Ah, togetherness. While you may not be necessarily envisioning your employees fading away into a field of soft dandelions, hand-in-hand softly harmonizing Kumbaya, you do know that building an effective team is an important part of any strong business. However, usually if you mention you’ve got a team-building exercise scheduled, you might be met with a few groans and grumbles.
Here are some interesting team-building exercises that can help boost morale, develop trust, and enhance problem solving strategies.
Have employees create something together that they actually want.
In this article from Entrepreneur, Ken Keller, owner of a Renaissance Executive Forums franchise, branched out from the traditional exercises and took his people to a vineyard. They divided into teams and each created their own wine, marketing plan, and labels to present to judges. Smart idea. Most people can’t complain about wine tasting – and the act of working together helps strengthen community and forge bonds. You could also schedule a cooking class and do a similar exercise with a single dish or even entire three-course meal. Walking away with a bottle of wine or eating a nice meal is pretty much a universal hit.
Picking a hands-on experience with a desirable goal is a great way to get people involved and excited. It’s a lot harder to just sit there and disengage when you’re anxiously whipping egg whites into firm tufts, don’t you think?
Launch an adventure, but get them primed first.
Sometimes it can be hard to get a group of employees from zero to off-and-running without any lead-in. Start them off with something that requires less intense interaction. Your more introverted folks will thank you for not dropping them straight into the fire.
For example, round everyone up for a fun afternoon that starts with popcorn and viewing of a classic adventure movie, like Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean. From there, after everyone has been inspired by the swash-buckling and hip leather satchels, break them into teams for a scavenger hunt based on the film. You could also fashion together a team-based murder mystery dinner. There’s nothing that can’t be made awesome when paired with delectable entrees and plates of decadent cheesecake.
Do a charity event or volunteer together.
There are a number of solid charity organizations that sponsor races and walks. Organize a team and train together. Print off a run of fun t-shirts and enjoy the pleasure of hitting a goal that requires commitment. If your company is large enough or willing, you could even sponsor and host the event yourself.
Any number of other volunteer activities can also help create a sense of togetherness and accomplishment. You could organize toy drives, deliver hot meals, or even exercise a little carpentry and help build houses. Check out your local charities and their event calendars. It’s a win-win for everyone, as stepping out into the community helps widen your circle, inspire cohesiveness and good will, build teamwork, and give back to those in need.
Stage a flash mob.
Flash mobs are a fun, creative way to do something together as a team. You’d be surprised at the level of thrill involved in choreographed dancing. No, really. Hire a choreographer, unite the troops for practice and pick a fun location to film. Nothing builds togetherness like wearing a Gorilla suit and doing a Backstreet Boys dance. Remember, the point of a flash mob isn’t perfected dance moves – it’s about the group dynamic, and the coolness as you all nonchalantly disperse afterwards.
If none of these ideas fit your fancy, remember this is a time to be creative. Anything that promotes working together can enhance camaraderie and communication. If you’re really lost in the dark, you can always search for a business that specializes in team-building activities and let them help you put together your perfect plan.
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks