We would argue that team building exercises aren't only for bringing a team together; they're essential for the success of your business in that it can aid productivity. We've all heard the saying "no man is an island" this is certainly true when it comes to running a business. This is why it's so important to keep your whole team working productively together. The question is - how do you do that? Part of the answer is to incorporate team building exercises into your corporate routine. It's fair to say that the small-business owner who can build a culture around cooperation and collaboration enjoys more success. Effective team building exercises, (it's why we are called Team Building Solutions!), can help cultivate trust, support and respect among the group, positively affecting the work environment. These exercises can also help to shine a light on the strengths and weaknesses of participants, which gives management a better idea of job fit. When you may need to use team building exercises We are sure that most if not all small-business owners know when it's business is not progressing as well as it could. When you see persistent problems-such as decreased productivity, conflict, lack of cooperation or involvement, hostility, apathy and complaints about favouritism-it's in your best interest to look at team building as a way to restore camaraderie and a positive work environment. Determine your team building needs Let's be honest - team building exercises aren't effective in a vacuum - that advice comes directly from a company that provides these exercises! In order for your company to benefit from these exercises, you must be clear on exactly what you're trying to accomplish. Identify your reasons for the team building exercises and share them with your employees. What are some of the most common reasons? The reasons we most often hear from our clients include a need to improve communication, develop creativity and build trust and team work between different departments. Once you know the qualities you want to encourage, you can choose the team building exercises designed to accomplish your goal. 5 Categories for team building exercises There are five main categories of team building exercises that we can focus on. They consist of activities that build communication, promote problem solving and decision making, encourage adaptability and the ability to plan, work to build trust, and develop a cooperative spirit. The team building exercises that promote these various skills are meant to be enjoyable and instructional. Depending on what you want to improve on your team, you can try some of the following activities:
- Build communication. Activities that develop open lines of communication and listening increase communication. Have two or three colleagues sitting back to back with two or three other colleagues. Give one of the groups a diagram containing some simple objects and words that they will need to describe to the other group who need to draw what is being explained to them. Give them a good amount of time, but don't let the drawing group communicate with the describing group. It's a great activity that highlights various communication issues - from the amount of info we can process to the speed of communication. There will be a lot you can discuss on this!
- Promote problem solving and decision making. We really like the Paper Tower activity for this. Give the team around 100 sheets of A4 paper, a roll of sellotape and a cream egg. The task is to build the tallest freestanding tower that will support the egg at it's highest point. If you have a bigger team, split them into smaller groups to promote a little bit of friendly competition. You will be amazed and the different designs!
- Encourage adaptability and planning. Survival scenarios work well to encourage planning and adaptability. We use a NASA based scenario where the team has crash landed on the moon and the items that survived the crash have to be listed in terms of its usefulness. This can be found easily on the internet.
- Build trust. One of the harder ones to do on a shoestring if you want to get away from the old 'trust fall'! These activities tend to be based around activities where a person is blindfolded and must therefore 'trust' their colleagues. However, if you expand this out, then a number of different decision based scenarios can engender trust as the group must trust in it's own decision making process.
- Nurture a cooperative spirit. Assigning employee teams to volunteer with charitable causes is a good way to encourage cooperation. When people work on a cause that the team cares about, they will bond. The opportunity to give back to those less fortunate often creates a charitable, cooperative attitude among everyone involved. We have been involved in connecting companies to various charitable causes and is usually easily done as charities can always do with a helping hand (or two!). Alternatively, most smartphones and tablets now contain movie making software. It's easy to use this in a fun way to get the team to create an advert for something work related. It gives roles that everyone can embrace - from the actors to the writers and from the director to the editor.
Armed with these simple ideas for team building exercises, it's up to you to create the best working culture for your business. Remember, however, that these won't resolve any deeper issues you may be experiencing, but are part of the cultural change that may need to happen within your business. If you think you need deeper interventions, call us now on 01425 629327 to discuss your requirements and let us offer you our solution! For example, our Krypton Maze activity has a range of exercises, (like those listed above), to work on team work generally, but with an emphasis on different aspects in each activity.