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I recently read an article that posed the question “is team building a waste of time?” In the article, one of the problems stated was that the exercises did not translate into their current project and issues. This is a key component when identifying the right team building program for your group.
Some folks think team building is heading to the bar after work for a few drinks and chicken wings or playing putt putt golf. If you are looking for a fun social activity, then those may be great choices for you. If there are issues or skills in your team that you want to build upon, then kicking back a few beers will not improve communication skills and accountability. When searching for a team building program, its important to understand what you want the end result to be. Team building can mean different things to different people. For some, team building means fun, interactive activities. For others, team building connotes a process in which people address the issues that are inhibiting a positive and productive work environment.
Prior to any team building intervention, you need to have a clear understanding of your expectations. You may wish to consider those behaviors that you believe the group needs to Stop, Start and Continue.
If your team is not getting along, morale is down, everyone is overworked and annoyed with each other, and you decide to take part in a treasure hunt, you won’t end up solving any of your team’s issues. Think of it this way. You go to a wedding and sit at a table with family members who you typically don’t get along with. You’ll be cordial during the reception but when you are back home, your feelings toward your family wouldn’t have changed.
So why team building? Because team building can be high-energy, engaging and it can target specific issues and goals for your team or it can just be a day of fun.
Believe it or not, the holidays are already just around the corner and my favorite holiday is first on the list - Halloween! Halloween is the perfect opportunity to gather your team and take part in a fantastic team building activity called Movie Mayhem! Imagine your CEO dressed up as the Big Bad Wolf in Granny’s pajamas or picture your co-workers dressed as pirates swashbuckling it up on the promenade. Then aargh ye teammatees, Movie Mayhem is callin’!
Teams begin the activity learning about the different roles on a movie set and important part they play in the production, much like a team where you work. Then, the fun begins. Grab hold of your video camera, identify your team’s movie genre and take to your private room to create your script. You’ll then dive into your box of costumes and props and the fun and filming really gets cooking! Movie Mayhem is like no other team building activity. How often do you get to dress up as a cowboy or a medieval knight at work?
Once each team wraps up shooting and editing their movies, everyone will gather together for the gala movie premiers. Grab hold of some popcorn and treats, sit back and prepare to laugh yourself silly! After the Movie Mayhem movies are shown, the award ceremony begins and everyone will vote for awards like Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Funniest Character, Most Ridiculous Actor and many more categories. We’ll work with you to create some insane categories too!
Everyone can get candy at Halloween. Wouldn’t you rather walk away with an “Oscar” statue?
Be sure to check out the great article where co-owners of Teambuilding, Inc. Merrick Rosenberg & Jeff Backal are featured regarding teams and team building. The article is in the April 2011 issue of South Jersey Biz.
New York City is a fascinating place to visit. Besides taking in a Broadway show or eating a ginormous deli sandwich, popular tourist sites to see are the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Grand Central Station and the American Museum of Natural History. NYC is also a fantastic host to some of the best team building opportunities in the country. Teams can solve clues around Grand Central Station as they take part in CSI on Location or they can utilize hand-held GPS units for a GeoQuest treasure hunt throughout Central Park. The Bronx zoo is another great location for a treasure hunt called ZooQuest.
Looking for a fun, outdoor philanthropic team building idea? NYC is the perfect backdrop for Kindness Wins. Take to the streets and earn good karma points as you help others. Kindness Wins provides a timeout from thinking of ourselves and turns the focus on helping others. Imagine for a moment that your group spends a half-day together putting smiles on the faces of fellow team members and total strangers. More kindness equals more points.
When the weather gets a bit chilly, you can take your team building adventures indoors. ClueQuest is an indoor treasure hunt at the American Museum of Natural History where you and your team can explore exhibits you may have seen in the Night at the Museum movie such as dinosaurs, the Easter Island statue and Teddy Roosevelt.
If going to a venue like the museum is not an option because you’re going to be in a conference room, then really any of the team building programs that Teambuilding, Inc. offers would be a great idea, such as:
In the city that never sleeps, the possibilities for team building programs are endless.
Have you ever heard the expression, “I hate team building”?
Throughout my 20 year career in the team building world, I have heard this expression numerous times (of course, this is before they work with my organization). More often than not, team building participants love their experience as team building is a lot of fun and helps develop necessary skills such as; trust, communication, team bonding, and breaking down silos... But, even when a very small percentage of people make this statement, it concerns me as an owner of a national team building firm. So, I decided to probe a little bit further.
Over the past few years when people made comments to me like “I hate team building” or “not another team building program,” I asked them to elaborate on their comment. What I found interesting during this informal study was that everyone answered my question in a similar fashion, and it went something like this:
“My company has us do wacky team building programs. At first they were fun, but now I just don't have the patience for more of these touchy feely games. Enough is enough. We don’t learn anything and it just wastes everyone’s time.”
Typically, the individuals that respond like this are from companies that imposed team building activities on their employees without really determining the needs of their people.
If you want your staff to have a positive team building experience that helps them improve their group dynamics, I would suggest the following:
1. Assess the needs of your team – Without conducting a needs assessment (such a our Team Effectiveness Inventory), how do you know the real issues that need to be addressed during the team building program?
2. Combine developmental programs with fun team events – For example, one month do a program such as Why We Click With Some And Clank With Others (which is a developmental session on adapting your communication style to create a more powerful relationship with those on your team) and a few months later do a program like GeoQuest (a fun team bonding treasure hunt using hand held GPS units).
3. Don’t overdo team building – If you are implementing more than six team building events during a year, it will dilute the effectiveness of each program.
These are just a few suggestions. To learn more, I would recommend reading Team Building? 12 Questions to Help you Make the Right Decision by Merrick Rosenberg, Chief Learning Officer and President of Team Builders Plus.
A Funergizer’s client participated in one of our DIY activities for a holiday party. They were looking for a training company to deliver a team building program for them. Having a lower budget they were unable to hire a training company, but still wanted to offer a fun event for their employees. After discovering the Funergizer’s DIY product line at The Training Catalog, they were pleased with the cost effective team building activities.
“We then went for the DIY Funergizers Race Around the World activity. It was so much fun! Our staff loved it so much we are now looking at what Funergizer activity we can use again,” commented a Human Resources Manager at Grant Thornton.
They offer several programs that range from Team Olympics to Game Show Trivia to even a Papparazzi Challenge. The activities give the client all step-by-step guides and instructions as well as “how to” videos with a money back guarantee. After clients experience one of these team bonding events, we always receive rave reviews about the quality of the materials.
A hippie, a renegade and team of misfits just won the World Series. I am by far not the biggest baseball fan but hearing a reporter on the radio refer to the San Francisco Giants this way caught my attention. The reporter could not figure out how this team just won the most coveted title in baseball. My question for the reporter is: What is he expecting? A team made up of automatons?Whether on a baseball field, a board room or in cubicle world, teams are made up diverse styles and we should embrace, appreciate and value the difference in everyone.
Think about your work environment for a moment. If you don’t like where you work then picture yourself in your happy place and then come back to your work environment. Who is the risk-taker, most independent and direct person on your team? Do you have one? Who is always optimistic and the social butterfly? Who is the one who always listens and finds the harmony among everyone? And, who is the most logical and asks a million questions in meetings? Do you have all of these different styles on your team? Which one are you?
Like a baseball team, all teams are diverse and made up of different behavioral styles. I am referring to the DISC model. A “D” style is the dominant style, “I” is the influencing, “S” is the steady” and “C” is the conscientious style. Depending on our style, we thrive in a fast-paced environment, people-oriented environment, reserved or even a task-oriented environment.
The co-founder of Team Builders Plus, Merrick Rosenberg and one their lead trainers, Dan Silvert, co-wrote a book on DISC titled Taking Flight. I highly recommend this book for all team members. Merrick and Dan use animals as metaphors for the DISC styles but just like the San Francisco Giants, it takes a diverse team of talents, skill sets and styles to lead your team to success.
.Faster. Leaner. Every day, teams are challenged to do more with less…and I need it yesterday!
Studies are showing that workplace stress has reached new heights and it’s fairly obvious to recognize that higher stress levels increase the possibility of mistakes at work overall employee burnout.
So what’s an organization to do? Teams have been reaching out to Team Builders Plus for a one-of-a-kind workshop called, Team Samurai. This session allows participants to discover the power of the ancient practice of meditation
In this team building program, team members learn how to re-center themselves after a difficult customer interaction, ground themselves before making a presentation, or re-energizing when that mid-afternoon energy decreases.
For many years, I have been reluctant to combine my more than twenty years of meditation and martial arts experience with my eighteen years of team and leadership training in the classroom. But as I see heightened stress levels, I knew that the time was right.
Despite what is going on with our current economic situation, most corporate groups understand the value of taking part in a team building activity. Goals of the team building activity have gone beyond showing appreciation, boosting morale and improving employee relationships. Many teams are utilizing the time dedicated to a team building activity as an opportunity to make a positive impact on their community.
Wheels for the World is a popular team building activity where the participants build bicycles and take part in challenges to earn the bicycle parts. The bikes are then donated to kids from United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys & Girls Club, to name a few, and for many of the kids, its their first bike.
There is a new outdoor philanthropic team building activity called Kindness Wins. This is no ordinary treasure hunt. Instead of searching for hidden clues or caches, teams are let loose to make a positive difference. No good deed is too small and no act of kindness goes unnoticed. Teams earn Good Karma points by holding a door open for a stranger, returning something, such as a shopping cart, to its proper place, or by using a Post-it note to make someone’s day.
There are many more acts of kindness that your team will take part in and participants will also have the opportunity to create their own symbol of generosity and giving that will serve as a reminder back at work of what they experienced on this special day.
Combining a team building program with a philanthropic activity is a win-win for everyone, functionally, spiritually and mentally.
Corporate teams are jumping at the chance to explore next-generation treasure hunts rather than old-fashioned scavenger hunts.
According to Wikipedia, a scavenger hunt is “A game in which individuals or teams seek to find a number of specific items, or perform tasks, as given in a list. The goal is either to complete the list first, or to complete the list in the most creative manner.” Scavenger hunts are easy to organize and are great for school groups and social gatherings. No knowledge of the course area is required, as most of the items on the list can be found just about anywhere.
Treasure hunts are very different from scavenger hunts in that the activity requires much more than retrieving items on a list. Team building companies who arrange treasure hunts should not disturb the area on the course and the points should not interfere with other patrons in the area.
One previously common form of treasure hunt is geocaching. Geocaching is where someone hid containers for groups to locate. Teams open the containers and find cards with varying point values on them or small objects. A common problem with this type of treasure hunt program was that the geocache container was often found by someone not involved in the team building activity and caused undue alarm. It was also not very rewarding or exciting to spend the day looking for small containers.
Team building treasure hunts have come a long way and now include hunts such as: GeoQuest: The High-Tech Treasure Hunt and ClueQuest: The Indoor Treasure Hunt facilitated by Teambuildinginc.com. GeoQuest incorporates hand-held GPS units to help teams locate clues in a town, city, or zoo. Teams of approximately five people receive handheld GPS units pre-programmed with the locations of hidden treasures. The GPS units guide teams to within 20 feet of their goal. After that, they use their wits and determination to decipher written clues to find the hidden answers. GeoQuest gives participants the opportunity to work together to achieve their goals. Teams can learn about history along Boston’s Freedom Trail, discover the jungles at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, or explore the sites in historic Charlotte, NC.
Treasure hunts like ClueQuest: The Indoor Treasure Hunt are similar to GeoQuest, but instead of utilizing hand-held GPS units to solve clues outdoors, teams solve an emulator using Braille or sign language to solve clues indoors at locations such as the Field Museum in Chicago, the San Jose Tech Museum, the Atlanta Aquarium, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, or the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC to name a few.
GeoQuest and ClueQuest are perfect team building activities for corporate groups of all sizes. Effective teamwork, strategic thinking, planning, and communication are some of the skills needed to be successful during the treasure hunt activities. Participants learn about a city, zoo and even discover things they never knew about in their own backyards.
Team building treasure hunts continue to evolve past outdated scavenger hunts. Teambuildinginc.com has also created treasure hunt using new themes, such as CSI: On Location, Kindness Wins, and LimoQuest.
Don’t be left in the dark with scavenger hunts. Take your team on a real adventure with a new and exciting kind of treasure hunt.