In the heyday of the late 1990s, teambuilding events were all about retaining good people, says Dick Eaton, founder of Leapfrog Innovators, Medford, Mass. (www.teamdevelop ment.com). “Now, it's all about ROI. How can the event demonstrate value and build my business?” says Eaton.

In addition to working with annual meetings, retreats, and product launches, Leapfrog has developed teambuilding for companies that have recently merged, showing former enemies how to play nice. Construction exercises are always successful, he says, and community service projects are increasingly popular.

Here's a list of key questions that Eaton and his team use to help build an effective teambuilding program.

  1. What is the meeting's goal?
  2. How big is the group?
  3. How much time is allotted for the teambuilding? Where will it be positioned on the agenda?
  4. What is the environment (indoors, resort, urban)?
  5. Give a brief company history and the current mood or climate.
  6. Explain attendee demographics.
  7. What is the desired tone? Celebratory? Get-to-know-you? Or a learning activity?
  8. How will you judge the event's success?