Karl Bimshas wrote a blog entry, Need Help? Be Specific, on team-building and team communication. My experience with team-building mirrors his closely. The activities were generally fun and got us communicating — but I am not sure those exercises left a measurable impact on myself and my colleagues.
But even if the team-building games did not turn us into high-performance business machines, they had another effect. Team-building events, and off-sites in general, get everyone out of their normal comfort range. They let people do things they normally do not, in a place that they usually do not exist. In such a change of status quo, co-workers can learn new things about one another and gain a new sense of camaraderie — if only by a small amount.
What have your team-building days and offsites been like?