The word TEAM has literally transpired into a buzz word in the corporate world. There are countless books and articles written about the importance of teams, while each year, management consultants, scholars, and researchers continue presenting theories and research that debate over various aspects of team building. But the million-dollar question is; What is a TEAM, and why does the world of business accentuate so much upon it?
When individuals with similar interests, attitudes, and tastes come together to work towards a common objective, a team is formed! If there is no common goal, there is no team. Team members strive hard to live up to the expectations of each other and successfully accomplish the assigned task. A team must synergize and achieve excellence, or as the acronym goes, T.EA.M. Together Everyone Achieves More.
A team cannot do well or achieve more than the individual unless and until every member is focused and understands his or her responsibilities.
Every individual must feel motivated to perform at his or her best. For best performance, whenever possible, avoid imposing tasks on team members; instead, allow the individuals to take the initiative on their own. Optimally, team members come forward and accept challenges with resilience and spirit. This is where team building comes in.
Team building refers to various activities undertaken to motivate team members and increase the overall performance of the team. A motivating factor is a must. Team Building activities consist of multiple tasks undertaken to groom team members and motivate them to perform to the best of their ability.
Team Leaders can and must undertake fun team building activities that help their team gel. These activities can be specially planned, for instance, corporate picnics, movie days, scavenger hunts, sports matches, holiday/vacation/traveling together, or themed events.
Alternatively, team building can be integrated into daily tasks like meeting openers, presentations, conferences, and work lunches. Various activities can be undertaken to address different team issues, but ensuring the element of fun will increase the effectiveness of the activity.
15 Team Buiding Exercises
Fun team building exercises that nurture team spirit and breed excellence include:
- Helium Stick – Deceptively simple teamwork activity. Form two lines facing each other. Lay a long, thin rod on the group’s index fingers. Goal: Lower to ground. Reality: It goes up!
- Toxic Waste – An accessible, engaging small group activity. Equipped with a bungee cord and rope, a group must work out how to transport a bucket of “Toxic Waste” and tip it into the neutralization bucket. This activity can be used to highlight almost any aspect of teamwork or leadership.
- Mine Field – Objects are scattered in an indoor or outdoor place. In pairs, one person verbally guides his/her partner, a blindfolded person, through the minefield.
- Zoom – A group tries to create a unified story from a set of sequential pictures. The pictures are randomly ordered and handed out. Each person has a picture but cannot show it to others. This activity requires patience, communication, and trying to understand from another’s point of view in order to recreate the story’s sequence.
- Pipeline/Gutter Ball – A fast paced activity that can be modified to suit age and setting. Each participant gets one gutter or half pipe tubing. The object is to move a marble or assorted size balls using lengths of guttering from point A to point B without dropping them.
- Keypunch – A powerful teambuilding exercise for medium sized groups. Participants must touch the randomly placed numbers, in sequence, within a given time frame in multiple attempts.
- Warp Speed – A team building exercise based on the icebreaker “Group Juggle”. Groups are challenged to juggle as fast as possible. Invite group to “tender” a time they can deliver.
- Balloon Activities – Group activities that can be done with balloons. Promotes gentle, fun physical movement, people getting to know one another, trust and working together.
- Multi-Way Tug-of-War – Fun, physically demanding, competitive team activity. Several teams pull against each other, requiring communication and tactics as well as strength to outmaneuver and win.
- All Aboard! – A classic teambuilding activity in which a group is challenged to physically support one another in an endeavor to occupy an ever diminishing space.
- Survival Scenarios – “Your plane crashed…your group needs to choose the 12 most useful items to survive…”
- Great Egg Drop – Small groups design an egg package to save an egg from breaking when dropped. Plus, a 30 second jingle to sell their package. Followed by the Great Egg Drop-Off.
- Amoeba Race – A simple, close physical contact group cooperation activity. The group forms the three parts of an Amoeba: protoplasm, cell wall, and nucleus. Then the group travels, splits into two amoebas, and the amoeba have a race.
- Group Mandala – Group dynamics exercise. Each person is represented by an object. The objects are “caste” like dice and group members share their feelings and re-arrange the objects.
- Create Your Own Group Activity – Involves small groups in designing and presenting a new group activity. A challenging exercise which requires all the elements of teamwork – communication, goal-setting, planning, cooperation, creativity, task orientation, etc.
Successful team building
No matter which activity is selected for team building, the success of your activity will be influenced in no small part by:
- Congruence between the activity and the required learning outcomes.
- The environment and the atmosphere the facilitator creates.
- The enthusiasm is shown by and created by the facilitator
- Acknowledgment that some people are more comfortable than others in undertaking activities.
- How the teams are made-up(mix, size, and method)
- The quality and way the debrief is run.
- The post activity follow-up
Perhaps by adopting a few of these activities for your unique team building situations, you’ll be a step closer to providing an environment that promotes team spirit and breeds corporate excellence within your company