Will Team Building Activities Impact Your Bottom Line?

Team building away days are popular with many companies. Company management usually accepts that a coherent team can substantially increase profits. The theory says it’s because the team members feel more of a team spirit, they are more engaged in their work, and the end result is that everyone benefits.

Is that what actually happens though?

Very often it is. Properly planned away days with properly planned team building activities can definitely impact your bottom line. It’s a sad fact though that this is not always the case. Some activities are quite frankly bizarre. Do treasure hunts, saving the planet and mission impossible type scenarios really work? Well, yes and no.

A quick look through an Internet search engine using the question, “do team building activities work” reveals some interesting results. One result even suggested that the team should decide for itself whether they wanted to play games or use an activity related to the kind of work they do. It seems logical to assume that given the choice most teams will opt for the game; it’s more fun.

Perhaps that’s where the problem lies. Some companies providing team away days assume that it all has to be fun, perhaps because people on an away day would like to have fun. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but the whole idea of away days and team building activities is to build a stronger team. If games can do that, fine, but more often than not an activity related to work, and therefore actually relevant, works better.

The activities used in team building have to produce the right results or they are a waste of everyone’s time. Furthermore, the team members have to understand certain things about the process, or no matter how good the activity is it will not realise its full potential.

There has to be clear expectations. The team leader must communicate clearly to the members what it is they are expected to achieve. Team members have to want to be on the team. They have to understand why they are on the team and why they are essential to the company. Only then can they be expected to have the necessary commitment to play their part properly.

The activities that a team make use of should do a number of things. One important thing that needs to be discovered is simply how they think and how they best work. There’s no point in going against the grain, so if a team works well in a certain way, unless there’s a good reason for doing otherwise, let them.

If each team member can learn how each other member thinks and works in a variety of work situations as a result of an away day, then a lot has been achieved. This kind of information is invaluable to any company. This is the basis of team building; the team understanding itself and going on to higher and greater things. Team building activities that can do that are worth their weight in gold!

Group Morale Boosters! 5 Leadership Team Building Activities

As a keynote speaker sometimes I get the opportunity to do a follow up leadership seminar at the event. I find team building self development activities really need to be catered to the group or they are a generic time drain.

A good self development leadership activity makes people laugh, think, understand conflict and work together outside of their work context. Here are some fun, inspirational and memorable morale boosters for your next seminar, convention or event:

1. In a seminar, I like breaking down the room based on 4 personality types ( after I have described what they are, characteristics, etc)and than asking the group to solve a business problem by creating a team, based on what personalities they want on it. What will each personality type contribute? How? What will be the drawbacks? In a true Donald Trump Apprentice Style way the problem could be to create an advertising campaign to promote a specific product. The discussion that ensues will help people see how personality styles create conflict and affect how you contribute to a team.

2. Another a fun, simple self development seminar team activity, based on improv…. is create a story with a word. Each person in a line up adds a word to make up a story. Some people don’t listen or get nervous and they put in a word that makes no sense and word by word the group tries to make a sensible story. Usually very halarious and great lessons emerge about listening, interpretation, resolving conflict etc. You can create the story around a business theme you are working on to personalize this.

3. A simple and easy seminar activity is to tell two truths and a lie. In rounds of 8, each person tells two true statements about themselves and one lie. The group has to decide which is the lie. A good way to get to know one another and very funny.

4. Balloons are Morale Boosters! Blow up a bunch of balloons of several colours. Have the whole room stand up. The objective is to keep the balloons in the air no matter what, they can’t touch the ground. Seminar participants boink balloons to each other, gyrating around trying to keep them in the air. For variation, ask the group to move the red balloons to the front of the room, the green balloons to the back of the room, etc.

5. What I like about you. A great event icebreaker, Have a flip chart paper for each person with their name at the top. Each person goes around and writes what they like about others on their respective paper. Afterwards, the posters can be displayed at work. It is a great morale booster when people can look up at their positive leadership qualities.

6. First Meeting. Have 3 people on each team( usually 3 men and 3 women on opposing teams). The objective is for each team of three to act in synch as one person. They are to meet the other team and each team is one person, they move together and talk together. Step by step and word by word each team member is looking for clues from one person ( usually a leader will emerge) on when to move, words to say etc. It is hilarious and teaches leadership ( if one person in each team doesn’t take control and lead the other two in words and movement- it is a mess), communications skills, teamwork.

Add more fun at your event with simple, easy morale boosters that build leadership qualities.

4 Team Building Activities Based on Cooperation and Teamwork

The exercises that form a team-building should always be based on the needs of the group and on the expectation of team leader/manager. In the following article we shall present 4 training activities that will help the team cooperate, communicate and trust not only within it but also with its leader.

1. Personal Shield

This ice breaker is designed for members that are not yet familiar with each other and it aims to encourage communication. Each participant is given an A4 piece of paper, colored pens or crayons in order to draw: 3 things he/she likes to do in his/her leisure time, 3 ambitions, 3 persons he/she admires and 3 places he/she would like to visit. All these elements should be drawn and not written. They also have to choose a phrase that they think represents them best, a personal motto. After finishing drawing, each person should describe their personal shield and the drawings may be put on the walls of the room to be admired through the team-building.

2. Trust Fall

This training activity encourages trust and becoming comfortable with the team. The participants stand in a circle, close enough not to leave space between them. A circle may be formed from 7 to 10 people. One person will stand in the middle of the circle, eyes closed, hands crossed at the chest. When he/she feels comfortable and ready, he/she will fall on any side, without moving his/her hands or feet. The members of the circle will catch him/her and set him/her to the original position. Every member of the circle will take turn in being in the middle and letting go.

3. Silence is Golden

The aim of the training exercise is to build cooperation in working together as a team. You will need for this exercise a flipchart for each team and colored markers. A team should have 5-6 members. Each team has 10 minutes to draw on the flipchart their ideal workplace, no matter the cost. The one rule is that they cannot speak during the training exercise. You may allow them to write on extra pieces of paper, in order to communicate with their team mates, but verbal communication is forbidden. After 10 minutes, each team will explain their design. The trainer should be observant to similarities in the drawings and then debrief on the communication barrier that was set between them.

4. Labels

The scope of this team-building activity is to encourage appreciation and support among team members. Prepare before this training exercise a set of 6 labels for each team, therefore each team will have up to 6 members. On the set of labels you can write instructions as: “ignore me”, “respect my opinions”, “laugh at my opinions”, “agree with me” and so on; or just adjectives “arrogant”, “helpful”, “leader”, “defensive” etc. Each member will set a label on the forehand of the person next to him/her, without reading the label. The trainer will assign a task to each team, as organize a Christmas party or conduct a department meeting. The participants will have to respect the labels on their team mates’ foreheads. After 7 minutes of exercise you may stop the training game and begin debriefing. Focus on the outcome of the task, their reactions to others labels, their own reactions and feelings.