Posts Tagged ‘free team building tips’

Paper Plate Team Building Exercise

Paper Plate Team Building Exercise: The following is a fun team building icebreaker or team exercise to get a group of people to problem solve and work together. Set up 64 numbered paper plates in the following pattern on the floor. (You can use more or fewer numbered plates, but 64 seems optimal.)
Paper Plate Team Building

The rules of the paper plate team building exercise.

  1. The exercise is completed when all plates are touched in numerical order.
  2. If any plate is touched out of order, then the participants must begin again at one.
  3. Only one plate can be touched at a time.
  4. Coaching from the team is encouraged.
  5. The exercise will be timed.

The facilitator’s main job is to encourage participants to think outside of the box and look for patterns, but don’t give the solution away. Ask questions such as “Is there any way to cut your time in half?Is there any way to be more efficient?” Challenge the group by giving them a time to beat. Make every new time limit quite a bit shorter than the last. The group will usually live up to the challenge. Eventually get them to a point where they can complete the entire exercise in less than 60-seconds.

Paper Plate Team Building Solutions

  1. Pattern: After a few times through the exercise, this pattern will begin to develop.
  2. Solution 1   Solution 2

  3. Rearrange Plates: Creative teams may decide to rearrange the plate into an easier order. As the facilitator, you must tell them to restart the exercise every time they touch a plate out of order. Teams really thinking outside the box will ignore this distraction and continue putting plates in an easier order.
  4. Other solutions your team may invent.

This can be used as a warm up or icebreaker before a larger team building activity. It can also be used as a fun way to get your team interacting during a meeting.

Build a Culture of Trust and Rapport with Your Team

Looking for a quick way to build a culture of trust and rapport with your team? Over a decade ago, I wrote a book called 28 to Influence People as a simple how-to book in building a team culture and improving leadership skills. Interestingly, since I wrote that book, my company, The Leader’s Institute, LLC has become one of the fastest growing and largest team building companies in the world. These principles from the 28 Ways book are time-tested. As a result, they work 100% of the time. However, groups sometimes have confusion between “shared experience” team building event and “behavior change” team building activities.

For instance, sometimes, groups just want to do a fun activity as a group and feel good about the camaraderie that was built in the experience (shared experience). Other times, teams may be experiencing team challenges, or the team may be doing well, but still want to improve communication and teamwork (behavior change). Sometimes, groups want a combination of both.

That is one of the reason why our team building events are so popular. Our instructors mix real behavior changing activities with a fun shared experience. For instance, the first seven chapters in the 28 Ways book are seven ways to build a culture of trust with your team. They are also essential keys to building a team culture. So, in fun activities like a Build-A-Bike ® team building event, an instructor might deliver these seven principles to the group as an introduction. Then, the instructor may reinforce these principles throughout the activity. That way, the group receives real team building skills while having fun in the activity.

Seven Ways to Build a Culture of Trust

  1. Avoid Complaining.
  2. Look at Things from the Other Person’s Point of View.
  3. Smile.
  4. Make an Effort to Remember Names.
  5. Avoid Placing the Burden of Your Problems onto Other People.
  6. Take Responsibility for Clear Communication.
  7. Practice Good Listening Skills.

For a list of our fun team building events, click here. Or, if you want to participate in the online workshop based on these principles, click here.

Team building works, even when the group doesn’t work together


Most people think of team building activities for groups of people that do the same job and work together. Often they don’t work together in the same physical space, but they are usually part of the same division or have the same basic job description. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

Team building programs can be great for all different types of groups. Let’s look at a few examples:

1. Your team plus a group of your customers – Imagine the possibilities! If the goal of the team building program is to have fun together, get to know each other better, and give back to the community, how can you go wrong? Recently we delivered our Build-A-Bike workshop in Mountain View, California for just this type of group – our customer along with their customers.  Building camaraderie while building bikes for the local community was very effective for this group.  What’s great is that customers not only get to see another side of you and your team as you engage in challenges together, but they’ll also be building stronger relationships with you. That spells customer loyalty like nothing else.

2. Your team plus interns or potential employees – We’ve done several team building programs for groups of this nature. Playing together and observing how interns or potential employees take on challenges, step outside of their comfort zones, and think creatively about solving problems can be a fun, interactive part of the vetting process. Interesting personality traits emerge during a good team building program that can help you find the right “fits” for your team.

3. Professional associations – Every professional association holds conferences for it’s members that includes people who all work in the same profession but for different companies. There is usually a lot of networking that goes on at these meetings, and people are always looking for ways to connect and get to know more people in their field. Create a unique experience for your conference attendees by having them engage in team building activities where they get to know each other better, learn to draw on each other’s strengths, and give back to the community. Many team building activities can be tailored to fit the dynamics of the group, just make sure to mention to your team building partner that this is not an in-tact work group.

These are just a few examples of unconventional mixes of people that would benefit from engaging in team building programs together. Think outside of the proverbial box and imagine the possibilities! Your next conference or gathering with customers, potential employees, or professional associates could be made into a memorable, unique experience. You don’t have to work together to benefit from great team building!

Colette Johnston is a Corporate Team Building Consultant who works with clients in over 30 major cities including Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Interested in a Team Building Event?

Improve Your Team Culture with Team Building Activities

Team building activities help build a purposeful team culture within your organization. One of the reasons companies have offsite team meetings is to, not only share and gather information, but also to improve their team culture by giving people “face time”. If you’re planning an offsite meeting, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Build camaraderie with interactive sessions. When you have a quarterly or annual meeting it’s a great opportunity for your team to get to know each other through interactive team building activities. When we are connected to each other, we participate. When we have trust, we take risks. When we care, we are willing to go the extra mile. Collaboration and creativity start when we begin to know each other as human beings, not just roles or titles. For example, we provided our Build-A-Bike® team building workshop for a client in the New York area last month. Because of the interactive team building activities, the participants said they knew each other better after a half day session than after a year sitting next to each other in cubicles. And when times are uncertain, it’s the relationship that matters.
  2. Learn to think creatively. In today’s economy everybody has to learn to do more with less. What happens when we have limited resources? How do limited resources impact our relationships and integrity? To not only survive, but thrive we need to do things differently to get better results. Going back to the New York team building activity we provided, participants were given a series of creative challenges and problem solving activities. What they realized was just because we’ve always done it that way, doesn’t mean it’s the way we should continue to do it. Rather than looking for what’s not working – ask what’s possible. This releases creativity and attracts those who care and are committed to making it happen.
  3. Feel good by giving back. Team building activities that include a philanthropic twist have become increasingly popular in recent years. And with good reason! Service to others has become a strong part of the culture within many companies. Build-A-Bike® is by far our most popular workshop because teams build bikes that are then donated to children in the community. Do you remember what it felt like when you got your first car – how it expanded your world? A new bike can change the life of a child, and it’s a goose bump moment when you watch them ride it for the first time. Decide if a service mentality is an important part of your culture, and send that message at your next offsite meeting.

So if you want to improve your team culture, start at your next offsite meeting by building camaraderie with interactive sessions, learning to think creatively and be resourceful, and feeling good by giving back in some way. There is no power greater then a group discovering together what it cares about.

Colette Peterson is a speaker and trainer specializing in Team Building in New York City, NY that insert fun and energy into any convention or annual meeting. (https://www.teambuildingnewyorkny.com/) Colette teaches team building events in major cities New York, Boston, Detroit, and Toronto.

Team Motivation: Teams Learn Faster When They’re Having Fun


Need some Team Motivation? It’s common knowledge that people learn faster and produce more when they are having fun. So why should work be any different? There are several ways to add fun to any project.

Set a Common Team Goal

One easy way to motivate your team is to set a common goal that requires the participation of everyone on your team. Just consider how much more fun it is to run a 5k marathon with a group of people than it is to run the same distance by yourself. What might be challenging by yourself tends to be a lot more fun when you are surrounded by a group of people working toward the same goal. You feed off the energy and enthusiasm of all the other participants.

Add Competition

team motivationAdding friendly competition to a project can also be a fun way to motivate your team. A few weeks ago, our company conducted a Build-A-Bike ® team building event for a client in Atlanta. For this program, the group is divided into multiple teams. We repeatedly told the participants that it wasn’t a competition; however the program is designed so that each team must complete certain tasks to get the parts to build their bikes. As the teams observed other teams’ bike parts accumulating more quickly than theirs, they started working faster and became more efficient in assigning the remaining tasks of their team. The end result was that the group built over 100 bikes in less than an hour and had a great time doing it. The response from the client was that they never realized building bikes could be so much fun!

Be Generous with Your Praise

Another great way to ensure your team stays motivated is to be generous with your praise. A compliment will validate that what a person is doing is important and then even the most mundane task becomes fun. That validation then stimulates the brain to think of ways to make the outcome even better. Let me give you an example. My daughter hates cleaning her room. The process is painful for both of us: for her because she dislikes it so much and for me because I have to keep nagging her to get it done. Recently though, I discovered that a simple word of praise worked wonders. She had just gone into her room and picked up several photographs lying on the floor. She decided to assemble them all into a collage. As I walked by and observed this, instead of berating her for not staying focused on the task of cleaning, I commented on what a great idea that was. She then proceeded to frame it out of materials she had scattered about her room and hang it on her wall. After she completed this project, half the job of picking up the stuff she had scattered around was already finished. She completed the rest of it in record time and when I commented on that her response was that she had such fun making the collage that she couldn’t wait to get the rest of it done so that she could see how great her room would look. What a complete turn-around in her attitude, all because of one simple compliment.

If your team is bogged down, has hit a wall, or lacks motivation, just try one or all of these Build-A-Bike ® team building event for a client in Atlanta to put some fun into the project. It requires very little effort but the results could be huge. A team that’s having fun will be self motivated and consistently produce higher results.

Carol Vandable is a team building consultant with The Leader’s Institute®. She organizes team building events in Texas and other Western cities in the US. For more information, click this link and be connected directly to her web address: https://leadersinst.infusionsoft.com/go/TLI6/Carol/

Three Requisites for Corporate Team Building and Motivation

There are three attitudes that need to be present in each team member to make the team a peak performer. Those three are confidence, humility, and commitment. When these three are present in each member of a team then the groundwork is set for an efficient, effective team. Of course a team can be effective without any or all three of these, but it will be much more work and much less of a team effort. Let’s take a quick look at the three and why each is vitally important.


Each team member needs to recognize that they have something to contribute. Each member needs to feel they are a vital key to the team. If this is lacking then participation by that member will be diminished, which in turns affects the rest of the team. When one person’s contributions are lacking then a part of the solution is also missing and it is up to others to pick up the slack.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked a question, you knew the answer, but were reluctant to give it? What happened? Either the person who asked the question has to go fishing for an answer, or someone else gives a different answer than yours, or someone spoke up and gave the same answer as you would have done. What ever happens as a result of your inactivity is different than if you would have answered. By withholding your contribution you have changed the dynamic of the situation. The real problem is that by not responding you have increased the probability that you won’t answer the next time either. Now you are working in a diminished capacity that affects you and the outcome for the rest of the team.

When each person on a team realized and internalized that they are a vital part of the team and has the confidence that their contributions are important the team can begin to approach its best possible working conditions.


This may seem like a contradiction to the previous point, but it is an augment and complimentary. Humility is understanding that your contributions are important, but they are not the most important. It is the realization that you have something to contribute to the team, but so does each team member. The problem with confidence is that it can become overpowering to the point of arrogance and a lack of understanding for fellow team members. Humility keeps the confidence in check by maintaining that each person has a vital and equally important contribution to make to the team.

Humility is a critically important factor in that humility is a key ingredient to unity. The team cannot be unified in purpose and goals unless each member is willing to value all others’ contributions as important as their own. Humility is not self-deprecation, nor is it devaluing yourself or your involvement. It is a position of strength and self actualization where you understand yourself well enough to understand the importance of others, not only of their opinions and contributions, but as valued individuals with contributory strengths, and talents.


The last necessary quality for the most effective team is for each member to be totally committed to the team. This is most difficult because of our society and the low priority it places on commitment. Commitment does not mean I give myself totally until something better comes along. Commitment means I am surrendered to the task at hand until it is completed. It has nothing to do with hurt feelings, other people opinions, disagreements, or anything else except doing whatever it takes to complete the tasks wherein my commitment lies.

Often times the commitment to the team is tempered by whether I get my way, whether I agree, whether I feel valued, whether I like the results, whether… In commitment there is no whether, it is commitment without qualification. The only time to withdraw that obligation is when ethically or morally you are challenged by the decision or outcomes of the teams’ work.

When each team member is recruited for a team because of their talent and need for the task of the team, they need to come with confidence, humility and commitment to assure the best outcome for the team and its work.

Effective Team Building Event Ideas Will Tear Down Communication Silos

By Connie Timpson/Speaker/Sr. Instructor/The Leader’s Institute

Corporate leaders look for strong team building event ideas that “will tear down the walls” that we build between divisions, departments, even cubicles.  Those corporate leaders have a great deal in common with one of the world’s best communicators.  Ronald Reagan told the world, “…tear down those walls.”  Hammer in hand the walls came tumbling down, reuniting a world torn apart by differences in philosophy.  Immediately, warring factions began communicating.

Mis-communication or “no communication” is very costly to corporations, both in loss of production hours and duplication of efforts.  In fact researchers at the  Robert H. Smith School of Business, at Maryland University, put a 12 billion dollar price tag on what poor communication costs American hospitals per year. That is a staggering waste of money that could be put into salaries, programs or training.  Smart corporate leaders look for ways to improve communication by seeking out new team building events.  Idea driven events that will help their staff tear down walls that thwart communication

Ridding corporations of communication silos can open lines of communication and save the bottom line.  When people learn how to tear down the walls, they begin to communicate better.  For example, a couple of weeks ago, I was leading a Build-A-Bike(R) team building event for a big company in Indiana, and like many companies, one of the challenges that they were having was getting people to fully communicate, to see the big picture.  They had to work together to solve clues, and at the same time recognize and capitalize on individual strengths that could win them a bike part.  In other words, break down communication silos.  They quickly learned the value of communicating in a world without walls.

Opening lines of communication spawns creative opportunities that no one dreamed of.  No one dreamed of the opportunities because the group was busy erecting walls.  Effective team-building events, bring “analytical” and “expressive” together, one balancing the other.  Anthony Robbins says, “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”

When one person’s idea is shared with others, it becomes a bigger idea, splinters, and turns into ideas.  The ideas morph into Big Ideas and participants understand the real value of knocking down the silo walls.

A perfectly functioning company does not “just happen.”  It takes work, bringing teams together in the name of communication, compatibility and cohesiveness.  It is simple really.  All you have to do is be open and learn how to “break down the walls.”

Connie Timpson is a speaker and trainer specializing in Team Building Event Ideas that insert fun and energy and reduce the ‘Silo Effect’ in business. https://leadersinst.infusionsoft.com/go/TLI6/cpeterson/ Connie teaches team building events in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Contact Us

(800) 872-7830

Contact Information

Corporate Office:
The Leader's Institute ®
5430 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1200
Dallas, TX 75240
Phone: (214) 989-4131

Site Map | Privacy Policy | © 2016 The Leaders Institute - All Rights Reserved