and the importance of maintaining a positive attitude in the face of change.
  • Building Trust: Trust is the cornerstone of any successful team. When participants feel safe emotionally and physically, they will be inclined to challenge their own comfort zones. Learning to rely on each other’s strengths and supporting one another’s weaknesses. Experiential learning creates a safe space to be vulnerable, which is essential for trust to thrive.

By focusing on these areas, team building becomes a tool for creating a more dynamic, adaptable, and trusting workforce. Such an environment is not only conducive to employee satisfaction but also sets the stage for continuous growth and success.

The Undeniable Value of Team Building

In conclusion, team building is much more than an optional ‘fun’ activity. It is a critical investment in the heart of your business – your people. Regular, well-designed team-building sessions can transform an organisation by boosting morale, improving communication, and fostering a culture of collaboration and trust. The impact on productivity, employee satisfaction, and overall organisational health is profound and undeniable.

Businesses must recognise the true value of team building and integrate it as a fundamental part of their strategy. It’s time to move beyond these misconceptions and embrace team building as a key driver of success.

How can you optimise your performance in sport?


In the high-octane world of motorsport, success often hinges on split-second decisions, precise coordination, creativity, teamwork and unwavering mental fortitude. Any advantage can make the difference between victory and defeat. In a pioneering move, the TreasuryONE Motorsport team has embraced an unconventional approach in their preparation for Dakar 2024.

As far as we know, for the first time in Dakar history, HBDI profiles have been used in a team’s participation, and we are excited to see the outcome…!

HBDI: A Mental Game-Changer:

The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument, or HBDI for short, is a tool that assesses thinking preferences, providing insights into how individuals process information and make decisions. While it’s commonly used in various industries to enhance team dynamics, improve communication, and stimulate innovation, its application in motorsport is a groundbreaking leap into uncharted territory. Hennie de Klerk, the driver and owner of the TreasuryONE team, introduced the concept of whole-brain thinking to his team members.

Diverse Thinking Styles for Multifaceted Challenges:

Motorsport is a complex sport that demands a multifaceted approach. From engineers fine-tuning a vehicle’s performance to drivers navigating treacherous terrains, each aspect of the sport requires a unique cognitive skill set. Here, HBDI profiles shine by illuminating the diverse thinking styles within a team.

The Impact on Team Dynamics:

By understanding how team members think and process information, they can tailor strategies, communication, and problem-solving approaches to optimise performance.

Anticipation Builds for Dakar 2024:

In motorsport, where every detail counts, this groundbreaking approach could well be the key to unlocking victory for the TreasuryONE team.

We look forward to seeing how Hennie and the team perform at the DAKAR – and wish them all the best!

Teaming© – a lesson from rugby


Teaming is the ability of an individual to adapt technically and socially to positively contribute to different teams, their unique goals, culture, and behavioural patterns

In preparation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, our National Team was split into two teams while competing in the Rugby Championship. The Rugby Championship is contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. I was surprised to hear that while the Springboks competed against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on 08/07 some team members were already in New Zealand preparing for the game scheduled for 15/07. This suggests that there exists enough depth in our talent pool to compete with different players at international level. Whether some players eventually played in both games, is not the point. What makes this decision significant is that our team members can adapt to the styles of different players on the fly.

The challenge is not so much finding technical prowess, but rather a combination of technical and soft skills. Top performance in team sports as well as the business/ project environment depends on technical, and behavioral adaptability.

Having enough time to select the right team members, experimenting with different combinations of skills and gradually develop trust and team culture, as roles are clearly defined takes time and is costly. This is slowly becoming a luxury of the past and rings true for the world of sport as well as the world of business. The “ability” of an individual to adapt technically and socially to positively contribute to different teams, their unique goals, culture, and behavioural patterns is referred to as “Teaming”. Teaming epitomizes a new era of business and more specifically in the Project Environment. The ability to execute “teamwork on the fly” will become a critical skill in business. When specialists are gathered in temporary groups because of the intensity of market change and competition, unpredictability of clients’ needs, lack of time to build a team; organizations are forced to bring together employees from different disciplines and divisions, including external specialists and stakeholders, only to disband them when they have achieved the goal and a new opportunity arises.

Project Team Management (PTM) requires individuals with sufficient technical as well as soft skills. The project environment is becoming more and more competitive. The rugby scenario discussed above perfectly mirrors the Engineering environment. Projects are becoming the engines that drive organisational strategy in new directions. There appears to be no single framework or training intervention that prepares individuals to adapt and effectively contribute to multiple projects. Institutions offering training programs have failed their clients by negating the importance of soft skill development as part of the curriculum.
Teaming ultimately involves developing soft skills of an individual in a team environment. EQ-agility is just as important as technical prowess. “Engineers are hired for their technical skills and fired for their behavioral mistakes.”

Self-awareness is the key that unlocks the first step to EQ-agility. Discovering the significance of one’s thinking style (Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument™) sparks self-awareness. This unlocks the value of interdependence as a prerequisite to effective teamwork. Teaming develops a new skill set that requires members to match behaviour at odd times with other members in unpredictable contexts.

Trust is generally regarded as a foundational construct of teamwork. With less time to develop trust in practice, the value of a shared understanding of fellow team member’s thinking styles goes a long way to establish trust as foundational value.

The following definitions for further consideration:

Teaming training© is the experiential development of an individual to acquire critical skills needed to adapt to multiple teams. Teaming Profile© is a graphic presentation of the basic behavioural skill set an individual displays.
Teaming Inventory© is a peer and self-assessment of teaming constructs.
Teaming Assessment© is the application of the Teaming Inventory© and includes peer and self-assessment.
Teaming skills© is the ability to create networks, acquire skills and knowledge quickly, respond to change quickly, positive attitude, opportunistic, creative, improving the system while operating on the system- executing and learning at the same time, fast learner, courage to cross borders.

TBi designed a three-day teaming training program that experientially unlocks constructive team behaviour. A 360° questionnaire (Teaming Inventory©) assesses teaming constructs and provides a clear picture of the participant’s Teaming Profile©.

The leaders’ role shifts from composing and managing teams to inspiring and enabling the principle of teaming.

Teaming should not be confused with Team Building. Team Building applies to intact or stable teams committed to achieving a long-term goal. This implies identifying the right people with the right combination of skills – building trust over time – clearly identified roles responsibilities and membership – no boundaries to cross to get the work done.

Does your leadership style suffer from a BLIND spot? Part 3


“…most bosses are not mentally ill, but a surprising number of senior executives do have a personality disorder of some kind.” De Vries (2014:102).

Let’s discover how one’s HBDI thinking style can identify a blind spot.

Case study 1:

Subject 1: “I could not understand why I forgot things when I needed to perform under pressure.” At the tender age of 6, I was chosen as a member of our school choir. On a fateful Monday morning during Assembly the headmaster had a brain waive and decided to ask all the junior members of the choir to give a solo rendition of one of the numbers that were part of the choir’s repertoire. There were three of us. Without thinking I raised my hand and offered to go first. I did not realize my mistake until I faced an ocean of expecting faces which was followed by silence and abated breath for the piano to play the intro…my kneecaps performed a “sowing machine” ritual.

My stress levels peaked when I realized I started the song with the second verse…I stopped singing…They laughed…I ran off the stage crying…the Headmaster caught me by the arm and ordered me to try again…I tried again but mixed the words so badly; stopped and ran for the door backstage…They caught up with me and ordered me to try again…the whole assembly felt so sorry for me, they sang the song with me. Finally, I completed both versus. Since that day I became aware that I cannot remember detail under pressure…could this have been the trigger of a belief that I was not clever or good enough… a belief that would haunt me for the rest of my life. I would study very hard for a test, but when confronted with the exam room stressors, I could not remember the answers. When I was introduced to my HBDI thinking style and I realized how stress affects my relaxed state of thinking, it all made sense.”

When one becomes aware of how your thinking affects your behaviour it is referred to as Meta Cognition.

Figure 1: Subject 1

Figure 2: Whole Brain Communication

Table 1: Stress-related shifts in thinking style

When under pressure my thinking preferences change, I am less aware of logical thinking (Blue: -4), significantly less procedural (slower to execute) (Green: -12), significantly more emotional (Red: +21) and less creative (Yellow: -9).

When I saw this, everything started making sense. Now I understand why I forget “things” when stressed and how emotions shift into to my foreground.

You may ask, “Is this good or is this bad?”, the short answer is: neither. What makes this insight so life-changing is that my self-understanding improved significantly and my increased self-awareness improved my meta-cognition which makes me more aware and able to match my thinking to situational requirements.

If only I understood how to engage my Green quadrant to remember the words of the song and not allow the Red quadrant-related emotions to disrupt me, that fateful morning could have been a moment of growth in self-confidence so badly needed at such a tender age.

I embraced my thinking style by actively engaging my Red quadrant when coaching and mentoring business executives virtually, and in person…my Blind Spot became my Sweet Spot.”

Case study 2:

Subject 2:

 “I am a successful businessman and an entrepreneur at heart. I identified a niche market for investment portfolio management about 20 years ago. My personnel compliment has grown from 5 to 80 in two decades with a steady well sustained client base. However, my success is tainted by a high attrition rate of key personnel. Exit interviews feedback points to my inability to create an emotionally safe environment.
Here are some of the verbatim comments of former colleagues:

Respondent 1: “I never know where I stand with him… today he will arrive at the office calm and collected, set up a meeting and inform me about certain policies and procedures he wants me to implement. Tomorrow, he arrives at the office, clearly in a bad mood and when I give him some feedback on my progress with the procedures and policies project, he tells me it’s not required anymore, and I must refrain from dumping too much detailed documents on his desk.”

• Respondent 2: “He interferes in my work, tells me what and how to do it.”

Respondent 3: “I do not know where I stand with him. He arrived at work calm and collected. After the Board meeting, he stormed into my office and started questioning decisions and subsequent actions. It’s difficult to operate in this unstable environment. He shows no empathy, he is happy when he is in a good place. I doubt he knows, or cares, about my recent divorce…”

Figure 3: Subject 2: HBDI Thinking Style

Subject 2:

“First impression of the graph indicates a shift from relaxed thinking to a slightly different graph under pressure.

When under stress my Blue quadrant (fact based and analytical thinking) looses 6 points, which suggests that changes are not significant, with 11 points added to Red quadrant that suggests that I will appear to be more emotional and concerned about feelings and relationships under pressure.
The significant changes in my Green and Yellow quadrant preferences goes a long way to explain the “unintended” impact my stress-related thinking has on my colleagues.

My Green quadrant loses 28 points! When I am relaxed and at the office I am very aware of the progress of all the projects and I do realise now that I micromanage my Project Leaders. When stress gets hold of me I loose focus on processes and structure. The energy shifts from Green to Yellow. My Yellow quadrant gains 21 points! Stress increases my urge to innovate, be creative and find new solutions. This creates confusion and uncertainty when I suggest changes today, versus ways of work I suggested the previous day.

I am now much more mindful of this blind spot. I have discussed my thinking style with my directs reports and I feel much more connected and understood.

We can learn to escape the grip of habit and become more cognitively aware of our internal world. This demands intentional modification to cultivate a new presence that facilitates meaningful and enduring relationships.

The Next Level of Team Building: Sustaining Success Through Continuous Improvement


By Robbie Verkuyl, Director, Team Building Institute

In my previous article, we emphasised the significance of team building and its impact on organisational success. Today, we delve deeper into the topic to explore the importance of sustaining and continuously improving team-building efforts. Building a strong team is just the beginning; it is the ongoing commitment to fostering a collaborative and cohesive work environment that truly propels businesses toward long-term success.

Team building should not be a one-time event or a mere checkbox on a company’s to-do list. Instead, it should be viewed as an ongoing process, integrated into the fabric of the organisation’s culture and operations. Here’s why:

  • Reinforcing and Evolving Team Dynamics:

As teams grow and evolve, it becomes crucial to reinforce the positive dynamics that were initially established. Regular team-building activities provide opportunities to solidify relationships, deepen trust, and address any emerging challenges. By revisiting team building exercises, organisations can ensure that team members stay connected, maintain effective communication, and adapt to new roles or team structures.

  • Nurturing Innovation and Adaptability:

Team building activities are not just about improving internal relationships; they can also foster a culture of innovation and adaptability. By encouraging diverse perspectives, creative problem-solving, and open communication, organisations can unlock the full potential of their teams. Sustained team-building efforts allow teams to continuously challenge the status quo, explore new ideas, and adapt to changing circumstances.

  • Enhancing Employee Engagement and Retention:

Employees who feel a strong sense of belonging and connection to their team are more engaged and less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. By investing in ongoing team building, organisations can boost employee morale, job satisfaction, and overall engagement. This, in turn, helps reduce turnover rates and retain top talent, saving significant costs associated with recruitment and onboarding.

  • Developing Leadership Skills:

Team building provides a platform for emerging leaders to develop their skills and take on new responsibilities. Regular team-building exercises can be designed to nurture leadership qualities, encourage collaboration, and provide opportunities for individuals to step up and showcase their abilities. By empowering future leaders within the team, organisations cultivate a robust leadership pipeline.

  • Aligning with Organisational Goals:

Effective team building aligns with the broader objectives of the organisation. By revisiting team goals, strategies, and desired outcomes, team-building efforts can be tailored to address specific challenges or areas for improvement. Regular assessment of team performance and collective goals allows organisations to make necessary adjustments and ensure that team-building activities are in sync with the overall organisational vision.

  • Leveraging Technology for Remote and Hybrid Teams:

With the rise of remote and hybrid work models, team building has taken on a new dimension. Organisations must embrace technology to facilitate virtual team-building activities, ensuring that all team members feel connected and engaged regardless of their physical location. Leveraging online platforms, video conferencing tools, and collaborative software can foster effective communication, teamwork, and inclusivity in a virtual work environment.

Sustaining the momentum of team building is crucial for organisations seeking long-term success. By making team building an ongoing process, organisations can reinforce positive team dynamics, nurture innovation, enhance employee engagement, develop leadership skills, align with organisational goals, and adapt to evolving work models. Remember, team building is not a destination; it is a continuous journey of growth and improvement that fosters a resilient and thriving organisational culture.

Does your leadership style suffer from a BLIND spot? Part 2


Dr. Chris Heunis


“…most bosses are not mentally ill, but a surprising number of senior executives do have a personality disorder of some kind.” De Vries (2014:102).

We live in a world of diverse thinking that results in diverse behaviour. In some cases, opposite thinking styles attract people to one another and, in other cases, drive a wedge between people. Part 1 of this article introduced the HBDI model, researched and developed by Ned Herrmann (1996) and suggests that behavioural pathology sometimes displayed by business leaders can be understood in accordance with the HBDI thinking style.

When my business partner and I started the Team Building Institute in 1996, we were looking for an assessment instrument with the following qualities: scientifically researched and validated, accurate, practical (metaphoric), as well as the capacity to identify and manage blind spots. Our aim at TBI has always been to teach our clients to initiate and sustain metacognition: “The ability to think about and regulate one’s own thinking preferences situationally”. Therefore, our training model is known as the Team Growth Strategy.

I believe that a person that displays a very strong preference in a specific quadrant or experiences a big shift from one quadrant to another under stressful situations may suffer from a blind spot. That would lead to them being perceived as obsessive, irrational or compulsive. Herrmann describes this “shift in thinking” as the Stress Profile (see Part 3 in the series).

Four people hauled the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to court in a bid to get them to take stringent action against a surgeon (Dr. G) that had a long list of botched cosmetic operations behind him. During an interview on Carte Blanche (MNet), it became clear that the number of complications was far more than the norm. During the interview, when confronted with the above facts, his response was: “sh$t happens”. The response created a public outcry. If he perhaps reacted remorsefully, his patients may not have taken the HPCSA to court, or responded differently.

Is it possible that his thinking style indicates a strong preference for the Blue quadrant (Analytical and Logical thinking, refer to Figure 1 below), and his response is interpreted as unsympathetic and emotionally disconnected?

A surgeon requires in-depth detailed knowledge of the exact surgical procedure, deep analysis of the problem and clinical accuracy (Blue quadrant A: Figure 2). However, his client approaches him from an emotional perspective and wants to feel emotionally safe and understood (Red quadrant C). The term “alexithymia” from Greek means “no words for emotions”, according to De Vries (2014). In the case mentioned above, Dr. G clearly presents a blind spot in lacking awareness towards Red quadrant thinking (see Fig 2 below), thus perceived as emotionally impaired. His inability to interpret complex emotional signals clearly compounded his dilemma. Although people with this condition are aware of the emotional signals others display, they may be baffled and confused, or they “just don’t care”, when somebody reacts emotionally. This would lead to a complete disconnect by “shutting the door” literally and figuratively.

What could Dr. G have done differently? A person with a very strong preference in the Blue quadrant (A) will find comfort in the tangible and feel uncertain when having to deal with the intangible, like emotions. The above does not imply that these individuals do not experience emotions, or they do not know how to deal with it or don’t care when it manifests. De Vries (2014) suggests that identifying these situations and reflecting on the dynamics will increase understanding and trust in his/her ability to address the problem instead of ignoring it. We all are familiar with: “He is a great doctor but has no bedside manners”. Understanding one’s thinking style will enhance being present, also known as attunement, the interactive dimension of being present in how my thinking and subsequent behaviours affect others.

You may ask, “If I am aware of my strong preference for a specific quadrant and associated behavioural patterns, is this a blind spot?”. Certainly not. Figure 1 clearly indicates that Subject 1 favours the Blue quadrant, and the associated communication preferences for the Blue (A) quadrant are documented in Figure 2. Now that Subject 1 sees his preferred thinking style, he is made aware that his lower preferences for the other quadrants may be blind spots – not being on time (Green), insensitive to others’ feelings (Red), lacking imagination (Yellow).

Although Dr. G’s response was unacceptable, he may be oblivious to the emotional (Red quadrant) gravity of his actions.

We can learn to loosen the grip of habit and become more mindful to cultivate a presence that accommodates a whole-brain society.

You will notice a dotted line close to the solid line on the graph (Figure 1). This dotted line represents the Stress Profile. Could this hold the key to another blind spot…? Part 3 aims to explore this phenomenon.

Does your leadership style suffer from a BLIND spot?


Part 1

Dr. Chris Heunis

“…most bosses are not mentally ill, but a surprising number of senior executives do have a personality disorder of some kind.” De Vries (2014:102).

Three decades of teaching, coaching, and facilitating learning to business leaders locally and abroad allows one to identify patterns of behaviour. It is sad to witness how unintentionally destructive some business leaders become when the cloak of power and control rests on their shoulders.

This is an attempt to understand negative psychological dynamics displayed unconsciously by some business leaders. Although they do not mean to be disruptive, they certainly behave in that way. This behaviour is stress related and situational. You will notice that I refer to “some” business leaders.

We all have experienced a boss that is, sarcastic, quick tempered, a micro-manager, selfish, moody, obsessed with profits and disconnected at times.

Behavioral pathology is sometimes regarded as being far worse than some physical illnesses. We find it difficult to relate to some condition we cannot see, especially when one is “diagnosed” or labeled. It is far worse to be labeled with some metaphysical condition like schizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, than with appendicitis or scoliosis. Once you have been diagnosed with some behavioral pathology, it kind of follows you where ever you go. Human beings are in a constant quest to control their environment as well as their mental faculties. We strive to achieve stability in our world although optimal stability and control avoid us. Take “Road Rage” for example as a situational trigger. Road Rage has been accepted as part of our complex social environment, we all experience it whether being a boss or an employee. Triggers associated with Road Rage, could be a lack of respect for the rules of the road or a lack of respect for the other road user.

Do you sometimes feel out of synch with your colleagues? Seeing and interpreting things differently from them? These experiences bring about alienation.

Behavioural dysfunction is a blind spot or pathology and manifests in a person being:

  • obsessive, irrational or compulsive, selfish and inconsiderate, motivated by ambition, demanding attention (delicate sense of self), in pursuit of power and attention, not listening to advice or having a lack of emotional balance and consistency.

The following statement demands attention:

“Executives sometimes suffer from serious personality disorders, such as pathological narcissism, manic-depression, passive-aggressiveness, and emotional disconnection. When these leaders reach positions of power, they create dysfunctional organisations in which everyone is miserable.” De Vries (2014: 103)

The four personality disorders identified above display remarkable similarities to excessive dominance of specific styles of thinking. These “styles” or quadrants have been, identified and named by Herrmann (1996).  The sequence and depth in which a person accesses these quadrants presents a certain style of thinking.

“Research has shown that thinking styles directly affect behavior, performance and results. Whole Brain® Thinking acknowledges that while different tasks require different mental processes, and different people prefer different styles

of thinking, organizations will get better results when they can strategically harness the diversity of thinking styles of thinking relevant to the situation — analytical, organizational, strategic, and interpersonal (the four quadrants of thinking preferences as depicted in the Herrmann Whole Brain® Model). By applying Whole Brain® Thinking, we can learn to leverage our thinking preferences more effectively and think and act outside our preferences when necessary.

This means, that if I know what my thinking preferences are, I can act against my “nature” or natural response and focus on which thinking style the situation requires. This certainly will prevent the thoughtful leader (meta cognition) of being labelled as dysfunctional at times.

Figure 1: The Whole Brain® Model Herrmann Global (2012)

Herewith more information about thinking style assessment, to put the above into context:

“The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument® (HBDI®), which is the 120-question thinking styles assessment at the core of the Whole Brain® approach, reveals a person’s thinking preferences in the form of an HBDI® Profile. Because its premise is that we all have brains, we just use them differently, the HBDI® assessment doesn’t pigeonhole people or put them into “types.” Instead, it shows people that while there are some areas they may be less comfortable with, they aren’t limited in what they can do. It also reveals how teams and groups can work together in the most productive way by drawing on their cognitive diversity to tackle specific tasks and problems.”  Herrmann Global (2012)

PART 2 of this discussion will identify behavioural patterns associated with certain thinking preferences that are socially unacceptable.

Building Strong Teams: The Key to Success in the Workplace

The importance of team building and why it’s crucial for businesses to invest time and resources in this area

By Robbie Verkuyl, Director, Team Building Institute

Team building has become an essential aspect of many successful organisations. A company’s ability to build a strong team can have a significant impact on its overall success. A team that works well together can increase productivity, create a positive work environment, and ultimately achieve business goals. A study conducted by Deloitte found that organisations that prioritise team building have higher levels of employee engagement and productivity. The study found that employees who feel connected to their colleagues are more likely to be engaged in their work and feel a sense of purpose.

Another study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology found that team-building activities can improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover rates. The study found that employees who participate in team-building activities report higher levels of job satisfaction and are less likely to leave their organisation.

In this article, we will explore the importance of team building and why it’s crucial for businesses to invest time and resources in this area.

Creating sense of unity

One of the most significant benefits of team building is that it creates a sense of unity among team members. Team building activities are designed to bring individuals together and promote cooperation and collaboration. By participating in activities that require teamwork and communication, team members learn to work together more effectively. This sense of unity can carry over into the workplace, resulting in better collaboration, improved communication, and a more productive team.

Improve communication and collaboration

Research has also shown that team-building activities can improve communication and collaboration within a team. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that team-building activities can help to improve communication, trust, and collaboration among team members.

Developing trust

Another advantage of team building is that it can help individuals develop trust in one another. Trust is a critical component of any successful team. When team members trust one another, they are more likely to share ideas, provide feedback, and support each other. Trust also helps to create a positive work environment where individuals feel safe and supported, leading to improved job satisfaction and motivation.

Team building can also help to identify and address potential issues within a team. Often, when working in a group, there may be conflicts or communication breakdowns that impede progress. Team building activities can help to identify these issues and provide an opportunity for team members to work through them. Addressing these issues head-on can prevent them from escalating and becoming more significant problems in the future.

Moreover, team-building activities can promote creativity and innovation. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that teams that engage in creative problem-solving activities are more likely to generate innovative solutions.

Generating new ideas

Working in a team can help individuals to generate new ideas and explore new ways of doing things. Team building activities that involve problem-solving, brainstorming, and idea generation can help to stimulate creative thinking and lead to innovative solutions. This can be particularly beneficial in industries where innovation is crucial for success.

Promoting positive work culture

Team building activities can also promote a positive work culture. A positive work culture is one where individuals feel valued, respected, and supported. When team members feel appreciated, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. Team building activities that promote positivity and gratitude can help to foster a positive work culture, which can ultimately lead to increased job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

Finally, team-building activities can be fun! When team members enjoy spending time together and participating in team-building activities, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. Fun team-building activities can also help to relieve stress and promote work-life balance, leading to improved mental health and overall well-being.


In conclusion, team building is a crucial aspect of any successful organisation. By prioritising team building, organisations can set themselves up for success and create a workplace where individuals feel valued, respected, and supported.


Team Building in Education


At the Team Building Institute, we recognise the pivotal role that team building plays in the field of education. As educators, you understand that the learning environment is not solely about disseminating knowledge; it also involves fostering meaningful connections between teachers and students. Our tailored team-building programs for educational institutions have been carefully crafted to address the unique challenges faced by educators and learners alike.

Through interactive and enjoyable activities, our team-building initiatives aim to create a positive and supportive atmosphere. By encouraging participants to collaborate in various tasks and challenges, we promote effective communication and cooperation. These activities help build trust and understanding, ultimately leading to a more enriching learning experience.

Our team-building workshops also focus on empowering educators to embrace innovative teaching methods that cater to diverse learning styles. By understanding each other’s strengths and working styles, educators can leverage this knowledge to tailor their teaching approaches and create a more inclusive learning environment.

Furthermore, our team-building programs extend beyond the classroom. We also offer workshops for school staff and administrators to enhance teamwork among faculty members. When educators work harmoniously together, it positively impacts the overall culture and elevates the quality of education provided to students.

By partnering with the Team Building Institute, educational institutions can expect to see a transformation in their learning environments. Teachers will be equipped with the necessary tools to create cohesive and supportive learning communities, while students will thrive in an atmosphere that nurtures their individual growth and collective progress. Together, let’s create a brighter future through the power of team building in education.

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