Team Building Exercises - the Old and the New
At some point in your career, you have probably been involved in some type of team business exercise. Whether it was attending a weekend retreat or it involved you and some of your co-workers learning to rely on one another during an afternoon meeting, the goal was likely the same.
Regardless of whether you actually enjoyed the experience, the important question is what you took away from it. Once you returned to the office, did you implement what you learned or did you go back to the same behaviour? Far too often, many team building exercises are planned without any real thought or goal. The activities are simply seen as a way to take a break from the office, but once back in the workplace, many employees fail to utilise any of the lessons they learned.
Planning is important
Without a solid plan in place, team building can actually be a waste of time and resources. When planned properly; however, team building can provide your employees with the chance to truly learn to rely on one another and become a more cohesive, productive team. In the process, your employees can take advantage of the opportunity to develop critical strengths while addressing weaknesses that could hold your company back from accomplishing important objectives.
What type of team building exercise should I use?
There are innumerable team building exercises that can be used to address an array of issues. One of the most traditional team building exercises is the survival scenario. The goal of this exercise is to improve communication skills. As the team learns to work together to survive the scenario given them, they also learn to work together as a true team.
Eliminating labelling and stereotyping is becoming increasingly important in today's business world. The Stereotype Party is a fun team building exercise that works well for medium-sized and even large groups. Name-tags are used for producing various personality types. The tags are then pinned to the back of each participant so that each person can see everyone else's tags but not their own. The goal is to determine which personality type is on your back by asking questions. Only yes or no answers are allowed.
Many team building exercises are aimed at building trust and interdependence. Of course, most of us are all familiar with the exercise that requires each person to fall backward, trusting that their team members will catch them. A twist on that game is the Human Spring. In this game, group members are asked to stand facing one another in pairs. They are then asked to touch their palms together and begin to gradually start leaning toward one another. Eventually, they will hold up one another. Everyone is then instructed to move their feet back further and further so that they must depend completely upon their partners in order to remain standing upright.
Establish a goal
Regardless of what your ultimate goal may be through team building exercises, it is important to establish a goal early, particularly relevant take away points. When properly planned, team building exercises can help your team to learn how to rely on one another for greater efficiency and productivity.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.