Team building activities get a bad rap. And that’s not entirely unwarranted.
If you’ve ever participated in a company-mandated team building activity, you probably know what we mean. Poor planned corporate team building activities can be awkward, boring and out-of-date (think blindfolded trust-falls) making them feel like dreaded mandatory tasks rather than enjoyable outings.
On the flip side of the coin, if you’re a leader within your organization, you probably understand the importance of employee retreats, off-site meetings and team building exercises in improving the morale of a business as well as how challenging they can be to do well.
Here are 5 tips to choose a team building activity your team will actually take to.
Understand What You’re Trying to Get Out of It
The first step in a successful team building activity is to understand your goal. Are you trying to break the ice and introduce strangers to one another? Are you trying to bring an established group closer together? Or are you, for example, trying to inject some creativity into a team before they embark on a strategic planning initiative?
A clear understanding of what you want to achieve from your team building activity will help you pick the right one. If a team building activity is part of a bigger conference or event, it’s important to ensure the spirit of the activity is aligned with the bigger picture.
Consider Who Will Be Participating
It might seem intuitive, but it can be extremely challenging to pick a team building activity that appeals to an entire group. As the event organizer, it’s imperative that you understand the size and the demographic of the group when you’re choosing what to do.
It’s also essential to make sure participants are physically able to do the activity. Nobody wants to feel embarrassed in front of their colleagues so ensuring everyone can participate is key.
Less is Sometimes Much More
Believe it or not, less can be more when it comes to the structure of team building activities. Traditionally there is a ton of pressure in planning team building events to implement a thorough itinerary of structured activities that correlate directly to tangible outcomes, results or learnings.
But for an established group who already know one another well, the simple act of getting colleagues together in a setting other than the office can do wonders for team morale.
For the right group, the best team-building can be a shared experience that gets people out of the environment in which they typically interact and into a different one – white-water rafting, zip-lining, doing a tour. Experiences that the group can talk about later bring value by creating comradery in a new context.
This ties right back to understanding the goal of your team building activity – it won’t be applicable to all situations and may be a tough sell to the powers that be within your company. But for the right team, the “less is more” approach can help create the right activity.
Proactive vs. Reactive Team Building
Team building activities are often approached from a proactive perspective, with initiatives intended to help team members hone valuable skills like collaboration and communication for future implementation.
But you can also host reactive team building activities to celebrate success fueled by the real-world implementation of these skills.
Think of it this way. When a team wins a championship, what do they do? They celebrate! That’s because celebrating their accomplishments helps reinforce their comradery and allows them to share the joy of victory together, in turn motivating them to win even more.
You can approach team building the same way. Sometimes there’s as much bonding in cutting loose and celebrating a recent success as a team as there is in conducting activities that focus on developing skills.
Don’t Be Afraid to Relocate
Your team building event doesn’t have to be a big production. You can make any team-building activity feel like an experience if you approach it the right way.
Even something as small as a seminar can feel like an exciting outing if it takes place away from the office. Rather than staying in the same old environment that your team is used to, consider renting an event space to host your team building initiative. An exciting new environment can make even that blindfolded trust fall feel more interesting.
At iQ Office Suites, we offer contemporary, elegant and modern venues that feature beautiful interior design, functional and flexible layouts and intimate, refined settings that are perfect for everything from office parties to team building events to AGMs.
Team building activities are ultimately about encouraging collaboration, teamwork and allowing colleagues to connect in a different setting than they’re used to in order to help people see each other in a different light. Deviating from the traditional norms of team building can help make activities enjoyable rather than feeling like dreaded mandatory musts, in turn delivering even stronger results.