As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q1/Q2 2016 Issue
Back in the day, using exotic executive retreats was in vogue to encourage teambuilding. Such adventures often included rock-climbing, fire-walking and “trust falls” to build a collaborative team approach.
Today’s executives do not seem to have the time or financial inclination to spend an organization’s precious resources on week-long pep rallies. Instead, research reported by Harvard Business Review indicates that a much more mundane and time-saving activity can be just as effective: eating together.
The research, conducted by Kevin Kniffin of Cornell University, indicates that “Eating is such a primal behavior that it can be extraordinarily meaningful.”
Face-to-face interactions that involve eating have a particular kind of intimacy that cannot be duplicated by more adventurous teambuilding exercises. (This is the precise approach taken by CFO Studio in its Executive Dinner Series.)
So what does this research mean for collaboration and building a team-oriented company? When properly managed so as to discourage the formation of exclusive, insular cliques, setting aside the time, space, and resources for communal eating can be the best investment a company can make.