(Like Love) Team building is one of those things that mean something different to everyone. To the Organizational Development guy, Team building is an ongoing process that helps a work group evolve into a cohesive unit. The team members not only share expectations for accomplishing group tasks, but also learn to trust and support one another and respect one another's individual differences.
You know, that team building stuff. On the other end of the spectrum… let’s call them Company Outings. As much fun as they are, taking your group to a Giant’s Game is not really team building in the true sense of the word. It’s fun, and a good thing, and let’s people get to know each other as real people, not just as fellow workers… but still…it’s a company outing (side-note…take me).
If I am an “attendee” and hear the event organizers announce team building, my brain groans and I think… "Can’t I just go back to my room and take a nap... or since I don’t have a TV at home, can I just find some Cops re-runs on Cable, lay on the bed, and relax until it’s time for the reception?"
But… I go, I participate, and (almost) always have a great time and feel closer to the group and to my fellow humans in general. That lasts for a few minutes, but it’s a great feeling. Just kidding. The reality of it is that if done right, and with the proper follow-up, it actually changes the way you view yourself and how you work with people. You know, the relationship thing (that is, if you’re into that).
What is critical to the success of any team building exercise, or a company outing for that matter, is the follow-up. How do you translate the positive experience into something that can be used to increase harmony and productivity, because my friends… no matter what anyone says, that’s why it’s done. You know…the money thing.
So let me take a moment to highlight a few cool ideas you can do for your group right here in northern California… there are dozens of possibilities but in deference to space and attention spans, we’ll have to grow the library as we go… just remember, whatever you do for your team, develop a strategy to follow-up, either with your team-builder or with your HR department. Like the Organizational Guy said, it’s an ongoing process. Otherwise it’s just a very expensive memory.
First Up Comedy Sportz The performers use improvisation skills onstage to get people laughing, but they specialize in teaching people HOW to use improvisation techniques in their work lives. Improvisation is not "winging it". It's a highly refined system of observing, connecting and responding.
- Listening - with true focus, staying in the moment
- Accepting - circumstances and what others bring to the table
- Supporting - making others look good
- Taking Competent Risks - trusting and using your intuition
- Letting Go of Mistakes - learn and move on
One of the most valuable team building skills… laughing together. There’s a lot more to it. Click here to visit their web site
Want a little more physical action… try ACSailingSF…The “only” America’s Cup yacht in SF….’USA76’ (84 Ft of “awesomeness”!).
Your group races the yacht against the clock to get ‘USA76’ across the 2013 AC race course, around the Golden Gate Bridge and back to the starting line. Groups up to 20 are divided in two, team captains are educated in a short separate session and those leaders then have to dispense their new knowledge upon their team members to get this big yacht around the race course as quickly as possible. Four professional crew members are there for guidance and to make sure no one is left behind (important in a boat).
Want to sail but have a larger group? SF Sailing Company has multiple yachts (not Americas Cup yachts, but… still really cool yachts) and offers Intro to Sailing lessons - They divide up the groups and practice maneuvers such as tacking and jibbing which both require very clear communication and coordination not only for safety, but also to maximize the speed and efficiency of the boat. They then follow it with a race between multiple boats.
This 3 hour team builder is the standard event, but they also have full day activities built around sailing. Lots of possibilities. Click here to visit their web site.
They have two identical vessels that carry 28 and 36 passengers and with their partners can organize regattas and team building events for many more. Click here to visit their web site.
We want to build on what we started last month and create a Library of some more cool “team-building ideas. So… here are a few more for you to consider, and please feel free to add to the conversation with some of the team building experiences you have had that proved successful. The idea is to let these ideas give you more ideas. You know… the sharing ideas thing.
When in Rome… Gastaldi Travel presents the Urban Safari (with Flash Mob)
OK, you’ve got your normal Treasure Hunt with clues, puzzles and the need for creative thinking and team cooperation and then…. Add in a team building adventure powered by modern technology – TABLETS- SMART PHONES – GPS… and Rome.
Divided in teams each one equipped with devices to receive the game instructions and clues, guests will take Photos with their smart phones, send them to the “board”, that will assign scores, coordinate team positions via GPS, and then assign the next clue.
Participants will also prepare a short artistic flash mob, helped by Gastaldi’s choreographers (!), in some suitable location in Rome (there must be some somewhere). Connect with Gastaldi Travel
Maybe you’re not in Rome but still like the ‘teams of people wandering around an international city” idea?
Then… San Francisco Bay Area based Corporate Games might be just the thing.
The Amazing Journey - It’s part “foreign mission,” part intercontinental race. Teams must figure out the 10 cities in the world that comprise the “race route” by finding and deciphering clues, along with attempting fun challenges from facilitators stationed at different places around the city. There are creative elements that draw upon the skills of every team member. Resourcefulness, access to technology and the internet play key roles. The teams are also challenged to amass as much (play) money as possible as they go, since money is what would be needed to finance such a trip. CFO’s will like this part.
The Journey can be customized to fit your company’s current theme or history… or whatever. Visit Corporate Games Website
Don’t want to wander around too much? Hungry? How about Teambuilding ROI’s Food Truck Challenge? http://www.teambuildingroi.com/
You do the “divide into teams” thing and assigned to a truck, and the number of food trucks depends on the size of your group. When the Giant Clock starts ticking, the teams compete to earn necessary items (like ingredients, décor, chalkboards etc), and then work with their Food Truck chef to prep, cook and serve their creations to the rest of the group and a panel of judges. You get the idea… fun, food, and more fun.
That’s it for the moment… but we’ll keep building the Library. Tell every meeting planner you know to visit the site and share their ideas (and click on everything :)
Join the conversation! Share your thoughts, ideas, and/or experiences in the comment box below.
Next month we'll be talking about International Team Building Ideas… and whatever other random idea pops into my head between now and then.