What is Team Building? Explaining Traditional Culture and Its Compatibility with Foreigners

The term “team building” is something we hear a lot about these days. What does it mean? How can it be used in your own team or in your company? Do you have any thoughts on this?


In this article, we will explain team building, touching on its benefits and cautions, as well as introduce traditional Japanese culture and team building, which may seem surprising.

What is team building? If you are wondering what team building is, or if you are considering team building that includes foreigners, please read to the end.


What is Team Building?

Team building is an approach to building a team that maximizes the skills, abilities, and experience that each individual possesses to achieve their goals.

In a traditional team, a single leader gives instructions to members to achieve better performance, but this type of team building is on the decline as the environment surrounding organizations and companies changes.

Team building, the idea that teams need to maximize results, is a new idea that will create the future, as it allows for the use of individuality and experience.


We collectively refer to team building as including training and on-the-job communication to give concrete form to this idea.


Difference between team building and teamwork

A similar term to team building is teamwork. Is there a difference between the two?


Teamwork refers to the members’ willingness to cooperate. It is used when a small number of people work on a specific project, etc. It is a collaborative process in which the members complement each other’s so-called weak points or weaknesses.


Team building, in contrast, is about building a team and maximizing the strengths of individuals. The main idea is to create a team that makes the most of individuality, with each member required to be proactive as well as cooperative in order to maximize the project’s objectives.


Benefits of Team Building

What are the actual benefits of team building? Here are four benefits.

Increased communication volume
Generating new ideas
Leadership development of new employees and mid-career professionals


Increased communication volume

Team building naturally increases the amount of communication among team members because they have a common understanding of their goals.

This reduces omissions of reporting, communication, and consultation among superiors and subordinates, enabling smooth organizational management. In addition, the knowledge and know-how possessed by each party will be shared, leading to a reduction in the time required to resolve issues.



Teams whose members are highly motivated tend to have higher results.

Team building motivates each team member to utilize his or her knowledge and individuality to the best of his or her ability, which is different from a team that mainly waits for instructions.

If the goal is achieved, it will give a sense that one’s ability has been useful, and this can create a virtuous cycle of even greater motivation.


Generating new ideas

Team building allows for exposure to a variety of opinions and ideas to create new ideas.

When teams of employees with different values and perspectives engage in teambuilding, they develop a flow of respect for the opinions of others. This respect for others leads to the creation of new ideas and the refinement of each individual’s creativity.

This is a benefit of team building, as it can result in major innovations throughout the company.


Leadership development of new employees and mid-career professionals

Team building is also a useful concept for training new employees and developing mid-level leadership.

New hires and younger employees often lack communication, and this needs to be addressed. In addition, mid-career employees are expected to take on leadership roles, which will test their ability to build bridges with younger employees and organize the work site. Team building can solve these problems.

When supervisors and subordinates, newcomers and mid-career employees share the same goals and communicate with each other, they will think about what they can do and each will take their own initiative.


Team building instantly lightens the mood of the team, improves motivation, and promotes positive thinking.


Notes on Team Building

We have introduced the benefits and other aspects of team building, but there are a few caveats to team building. We will explain each of them in detail.

Setting Clear Goals
Role Segmentation
Acceptance of values

Setting Clear Goals

Clearly defined team goals are critical to team building.

If these goals are too vague or abstract, or if they are not well understood by the team members, it will be difficult for the team to achieve its individual potential even if team building is conducted.

By setting clear goals for each of these, such as status, results, and actions, the power of team building can be demonstrated.


Role Segmentation

It is important for the team to have specific roles for each member in order for the team to achieve results.

If you are going to bring members together, you need to identify their different roles and experiences and clarify each person’s role.

Once the major goals of the project have been determined, the processes necessary to achieve those goals are assigned. Members are assigned to each process, but again, each must have clear goals.

Fulfilling goals in the appropriate roles will make it easier for the team to achieve its goals.


Acceptance of values

Since members with different values belong to a team, the leader and members must understand each person’s way of thinking.

Teams that do not make progress in tolerating values may experience a loss of cohesion and motivation, which can hinder their work.

Team building is needed to recognize the natural fact that each of us is different.

For more information on the difference in values, please also refer to the article ” Just guessing is not enough! The difference and fusion of Japanese manners and those of the rest of the world.


Compatibility of traditional Japanese culture and team building

Nowadays, more and more foreign companies are interested in learning about Japanese culture, hospitality and Japanese courtesy. Japan is recognized by foreign countries as a country with excellent hospitality, and this reputation is very high.

At the root of this is the Japanese culture of tea ceremony and flower arrangement, which is a perfect way to learn the spirit of Japanese hospitality.

By learning hospitality through traditional Japanese culture, rather than superficially as classroom learning, a deeper understanding can be expected.

By going through a cultural experience that is completely different from their usual one, they can learn to analyze themselves objectively and learn the importance of courtesy and respect for others.

Experiencing Japanese culture and team building go hand in hand very well, and are recommended as training programs from other countries.


Traditional culture suitable for team building

Some traditional cultures are particularly suited for team building. This section describes some traditional cultures that are suited for team building.

flower arrangement
Japanese drum


flower arrangement

The term “flower biz” is a hot topic, and it refers to the active incorporation of greenery and flowers into the workplace environment. Plants have a relaxing effect, so it is believed that exposure to greenery and flowers in the workplace will soothe the mind and improve efficiency.

From this perspective, we recommend incorporating flower arrangement training as part of the team building process.

Ikebana flower arranging is based on the “philosophy of ikebana” using live flowers. It is a uniquely Japanese philosophy that uses aesthetics of balance and subtraction to create works of art by utilizing the beauty of nature.

Flower arrangements are ideal for team building because they use the aesthetic of subtraction, whereas floral arrangements are about filling in the gaps, which is a uniquely Japanese way of thinking.

While viewing each other’s finished works, they can rediscover their creativity and compositional skills.


For more information on flower arrangement, please refer to ” Why are flower arrangement and ikebana classes so popular with foreigners? How to choose a class to experience flower arrangement! and ” List of Ikebana Schools and 3 Schools Recommended for Foreigner Experiences!


Japanese drum

Taiko is a traditional culture that can be experienced by small or large groups, and is ideal for training and team building.

The sense of unity created when drummers beat the drums at the same time has the effect of raising the atmosphere of the entire team, and communication is created through music.

Normally the act of hitting something hard is unsocial, but it is permissible in the presence of taiko drums. Striking the taiko hard refreshes the body and mind and helps to relieve stress.

If you prepare the happi coats and hachimakis that foreigners like, you can dress up like a Japanese person and have a good memory.

Taiko training and team building are also popular corporate activities.

For more information on taiko, please refer to the article ” Wadaiko Experience for Foreigners! Please refer to the article ” Cautions and Reasons for Popularity and Facilities where you can experience taiko” as well.



Food-themed team building is universal, but sushi experiences are particularly popular in Japan.

Many foreigners want to try their hand at making sushi, the soul food of Japan, and it is one of the things they would like to experience during their visit to Japan. The appeal of the experience of making sushi is that it proceeds in a friendly manner, and the enjoyable experience becomes a memorable one.

Another advantage is that it saves time and can be combined with lunch.

Overseas training programs often pack a lot of training into a limited amount of time. The Sushi Nigiri experience is ideal for overseas training programs with a packed schedule, as it does not require a lot of time, only about two hours.

In addition, since the sushi is made directly and eaten as lunch, starting around 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. saves time in traveling. Sushi is a uniquely Japanese culture. As one of the traditional cultures, it is one of the recommended ways to incorporate sushi into team building.

For sushi experience, please see ” Sushi experience to entertain foreigners! Where can I experience sushi and what should I be aware of?” for more information.



In this article, we have described team building in detail and discussed its benefits.

The combination of Japanese culture and team building may seem surprising, but with the right ideas, you can create a memorable team building experience.

Motenas Japan plans and proposes training and team building programs that can be enjoyed by foreigners.

If you have any questions about training or team building, including for foreigners, please contact us !