Three Characteristics of Effective Team Building Goals

You need team-building goals

You’ve done your research and you’re ready for your workplace to have a stellar team building event. But have you set realistic and effective team building goals? Have you set any team building goals at all?

Every team building activity or event that you hold needs to have a solid set of goals behind it. Without goals, little will be accomplished, your event will likely be a waste of time, and the chances of your employees actually becoming interested in its success are slim to nil.

Luckily, setting effective team building goals really isn’t difficult at all. It all starts with sitting down and actually thinking about them for a moment. Let’s look at three characteristics of team building goals that will help make your next event as successful and effective as possible.


Every single team building event needs to have a goal that is specific and not general. When the goal is too broad, too general, it makes it harder to achieve. And a hard-to-achieve goal doesn’t work well when you are trying to motivate your employees to do their best and improve certain skill sets.

Instead of making lofty and vague goals like improving communication or trust, set your goals in real-world terms. Have an actual concrete, achievable goal that relates to your employees performance in the activity that you choose. For instance, have them perform a specific activity or game and strive to beat a particular record or come out on top. The competition that springs up from an event like this will more often than not translate into improved communication, increase morale, and all of those other things you might be aiming for through your activity.

Examples of a team building activities with specific, measurable goals are events like Build-a-bike, the famous Marshmellow Challenge, or a MapDash scavenger hunt. It’s even better if there’s a clear way to collect data on teams’ progress during the event (check out our reporting dashboard).


The team building goal that you set needs to be challenging. This will motivate your team members to step up to the occasion and put in their very best performance. However, a goal that goes beyond challenging, will do the opposite – it’s a fine balance.

Every team building activity should provide a good challenge. Instead of giving a blanket statement to your employees like ‘do your best’ or ‘give it your best shot,’ you should have specific goals (see above) that will give them something to shoot for.

A challenging team building activity should be one that is engaging. Nebulous activities like trust falls and icebreaker games don’t really have challenging goals, or even goals at all. When teams are put under (moderate) stress, their individual character and ability to work together is tested.

Think: something physically active, or mentally challenging. Add in pressurizing constraints (like a tight time limit or scarce resources). In our MapDash events we also try to ensure that each member of the team is given a specific role that provides an additional dimension: knowledge and/or skill constraints.


Perhaps the most important characteristic of an effective team building goal is one that is fun to work on. Your team members are not going to be engaged in an event that is too much like work or “homework”. If you can disguise an insightful, meaningful team building event as a “fun day out”, you’ll be much more likely to have your team fully engaged, giving it their all, and looking forward to the next one – your employees will actually be excited and motivated to take part in the event.

Team building is supposed to be fun. Your employees do enough work already. When you drag them into something else, it should be something that allows them to let loose and interact with each other in a stress-free way. It should increase their morale.

This is why games – like MapDash – are good team building activities. They are games that get you outside of the office. What’s more fun than getting to go outside and play during an otherwise normal workday?

All in All

At the end of the day, setting a team building goal that focuses on fun, while remaining specific and challenging, yet realistic and performance-based, will add significantly to the outcome of the team building event.

We have built MapDash from the ground-up with all this in mind. It’s been designed to increase communication, builds camaraderie, and foster creativity. It also allows your team members to get outside, get moving, and have fun. Better yet, because of our unique reporting dashboard, specific goals are easily set, and performance easily measured (without team-members feeling “measured”!)

So the next time that you plan a team building activity, make sure to give it a little extra thought. Don’t just rush into it. Think it through and place specific emphasis on making it effective and its goals attainable, both from an employee’s point of view and from your own.

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