Guest Post by Scott Huntington
Team-building is important to any organization. It might be especially important if you’ve recently had an influx of new people, are trying to increase the unification of existing teams, or have new product launches in the offing and want teams to approach them with energy and enthusiasm.
A lot of people, though, approach team-building ideas with all the enthusiasm they brought to freshman mixers — which is to say, not very much. Forced interaction is not most folks’ ideas of a good time.
Fun and Effective Team-Building Activities
That’s too bad because team-building activities can be fun. You just have to pick something the team will enjoy. Then they really will get to know each other better, bond and start to move and think as a team.
Which ones are really enjoyable? Here are several ideas:
Hit One of Your Town’s Premier Tourist Destinations
Whether it’s a sports stadium or a historical site, get to know your team in your town. A surprising number of people have never been to these places, or haven’t visited since second grade. Take tours. Buy popcorn. Spring for the T-shirts, hats and other tchotchkes tourists do. Shamelessly promote the taking of team selfies. That in itself can be fun. Place them all on a bulletin board when you get back. Be tourists for a day. The unusualness will spur bonding.
Plan and Execute a Charitable Giving Strategy
People who plan and then do an event that helps other people show the best side of themselves. An activity of this type also shows the team the ropes of being a team in a nonwork setting. Giving Tuesday, for example, is traditionally the Tuesday that follows Thanksgiving — after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The team could get together, brainstorm the activity and choose a group or groups to direct the process. Then everybody pitches in.
Plan an Escape Room Event
The recent trend of escape rooms makes for a popular team-building activity. The team is locked in a room and must “escape” it by using their wits. Keys can be found via working through clues and solving puzzles. This is a great way for people to work together to solve a common problem and is lots of fun to boot. Who wouldn’t want to be a detective for a day?
Play Show and Tell
This can either be done at your company or after lunch or dinner. It sounds corny too, but is a good ice-breaker. It’s a grown-up version of the grade school game. Each person brings in something s/he wants to share. They talk for five minutes about it. It could be their best recipe, favorite TV show, most indulged-in hobby or what they did last summer. Make it voluntary though, as for some the idea of speaking in front of even a small group is incredibly nerve-wracking.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
A surprising number of great team-building activities are updates of games we played in grade school. This is another one that teams people together to find objects. A minimum of two teams is needed to play. Each gets a list of things to find, and the first to find all of them wins. If the team has recently learned a new procedure or new set of tasks, elements of them can be worked into what they find.
If your team is sports-minded, kayaking can be a great joint activity. It’s pleasurable and easy to learn. Trying not to fall in the river, or even taking the plunge, can be fun on a warm day. The nice thing about kayaking is that it’s low pressure and unrelated to any work event, yet can also build cooperation. Plan on two-person kayaks, so a mini-team works with the larger set.
Play Baseball, Volleyball or Soccer
Choose a team sport to build a team! Like kayaking, the sport of choice depends on how sports-minded and fit your business team is. It’s wise to do a poll before making a choice, so the activity is inclusive and genuinely fun. Team sports have rules and continuity, two things that help unify teams over a period of time. Because of this, they can be particularly useful in establishing team cohesion that doesn’t depend just on one event.
Team-building activities are effective to the degree that they work. They have to be fun for all involved and include a sharing element. These seven ideas are all proven to be fun bonding events.
Scott Huntington is a writer from Harrisburg PA who has been featured on Forbes, INC, Business Insider, and more. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.