Houston expert shares tips on implementing team building to promote productivity

Team building enhances an already strong, successful team, allowing colleagues to deepen bonds and get to know each other on a personal level. Photo via Getty Images

Filling positions within an organization can be a challenge. However, finding the right people – who work together well to elevate the business – is an even bigger challenge.

When everyone is the right fit and comes together to accomplish quality work, there is increased profitability, engagement and productivity. Team building enhances an already strong, successful team, allowing colleagues to deepen bonds and get to know each other on a personal level.

Though team building can uplift a functioning team, it is not the cure for dysfunction. If the team is not communicating, experiences poor performance or has personality conflicts, among other issues, team building is not the prescription. These kinds of foundational challenges must be addressed before team building activities can serve to elevate the team.

Team building is effectively used to improve the performance of the team and create a more positive, productive work environment for already working teams.

To effectively reap all the benefits of team building for functional groups, managers or directors should include a wide range of activities, create a space for honest communication, and focus on the well-being of the employees.

Team building activities for everyone

When choosing the activities for the team, it should be tailored to meet a specific goal. This could be as simple as getting to know each other better on a personal level or creative/interactive teamwork. To secure interest from team members, ask the group what activities work best for their unique dynamic and abilities. Leadership must ensure the team-building activity is inclusive of everyone, and asking will boost morale, collaboration and wholehearted participation.

Team-building activities should have elements of fun built in that apply to the group’s roles within the organization, but this creativity should not mean added work. For instance, collaborative problem-solving activities can instruct the team on how to effectively work together when given the opportunity to understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses and how they can achieve their goals as a unit. This moment is not the time to insert a project and call it a team-building activity.

Create a space for open and honest conversations

Debriefs after team-building activities are important. These sessions allow leadership to know if their goals were clearly communicated, and it allows employees to express what they felt worked, what did not work, what was learned, and how the activity can be applied in daily work interactions.

Discussing the activity helps give space for communication breakdowns that may have occurred within the team and encourages them to learn how to better communicate with each other. Practicing how to be an active listener and how to give constructive feedback will benefit the group long-term to reduce misunderstandings and conflict within the workplace. When employees feel valued and supported during these conversations, they are more likely to be engaged with their peers and the overall organizational goals.

Spotlight the significance of well-being

Many businesses have been doing more work with fewer employees due to the tight labor market. Savvy business leaders will communicate the importance of unplugging for team building activities, which can help underscore its significance and the engaging activity. Some team building activities could even incorporate stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation.

Strong working teams will likely appreciate employers showing empathy and concern regarding their mental health and welcome a chance to unplug with colleagues. When team-building activities incorporate a well-being component, it can help team members develop a better understanding of one another to aid in the achievement of common goals. Team members who are given the opportunity to disconnect from their demanding work life can return to work rejuvenated and invigorated.

Team building is a successful approach to reinforce positive relationships within the company, making a space for genuine bonding and connection. Business leaders should work to find inclusive activities to boost team morale, create a more enjoyable workplace, build bridges for better communication and increase employee engagement. Including team-building activities that cater to everyone, create conversations and focus on employee well-being will elevate the team dynamic and the overall company performance.


Karen Leal is performance specialist with Houston-based Insperity, a provider of human resources offering a suite of scalable HR solutions available in the marketplace.

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Originally expected to raise $150 million, Mercury's latest fund is the largest raised to date. Photo via

A Houston venture capital firm has announce big news of its latest fund.

Mercury, founded in 2005 to invest in startups not based in major tech hubs on either coast, closed its latest fund, Mercury Fund V, at an oversubscribed amount of $160 million. Originally expected to raise $150 million, Fund V is the largest fund Mercury has raised to date.

“We are pleased by the substantial support we received for Fund V from both new and existing investors and thank them for placing their confidence in Mercury,” Blair Garrou, co-founder and managing director of Mercury Fund, says in a news release. “Their support is testament to the strength of our team, proven investment strategy, and the compelling opportunities for innovation that exist in cities across America.”

The fund's limited partners include new and existing investors, including endowments at universities, foundations, and family offices. Mercury reports that several of these LPs are based in the central region of the United States where Mercury invests. California law firm Gunderson Dettmer was the fund formation counsel for Mercury.

Fresh closed, Fund V has already made investments in several companies, including:

  • Houston-based RepeatMD, a patient engagement and fintech platform for medical professionals with non-insurance reimbursed services and products
  • Houston and Cheyenne Wyoming-based financial infrastructure tech platform Brassica, which raised its $8 million seed round in April
  • Polco, a Madison, Wisconsin-based polling platform for local governments, school districts, law enforcement, and state agencies
  • Chicago-based MSPbots, a AI-powered process automation platform for small and mid-sized managed service providers

Mercury's investment model is described as "operationally-focused," and the firm works to provide its portfolio companies with the resources needed to grow rapidly and sustainably. Since 2013, the fund has contributed to creating more than $9 billion of enterprise value across its portfolio of over 50 companies.

“Over the past few years there has been a tremendous migration of talent, wealth and know-how to non-coastal venture markets and this surge of economic activity has further accelerated the creation of extraordinary new companies and technology," says Garrou. "As the first venture capital firm to have recognized the attractiveness of these incredible regions a dozen years ago, we are excited to continue sourcing new opportunities to back founders and help these cities continue to grow and thrive.”

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