Posts Tagged ‘team building activity’

How to Organize a Team Building Activity

How to Organize a Team Building ActivityWhether you are a manager, executive, or small business owner, you want to have a cohesive team. But what exactly is team building, and how do you organize a team building activity. The answers two those two questions are not as simple as you might think, though. Team building means different things in different circumstances. However, when most people are looking for how to organize a team building activity, it is usually because of a specific meeting or event that is pending. This article outlines how to insert a good team building activity into a meeting or as a reward for your employees.

Our goal is to make this article interactive. So, we have inserted questions along the way to navigate you to answers to your specific situation.

What Outcome are You Looking For?

If you are clear on the outcome that you are looking for, the selection of activities is much easier. In some situations, you already have a meeting or retreat organized, and you might be looking for a way to break up the routine or add some fun. For instance, if you have an annual meeting scheduled, and you want to add an activity to the agenda to build camaraderie or teamwork. In other cases, your team might be experiencing challenges, and you want to eliminate these challenges. For instance, a new manager might have inherited a somewhat dysfunctional team. Or, your group might be experiencing communication challenges in the workplace or personality conflicts.

Question #1 to Find Out How to Organize a Team Building Activity

Are you looking to reward an established team or fix a team challenge?

There are basically two different genres of team building. The first is traditional behavior-change types of team building. My team has a problem. We want to fix it. The second is more of a reward style of team building. These include shared experience activities. Many of these aren’t really designed to teach something, but rather to entertain the group or build camaraderie. The answer to this first question is vital, because the shared-experience style of event basically intensifies the atmosphere that is already present. So, if you have a great team already, the shared experience programs are a great way to reward the team and let them have fun. If your team is having challenges, though, a shared experience event can sometimes make things worse.

Click the link below based on the outcome that you desire.

Behavior Change

  • Team challenges exist.
  • Miscommunication sometimes occurs.
  • Management has changed.
  • We have new initiatives that we are rolling out.
  • We are training new employees

Shared Experiences

  • We want to reward our team.
  • We want to add a fun activity to a meeting.
  • A team culture already exists.
  • Team building activities are a part of our history.

Click One of the Links Above to Move on to Question #2.

How to Choose the Right Team Building Activity

Choosing the right team building activity for your meeting can be fun and exciting or painful and nerve-wracking. Make the right choice and you look like a hero within your organization. Make the wrong choice and it can be an expensive “learning opportunity”. Oftentimes clients want to drill down to finite details about the specific activities that make up our team building workshops including a minute-by-minute agenda. Not only is that not applicable for this type of training since it’s often a fluid and dynamic process, but it is really focusing on the texture of the bark on the trees rather than stepping back for a view of the forest.

What is important is having a clear goal for this portion of your meeting. One mistake companies make is having a “We do a team building activity at this meeting every year” attitude with no real thought about what they want to get out of it. How do you choose the right team building activity? It’s best to take the Stephen Covey approach and begin with the end in mind.

Before you start filling out internet forms and making phone calls to team building companies, think about the goals for this session. If you are the information gatherer, press the decision makers for additional information beyond the tired and overused “team building” and “communication” for something more concrete like breaking down silos or building creative problem solving skills. On the surface you might be looking for something fun and interactive, but there’s a good chance that if the company is spending thousands of dollars on this event, someone is looking for tangible outcomes.

Team building activities are exercises that can help teams build cohesion and work through a host of common group issues. They are used as educational tools to provide opportunities to at least begin discussions that can be continued back at the workplace.
How do you choose the right team building activity for your meeting? It’s like the ingredients of a delicious recipe. Instead of focusing on the bok choy, which isn’t particularly interesting in itself but put in context of other ingredients becomes a flavorful dish, begin with the end in mind. If you take a step back and focus on the goals and outcomes from your meeting you will make the right decision for a team building activity.

This article was written by Colette Johnston. Colette is a Corporate Team Building Consultant with The Leader’s Institute headquartered out of Dallas Texas. You can reach Colette at 800-872-7830.

CSM Bakery Products Houston Texas Build-A-Bike

In Houston Texas CSM Bakery Products brought their plant managers from all over the United States for an operations meeting. Scott Chaney, the plant Manager of Houston decided to end the day with the Build-A-Bike program to benefit some kids in their community. CSM Bakery Products is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amsterdam-based CSM, the global leader in the bakery products and natural food preservation/green chemicals arenas. CSM operates in 60 locations with over 9,500 employees worldwide. The North American division, Bakery Supplies North America (BSNA), is active in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. BSNA operates 21 factories in the U.S. and has two production locations in Canada. The plant Managers had no idea what was planned for them and the end of the plant tour. Build-A-Bike uses a series of challenges and activities to encourage team building. Meant to be something of a caricature of behavior we can see in the workplace, teamwork and communication.

006The team building activities imply competition even though we tell them this isn’t a competition it is meant to show the importance of working together, “we build teams by building bikes”. When the group is split up into teams they each created a silo in their own little group and just tried to win. At the end of the event the grouped discussed what they saw, some groups were very competitive and didn’t work together. “this was eye opening and a great way to learn the importance of working together”. The contact person, Scott was involved in a Build-A-Bike team building event before and he wanted this group of plant managers to experience the “WOW” effect he had when the kids came to pick up the bikes, “that made the event”.  The director of the Boys & Girls Club Stafford branch showed up to the event with these very eager kids from the area to receive the bikes that the CSM Bakery Products plants managers built for them. The CSM group also provided snacks for the kids, they made them right there in the plant.

Review of a Few Team Building Tips

Below are a few team building articles and team building tips that we published on the blog in past months. (Sometimes, real good ideas get buried, so here is a review of a few.)

team building tips

One of my favorite team building games or team icebreaker activities is sometimes called The Helium Stick or even Lighter than Air. The rules are pretty simple. Organize your group into small groups of eight to ten people (you’ll need at least six people per team to make it work, but more than eight or […]

Do You Really Know How To Motivate Your Team?

Leadership, And Management Skills Are Not Coded Into Our DNA. Do You Really Know How To Motivate Your Team? Leadership and management skills are not coded into our DNA. But you hear people say, “He or she is a born leader.” Well….not really. They may know less about their own team and what motivates it […]

Free Team Building Activity-Playing Card Shuffle

Here is a free team building activity that can insert a ton of energy into your meeting right as you get started. If you have a big group that you need to organize into smaller teams (or tables), The Playing Card Shuffle is a great way to do it. To setup the room in advance, […]

More team building tips at https://www.leadersinstitute.com/team-building-tips

Team Building Game: Helium Stick

Helium Stick Team Building GameOne of my favorite team building games or team icebreaker activities is sometimes called The Helium Stick or even Lighter than Air. The rules are pretty simple. Organize your group into small groups of eight to ten people (you’ll need at least six people per team to make it work, but more than eight or nine might get cumbersome.) Take a very thin dowel rod (the thinner the better) and hold it horizontally about chest height and ask the participants to hold the stick onto of their index fingers and lower it to the ground as a team.

Helium Stick Team Building Game Rules:

  • Every team member has to keep both index fingers in constant contact with the stick at all times. If even a single team member loses contact, the team has to start over at chest height again.
  • The stick can only be resting on the index fingers. So team members can’t wrap a finger over the top of the stick or slide fingernails over the stick, etc. (They can’t force the stick down.)
  • Every team member must be standing and the starting point is chest height of the tallest person. (You have to give this rule or everyone will drop to their knees and try to cheat right away.)
  • The goal is to lower the stick to about one-foot off the ground.

The Team Building Activity

Once the teams begin to touch the stick, the challenge will present itself pretty quickly. The stick is so light that the up-force from each of the fingers trying to stay in contact is greater than the weight of the stick.  The result? Immediately, the stick will begin to rise. Some team members will try to coach the others by giving verbal instructions like, “No, let’s go down!”  When that doesn’t work, they will get more vocal (because the problem is that everyone just isn’t listening to the leader, right?), and they will shout, “Down! Down! Down!”  After they struggle a while, take a break and ask the team to form a plan based on their past experience.  Eventually, the teams will start to figure out the secret to getting the activity to work.

This is a fantastic team building game that will let you draw lots of conclusions about verbal vs. non-verbal communication, the difference between loud, vocal “leaders” and those who lead by example, and more.  Have fun with this team building activity!

This is one of the “setup” (icebreaker) activities that we do in our Ace Race ® Mini Golf for Charity team building event. If you’d like details on any of our events or activities, call us at (800) 872-7830.

Free Team Building Activity-Playing Card Shuffle

Here is a free team building activity that can insert a ton of energy into your meeting right as you get started. If you have a big group that you need to organize into smaller teams (or tables), The Playing Card Shuffle is a great way to do it. To setup the room in advance, place a single playing card from a deck of cards on each table (or location where you want each small group to arrange themselves). The best technique is to place the card into stanchions on each table if you want it to be easy for the teams to organize themselves (important in big groups). Alternatively, you can just place the card face down on each table for smaller groups in order to make it more challenging. *For really big groups, I like to put all of the red cards on one side of the room and black cards on the other. You can also put all of the spades in one-quarter of the room, clubs in another, etc.

The way that you organize the cards can make the activity more challenging or more simple. The larger the group, the more simple you want to make the activity, so you’ll probably want to organize the cards in order from Ace to King and possible separate them by color or suit. In small groups, you’ll probably want to mix the numbers and suits up to make it more challenging.

As each participant walks into the room, you can either distribute random cards to each participant or set up stations around the room where participants can draw a card. My favorite distribution technique is to spread the cards out as a Las Vegas dealer might on the edge of the stage and ask everyone to come up to the stage and “pick a card.” The larger your group, the more stations you’ll want to create.

After each participant has their individual card, you can have a lot of fun getting the participants to their correct table or station. These are some ways to get them moving quickly.

Playing Card Shuffle Team Building Activity Instructions

  • (Easiest) Just say, “Okay, go find your team” and let them figure out where to go and how to find their group.
  • If you’ve separated the colors or suits, give the participants one direction that lets them know which side of the room to go to.  For example, “If you have a red card move to this side of the room, and if you have a black card, move to the other.” Then, once the movement dies down a little, tell them to find their group.
  • If you want to make sure that you have equal numbers of people on each team, place some Jokers or other “Wild” cards into the stacks, and then have all of the Wild Cards come to you.  You can now insert them into groups who have too few people.
  • Remember that the fewer instruction that you give, the more active they will become.  The key to getting energy up in an activity is to get the group moving or doing something right away, so this will work like a charm.  You just want to make sure that whatever you are doing immediately after this setup is pretty fun and action-packed.
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