I am in the midst of planning a meeting that is roughly four hours each day of meetings, and another four hours of team building. Now, the “team building” part of the meeting includes going to a sports center, where our insanely competitive field leaders will be turned loose to engage with each other in a variety of competitive sports.
This is a group of people that get along pretty well on their own, so I never mind giving them an opportunity to bond a little bit more. But if we send them out to bike race against each other, or to see who can climb the rock the fastest, is that really team building? Or can it be tied back to the business a little more successfully, and mean something a little more than just a game between co-workers?
Tie the aspects of the game to the company’s brand – My own company is, in fact, going through a rebranding effort right now, and this session of team building is running adjacent to that initiative. The branding initiative includes the idea of removing hassles from our customers’ shopping experiences with us. So, part of our team building at the sports complex includes an obstacle course where you have to “remove the hassles” in order to succeed. We can’t think of anything more appropriate considering the circumstances – this will be “hassle” in a very literal fashion!
Use team building to learn how others approach work – Have you ever tried one of those “locked in a room” things, where you have to work together to gain freedom? Try taking a personality assessment like Myers-Briggs or Strengthfinders first. Review the results of the assessments as a group, and then go get yourselves locked in that room. Assign duties and responsibilities based on those assessments, and watch each other work. Once you’re free, review everyone’s contributions and see how they match their personality assessments.
Use team building to understand your company’s products – Separate teams into groups of three or four people, and give them a pile of your company’s products. Have the teams assemble something with those products that will protect an egg from being broken when dropped from a high height. If your company’s products aren’t conducive to protecting an egg, think about something else you can do with them.
Use team building to give back to the community – Most companies are somehow involved with a charity or a cause. Help teach your company’s mission and values by donating time as a team to working at a charity. Or, if your company isn’t currently affiliated with a particular cause, get your teams together with a local bike shop and build bikes for children in need. Building bikes can be complicated and require team work on its own!
Team building is never a waste of time, but you can definitely make it mean more than just a couple of hours of fun. Drive home important information about fellow team members, company mission, company products or giving back to the community at the same time, and the lessons will be twice as rewarding!
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