Team Building: Cook the books this end of financial year

Teamwork has been with us since the Stone Age. First, it was used for protection (against animal attacks); then it improved results (lone Mammoth hunting hadn’t been working out…); and productivity also got a boost when it was applied to building shelter. Finally, it took another turn – into tribal camaraderie – when people began living, working and cooking together, with shared values and goals.

Sound familiar? Yup, it seems those Neanderthals were onto something, and actually gave rise to the tribes we see in modern workplaces. Teams working together for a common outcome.

Teams are the linchpins of business. And the oil that makes those pins work? Is teamwork. One doesn’t work without the other. So, what does great teamwork look like and where do you get some of it?

First, let’s clear up a few things. Like tribes, great teams are built on one thing: people. And teamwork is not people being able to do each other’s job or everyone doing the same thing. No. Teamwork is when you work synergistically. It optimises every member’s strengths by bringing out their unique individual bests. Those individual talents are then complimented by the strengths of other members and the team results are maximised, as a whole.

Why does it work?

1.    Teamwork brings together people from different backgrounds and levels of experience – often creating new opportunities for learning and personal development.

2.   A team that works well together understands each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

3.   Teamwork encourages members to accept one another, expect from each other and be open to sharing ideas.

4.   Great working teams share common goals, objectives or values. Thus creating trust and a sense of belonging.

5.    Teamwork heightens communication skills and encourages open discussion.

Yes, over the centuries tribe-teams have worked together to feed, shelter and protect each other. But sometimes it’s hard to grasp exactly what successful ones look and feel like. One of the best places to see great teamwork ‘in action’ is the Channel 10 TV program, MasterChef. In team challenges, starring-solo-efforts are not lauded. Instead, the team must rely on one another – working together – to win.

Just like the workplace, MasterChef challenges progressively become more difficult. In equal measure though, team members become increasingly proficient at dividing up tasks, so the most qualified people (i.e. talented in that realm) complete a task to maximise the chances of winning. And yes, teamwork always wins the day.

Mexican cooking class

RedBalloon experience: Mexican cooking class

Cooking up a team storm?

Sadly, that type of teamwork can’t be bought, borrowed or stolen. It needs to be built – from the ground up. But the right team building activities can definitely help you along the way… and they don’t always have to be serious.

Tried, tested and proven (plus, wildly popular), a RedBalloon cooking class can entice even the MasterChef-in-hiding from their dark corner. Minus the serious stuff and elimination, it’s a fun hands-on event where everyone’s encouraged to get involved, have a go and cook up a storm for everyone to enjoy.

More often than not, there’s more laughter and ‘tasting’ than serious culinary efforts, but by working and learning together, your team builds trust, understanding and may even see a side of each other that they didn’t know existed. Choose from a huge range of cuisines, including Asian, Italian, Spanish, Moroccan, BBQ or Indian – even beer brewing or pie and tart baking! RedBalloon can tailor a class to suit your needs, palate and group size. One thing is for sure, your team will leave with a full tummy, sore sides from laughter and… a real hunger for great teamwork!


Di Mace is a freelance story-making brand writer, strategist and purpose-digger. She turns boring brand messages into content and stories that matter. Find her at