Business is hectic and conference agenda time is scarce. I get it. That’s why, from time to time, we’re asked to lead team building during breakfast. It can be a great solution to accomplish a lot within a given time frame.
Many companies are aware of the possibility of including team building in a lunch or dinner event. And while breakfast is often overlooked, nothing pairs better with that first cup of coffee than an opportunity to make connections, engage and have fun. Team building during breakfast is a grrrrrreat way to start the day.
So if you’re organizing a company-wide conference, or simply planning to treat your colleagues to something special to kick off their day, consider a team building wake up.
Why Put Team Building First
Team building brings your colleagues together and gets them on the same page. It helps everyone remember the “why” behind the day-to-day challenges and achievements of your business.
Starting the day with great content and helping people reconnect with values and mission will help you optimize for the rest of the day. When done correctly, team building during breakfast can actually boost efficiency and cut down on inter-office drama.
Show you care – Companies that cultivate a vibrant corporate culture put their people first, so team building events happen consistently. Team members understand that the expectation for growth and development is part of a succesful culture. Therefore, continuing education opportunities for personal growth on a consistent basis are not only accepted, they’re welcome.
Transparency – The lines of communication stay open when colleagues have outlets to express both ideas and vent frustrations. This type of transparency also fosters innovation. People want to feel free to share new ideas and to know that others hear what they have to say. Good team building helps accomplish this.
Anytime, anywhere – Team building can happen nearly anywhere, anytime. At your office, at breakfast while traveling, you name it. You just have to look for opportunities. From professionally facilitated team building companies like us here at Kidbilly Music, to DIY programs, there are countless opportunities to incorporate teamwork into your breakfast meetings.
5 Ideas For Team Building During Breakfast
When a company has a “check the box” attitude about team building, they often don’t take the time to source great programs. That gives team programs a bad rap since poorly planned programs are often boring or irrelevant. While it may seem easy to check the box just to say you’ve done some team work, it’s really counter productive.
The good news is, it’s not too hard to find great team building that works during breakfast. Below are five ideas to get you started. These options are morning kick-offs that deliver quality and engagement. These suggestions will help you bring out the best in your people; both individually, and collectively.
Singing A Happy Tune – Songs have a special way of evoking emotion and memories. Music is already an integral part of everyone’s life. So choosing a musical program ensures that everyone will be able to connect. Team building through song® is what my company does. Our team of award-winning hit songwriters helps everyone think creatively and work collaboratively to tell your story and sing your song. Work together as one large group or break into smaller teams for some friendly competition. Inhibitions melt way when people are swept into a collaborative brainstorming activity and realize they won’t be singled out for a solo. We’ll get your team snapping their fingers, singing their song and feeling like rock stars. Plus, you’ll walk away with tangible ROI – a recording of the song you create.
Lego® My Eggo – When we’re truly having fun, we’re not posturing or overly self-aware. Our authentic selves shine through…kind of like a kid playing with Legos®. I had the great pleasure of experiencing a Lego® team building event a few years back. This program is professionally facilitated, and needs to be. Using Lego blocks you’ll build models that illustrate the current state of your team or your company and then you’ll build models that illustrate where you’d like your organization to go. Everyone works individually with their own bricks at first. Then, working with the people at your breakfast table, you’ll pull the best pieces of each person’s model to create an ideal model of what you’re all visioning…sorta like building the future!
Coffee Talk – Monthly chats are a simple and very effective DIY idea that’s easy to pull off anywhere; at a conference table or even over video chat for remote teams. Grab a bag of bagels and a carafe of coffee. Set aside thirty minutes (or a full hour if you can) and set this one rule; no work topics. This ensures that the conversation stays communal and not task-driven. You can set a specific theme each month, like sports, music, gardening or hobbies. Or let the team take it the conversation wherever it may go. That being said, a team leader should moderate. This is a great ice breaker for morning meetings, building trust and breaking down barriers.
Cooking It Up – This program can be professionally facilitated or DIY. One way to ensure your team eats the most important meal of the day is to make it yourself. Local chefs or hospitality groups and companies like Sur le Table lead these types of events for companies all the time. Learning about new ingredients, creating recipes together, following instructions and working as a team to achieve a beautiful dish is a delicious idea for breakfast team building. You can even make it DIY and have each team member bring in a favorite breakfast recipe. Or create a panel of judges from another department and have your own “Cooking Championship.” The only challenge might be deciding who’ll do the dishes…
Story Time – Stories aren’t just for bed time anymore. Story slams are a way for everyone to learn more about each other. Through storytelling, you’ll learn something new about your co-workers as they reveal something about themselves they probably wouldn’t ordinarily share. You can facilitate a story slam yourself or bring in a professional to lead your group. Here are some DIY tips: Start by providing categories for topics such as work meltdowns, a great or an awful sports experience, a worst or best date or the dream vacation. The possibilities are endless. Good stories always involve a splash of drama and usually a bit of exaggeration. People won’t be bored. In fact, typically the stories just get better and better as each unfolds.
Well, there you have it. If you want to start your day off strong, or if it’s simply the only agenda time you have available, team building during breakfast really works.
More and more these days we’re facilitating team building for remote teams. We’re seeing groups with team members who perform the same job, based in multiple geographic areas. And we’re seeing groups with team members who work remotely from home while covering a specific territory.
Most of the programs my company leads are face to face; when remote teams gather together. But we’re also beginning to address the need for remote team building activities, a/k/a virtual team building.
Honestly, I still like face to face programs the best. There’s nothing like being in the same room with your colleagues when it comes to trust building and sharing best practices. That being said, remote teams need activities that will help them optimize for success on an ongoing basis, even when they can’t come together for what’s considered to be traditional team building.
The Challenges for Remote Teams
I recently led team building for a remote team from a digital marketing company. In fact, the entire company took part in the program, about 30 people in total. More than half of the participants had never met before and yet almost all of them had been working together for over a year! This team exemplified the challenges people face when they don’t have old-fashioned interaction on a consistent basis.
The challenges for remote teams include –
One dimensional: People that only connect virtually tend to have one dimensional relationships and often misleading impressions of the co-workers they’ve never met. Face to face team building allows participants to see the fuller and more real picture of their colleagues. You’ll dispel some false assumptions and vastly improve the ability to communicate going forward by better understanding who your colleagues really are.
Sharing best practices: It’s hard to share best practices in a robust way when everyone is remote. A good team building program will help people experience the optimal ways to take advantage of each other’s knowledge and various skill sets. Being able to debate ideas and experience strengths and weaknesses in a positive hands on environment is important. This sets the stage for team members to better understand how to utilize the contributions of everyone in the group over the long term.
Road map to better team function: When everyone is together in an informal, interactive and supported setting, there’s great opportunity to discuss group dynamics and lay out a road map for how to implement better communication, strategy and knowledge sharing for the future. The future I’m referring to here is the normal day-to-day remote existence.
F2F vs. Virtual Team Building
I’m being a bit dramatic with my face-to-face vs. virtual headline. Because honestly, both types of team building have their place. While it’s vital to bring remote teams together from time to time for face-to-face interaction, virtual team building is important too; to build better function over time.
These programs listed below all provide good team building for remote teams.
Team Building Through Song: Yes, this is what we do here at Kidbilly Music. But honestly, this really rocks for when remote teams come together to spend quality time. Innovation, creativity, humor, leadership, compromise and shared goals are all part of the process of team building through songwriting. Everyone quickly gets involved as inhibitions melt away and ideas are floated out there, discussed, debated and ultimately brought together into a unified team vision. You’ll create a powerful take-away, your original song. Music is a universal language – it’s something we all have in common. Sharing musical experience is a great way for remote teams to get to know each other’s personalities, talents and to see how different communication styles work, or sometimes don’t work!
Story Slam: A well-facilitated storytelling program is a great way to deepen connections between remote team members. Sharing stories is a great way for everyone who participates to learn more about each other. When we tell a story we reveal a bit of ourselves to our listeners. That willingness to share a bit of our lives breaks down barriers and consequently builds trust. Story based team programs can and should be constructed to address your specific themes, goals and challenges. With remote teams, the concluding part of your session could include everyone collectively creating the story for how you’ll continue to collaborate on an ongoing basis.
Virtual Team Building Activities:
How about a DIY MTV Cribs-inspired video series? Team members can shoot video to show off their homes and personality a la the classic TV show.
There are companies offering online scavenger hunts and even escape room type virtual programs. These include competition which is great to keep remote team members engaged in the activity. Do a google search for virtual team building and you’ll find some great resources.
Monthly chats are great ways to get to know more about remote colleagues. Create rules to ensure these chats are really for team building so that they don’t become task driven: So your main rule is that these chats can NOT be about work topics. Talk about whatever strikes your interest: sports, weather, politics, personal interests, hobbies, passion projects, etc.
Optimize Your Remote Team For Success
Remote teams are here to stay. Technology makes it not only possible, but optimal for so many of us. It provides convenience and great life style choices for employees. It can provide cost savings for employers. And happy employees provide added cost savings because happy employees equal less attrition and more engagement.
New technology and new work dynamics also provide new challenges with possible negatives. You want to be smart and you’ll want to create the support for those new challenges to ensure that your group not only succeeds, but thrives. Don’t assume that you don’t need to plan group activities because you’re not the traditional group.
The downside of working remotely is the risk that team members may feel disconnected, alone or unsupported during times of challenge. Team building for remote teams is vital to build and maintain a feeling of connectedness.
Remote teams also run the risk of being less aligned on big picture goals like vision and mission. To address this you’ll need to bring everyone together face-to-face, to allow your group quality time to explore vision and mission. Employees will be much more engaged if they feel like they’ve contributed to creating your team’s vision and mission. This deep work is best done when everyone’s together.
Feeling a sense of ownership of one’s work is always a good thing. For remote employees, a feeling of ownership is absolutely vital. Working remotely requires more motivation and self-discipline than in the traditional office environment. In a sense, remote employees have to be their own bosses for part of the time.
Team building activities for your remote team should not be viewed as extra-curricular. Make this investment in your team’s success and it will pay of exponentially.
Whether you’re based in the Windy City or coming here for a meeting, you won’t be disappointed by the variety and quality of Chicago team building activities to choose from.
Some of the most intelligent, creative and entrepreneurial minds in the world flock to Chicago to start tech companies, work at medical centers, restaurants, theaters and more. This is just the place to get the creative juices flowing, build morale, and increase engagement.
Informal Outings For Your Team
Simply enjoying Chicago together can have real value. The benefits might not be as immediate or recognizable as a professionally facilitated team program, but you can build trust and camaraderie by simply spending quality time together out of your work space.
This article includes a list of my 5 favorite professionally facilitated team building programs in Chicago. But before we get to that list, I thought I’d share ideas for informal outings that will help you build relationships with your colleagues.
While not your traditional idea of Chicago team building activities, doing any of the below with your work team has validity.
Feel the Blues – Did you know that Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Cream, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience all credit the Chicago urban blues scene for influencing their styles? Take in a show at Buddy Guy’s Legends blues club or the House of Blues. Sit back, get to know each other in a different setting and have a little fun together.
Shoot for the Stars – One of my favorite things to do in Chicago is visit the Adler Planetarium. They have a top-notch museum and educational center for the casual curious mind and future space explorer alike. You can literally spend hours getting lost in space in there. Once you get your head out of the clouds, hop on over to nearby Navy Pier overlooking beautiful Lake Michigan.
Get a Little Artsy – The sculpture, Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”) proudly sits just outside of Grant Park in the very popular Loop area of Chicago. Grab your group and take a selfie with the famous sculpture, then head over to Tavern at the Park for a little lunch al fresco. Since you’re just around the corner, you should stop at The Art Institute of Chicago. You can’t miss seeing Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, or Grant Wood’s American Gothic. The art and the history will likely inspire great conversation among your group.
Batter Up – Taking in a Cubs game is one the most popular outings for both Chicago residents and visitors. And now there’s a whole new Wrigley Field that makes visiting even more fun. The second oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country recently got a face lift. While you may not consider going to a ball game with your work crew one of the traditional Chicago team building activities, there’s real value in the bonding that will most definitely occur. Sharing with your peers, creating memories and forging better bonds; what’s wrong with that?
Top 5 Chicago Team Building Activities
When you want or need professionally facilitated team programs, The Windy City won’t let you down. Here are ideas to consider.
Tell Your Story, Sing Your Song – I’m passionate, and admittedly a bit biased, about my company’s program, Team Building Through Song®. But with Chicago’s rich musical history, it’s one of the ultimate Chicago team building activities. We’ve led songwriting programs at Buddy Guy’s blues club, at historic recording studios and even on the shores of Lake Michigan (during the summer)! If you’re at a hotel for a big conference, our large group programs fit for up to several thousand people. Whether you’re part of a corporate team, a small company or an association you have a message and culture that differentiates you from others. Song programs will help you tell your group story. You’ll create powerful takeaways as you write your own team chart toppers. Music brings a great mash up of intellect and emotion, great for motivation and engagement. But bottom line and most important, programs with music are fun!
Laugh it Off – Perhaps the most distinguished improve company in America is in Chicago: The Second City. Alumni include Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, and the list goes on. You and your group will learn techniques to help you think on your feet, communicate, and collaborate. Think you got what it takes to make ‘em laugh?
Swing Into Action – For a unique, dare-devilish experience, The Trapeze School in Chicago might fit the bill. You and your team will encourage each other to face your fears, let go and try new challenges together. Ready to take a risk and build trust? Leotards aren’t required…!
Game On – Some people aren’t big on party games, but I love a good old fashion game night. Leave your inhibitions at the door and let Game Night Out turn up the competition factor within your group. Break into teams, play games that are familiar to the ones you know and love, but are different enough to provide a true challenge. You’ll work together to capture the coveted title of team champs!
See What’s Cooking – Chicago Dine Around offers a variety of programs where you can tour different restaurants and taste test culinary cuisine from the best Chicago has to offer. The real team building value comes from their program where you cook together. Your group will use problem solving and team work to make your own unique recipes. Maybe you’ll even create your own deep dish pizza. Move over Lou Malnati’s!
Formal or informal, summer or winter, resident or visitor…Chicago is a fantastic place to live, to work and to partake in quality experience for your work team.
Is team building worth it? There are so many negative cliches about team programs that it’s hard to initiate an activity with a positive attitude from your colleagues. And even though I’m a professional team building facilitator, I get that!
As a member of a community organization, I recently participated in a team building program. Leading up to the event, I found that even I was making wisecracks; wondering what kind of potentially uncomfortable activity I’d be forced to participate in. I was pleasantly surprised to take part in a program that was really fun and brought us all closer together.
When done properly team building is worth it. And there is need.
The Need For Team Building
Every company has their own culture. Whether it’s been intentionally created or not, it’s there. When moods are good and productivity is high, then the metrics tend to follow a positive trajectory. Conversely, when there’s tension between departments; when people feel overworked and under appreciated the numbers often slump along with retention rates.
It’s difficult to prove specific ROI from team building because the benefits are intrinsic to each company’s culture. But here is what we do know about the value of team building:
Increased Engagement – When people believe in their work and are treated as valuable parts of a team, they work harder and happier. Team building helps increase this type of engagement through bonding and trust building that comes from genuine shared experience.
Improved Communication – Everyone likes to be heard and understood. That’s Human Nature 101. When deadlines are upon us and colleagues are busy vying for upward mobility in the company, good communication often gets neglected. Even worse, we shoot down other people’s ideas. Team programs can improve communication by giving everyone a chance to share ideas and to come to solutions together in a positive, collaborative setting.
Strengthened Trust – How can trust not be stronger if the two benefits above are in place? When people feel engaged, heard, and understood, they trust that they’re of value to the company and will be treated as valued members of the organization. This feeling of value and trust leads to higher retention rates and more efficiency. Happy people work better.
When your key stakeholders ask you, “Is team building worth it?” – ask them if increased engagement, communication and trust are worth achieving!
5 Attributes Of Worthwhile Team Building
So hopefully now you’re inspired to do some team building. Nobody wants to throw good money after bad. In short you’ll want to make sure your team building is worth it; worth the time and effort it takes to pull off an event.
After years of experience bringing successful team building to clients all over the world, here’s a guide with 5 ideas to help set you up for success in a team program.
Have Fun – Meeting deadlines and keeping customers happy is serious business but team building doesn’t have to be. A group experience is the time to put the day-to-day stress of your work aside. Allow your time together to be truly fun! Shared fun deepens relationships and builds camaraderie. This has intrinsic value that will carry over to your team’s daily work life.
Keep it goal oriented – Just because you’re having fun doesn’t mean team building shouldn’t center around company goals. Keep the creativity, inspiration and collaboration from the team building activity focused on the company mission or a major departmental goal. Having a focal point will help the event go more smoothly.
Be authentic – Your people are likely a little cynical towards the idea of team building for fear they’ll be asked to do a cheesy activity. You know your people. So choose something that suits your culture and the personalities involved. Team building should help people loosen up, not build walls. And it should never, ever embarrass anyone.
Push comfort zones – A little discomfort isn’t the same thing as embarrassment. What challenges you changes you, right? No one I’ve known has ever grown by staying inside their bubble. Get your people thinking differently. Select an event that challenges each person to speak up, get involved and interact.
Consider the competition – Gaining buy-in for team building is a easier when a reward is on the line. Competition is a strong motivator, even for (and maybe especially for) adults. Find a team building activity that involves some level of competition. Even my musical program, Team Building Through Song® allows teams to compete for prizes like “Best Performance” or “Best Song”. My point is that you don’t have to be sport oriented and embark on challenging physical activities to incorporate competition and reward.
I completely understand why leaders often skeptically ask, “Is team building worth it?” But consider the higher cost if your team isn’t cohesive, productive, and happy. If you make team programs a regular part of your organization’s activities you’ll see the benefits both in the short term and the long run. Here’s a resource for motivational team building programs to get you started.
I know I’m biased since team building is what I do for a living, but I truly believe that team programs should be at the top of every company’s priority list. I think my bias is warranted because I’ve seen tangible results; with improved communication among teams and the power that comes when co-workers have fun together. But, I get it – life is busy and work is even busier. So it’s hard to find time for team building.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could plan a team building lunch?
Team building during lunch is a great solution because it fits into a set time limit and it can be DIY or professionally facilitated. And very importantly, everybody gets to eat a good lunch! If done effectively, your colleagues will love this. This could be good news for your talent retention rate, employee engagement, company culture, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Delectable Ideas For A Team Building Lunch
So let’s cut to the chase and get you on your way to a successful luncheon. I’ve curated two lists to help you choose the right approach for your group, DIY ideas and professionally facilitated team building programs. Both lists can be customized to fit within a lunch timetable.
DIY Team Programs
The “Yes” Game – There’s not much worse than being told your thoughts or suggestions are bad. This game illustrates the innovation that can occur when we work together and consider what’s possible, instead of focusing on the negative challenges. Here’s how to play: Divide your team into sets of three people each, have them choose who will begin, and put 2 minutes on the clock for each round.
Round 1: The first person describes a party they’d like to plan. After each idea is verbalized, person #2 says “No, because…” and gives a reason that idea won’t work. The two players carry on a conversation like this for 2 minutes.
Round 2: When time’s up, person #2 has a chance to describe a different party they’d like to plan. After each idea is verbalized, person #3 says, “Yes, but…” and gives a reason for their hesitation. This continues for 2 minutes.
Round 3: Person #3 describes their party. After each idea is verbalized, person #1 says, “Yes, and…” then gives some more creative ideas. They converse for 2 minutes. Debrief by asking each group to describe the difference and results with each round to discover how “yes and” can be implemented more often at your company.
Think, Write, Share – This is a popular facilitation technique that can be extremely useful for team building exercises. But it’s also effective in every day group meetings because it allows introverts and extroverts alike to utilize their strengths:
Here’s how: Provide paper and pens for each team member. Pose a work-related challenge to the entire group. For example, “Consider ways we can attract more customers to visit our website.” Put three to five minutes on the clock, and ask the group to quietly write down as many ideas as they can in the time allotted. Then, go around the room one at a time and ask each team member to share just one idea. If time allows, go around the group again and ask for a second idea. Set a ground rule: no idea is bad. So tell everyone that sarcastic or negative remarks aren’t welcome.
Here’s why it works: Extroverts often like to externally process. This can be interruptive to introverts who need to sit with their ideas before expressing them. Writing first allows extroverts to process immediately and allows introverts to sift through and prepare their thoughts. Setting a rule to share one idea at a time ensures that extroverts don’t take over the brainstorm session and challenges introverts to be heard. When you do this, you’ll get to hear your entire team’s creativity and innovative ideas. That’s worth it’s weight in gold.
Green Light/Red Light – This is a two-part activity. Similarly to Think, Write, Share, everyone’s ideas are heard. The best part is the solution is created together!
Step 1 (Green Light Thinking): Pose a challenge or problem to the entire group. For example: “Our sales were down last month. How can we ramp up our prospecting to fill our pipeline?” Go around the room one at a time and ask for ideas. Embrace the spontaneity; the metaphorical green light is on! Write every single idea down on flip chart paper or a white board for all to see. Ask your team not to filter or self-edit their thoughts. Even if the only thing in someone’s head is, “Gobble-di-goo, “ encourage them to say it aloud and write it down. It’s important to brush the mental cobwebs out so that the creative juices can really start to flow. Sometimes, the cobwebs turn out to be happy accidents. If you’re the boss and you have ideas, add them last. After the brainstorming session is over, leave it alone. Don’t judge any ideas or come to any conclusions. Thank the group and end the session. At least a 24 hour window is required to let Green Light Thinking marinate. Keep the flip chart paper or white board in full view for all to see until you return for Step 2.
Step 2 (“Red Light Thinking): 24 hours to a week later, come back together for “Red Light Thinking”. Ask the group to review all of the ideas and speak aloud which ideas seem most viable. Put a check mark next to each suggestion. Then, as a team, whittle down to the best possible solution and make an action plan. If multiple ideas are best, decide how to implement them all. Place any contentious or tangential ideas in a “parking lot” by jotting them down to the side. You can always come back to ideas as long as they’re written down and not lost! This two step process also gives you a great excuse for yet another team building lunch.
Professionally Facilitated Team Programs
If the pressure and accountability of DIY isn’t your thing, no sweat. There are great choices available for professionally facilitated team building during lunch. Sit back and invite a professional in to plan and facilitate an effective lunch time activity.
Here are a few programs at the top of my list:
Cook Your Own – Cooking programs are engaging, delicious, and a natural team activity. As your people work together to create recipes for lunch, they’ll also be creating a recipes for success as they solve problems, delegate, and collaborate. And the pay off is great too. Sharing a meal together is important because it allows time for relaxation, bonding, great conversation and good food.
Sing (and write) For Your Supper — Full disclosure; this is what we do here at Kidbilly Music. Our team building events are all music, all the time. And honestly, for a lunch program you can’t beat music. Music is already an integral part of every social activity, be it a concert, a day at the beach or a sporting event. Through songwriting, you and your team members can create your own musical memories and party like rockstars! We’ve developed a team building lunch program that’s fun and still gets real results. Our facilitators will guide you with questions to get you talking and sharing. You’ll turn ideas into themes, themes into lyrics and then you’ll make your own music.
Lego® of My Lunch — Legos® aren’t just for kids anymore. Using Lego blocks you’ll build models that illustrate the current state of your team or your company and then you’ll build models that illustrate where you’d like your organization to go. Everyone works individually with their own bricks at first. Then, working with the people at your lunch table, you’ll pull the best pieces of each person’s model to create an ideal model of what you’re all visioning. Talk about building the future; this is it!
Everyone’s always busy. Agenda’s are squeezed and we tend to get overwhelmed, with no time to engage and relax together. When you create opportunity for team building over lunch, you’ll feel like you’re optimizing your time well. But most importantly, you’ll recharge and energize, setting the stage for a great rest of the day and ultimately; a better work culture.
Here are more resources for lunchtime inspiration from my previous blogs:
Motivational team building activities shouldn’t be so hard to find… but they are. How many times have you planned what promised to be a great program but then you find yourself sitting in the back row, smiling at the facilitator’s catchy sound bites in between inconspicuously checking your email on your device by holding it low behind the seat in front of you.
How many times have you left a program wondering what happened to all of the time, talent and resources you spent to inspire? Where are the results?
Too often I speak with leaders looking for a team building program who have been let down before. The truth is, nobody really likes the idea of having to do a team building event. But everybody likes the idea of having a motivated employee and team. So, let’s consider this: What elements do motivational team building activities need to have in order to be successful?
Elements of Good Motivational Team Building
You want people to recharge, get re-energized and to feel connected to your team’s mission and purpose. When we connect with underlying mission and purpose we’re inherently more motivated.
Here are some important elements a team program should have to help you re-energize, reconnect and come away with positive feelings that lead to positive performance behaviors.
Fun – Find a genuinely fun program! Don’t underestimate the value in fun.
Purpose – Find an activity that helps focus your people on mission and purpose.
Creativity – Find a program that requires everyone to think creatively.
Negative To Positive – While genuine team building always allows people to vent and express themselves make sure that your program moves through stages from venting any negativity to exploring the positive, ultimately leading to positive outcomes and behavior.
Take Aways – Make sure your team building facilitators provide context and take-aways. You’ll want to carry over what you’ve experienced to your daily team work. This last piece ensures that your motivational team building activity will provide real value.
So, how do you know if a team building event will accomplish these goals and be a good fit for your group? Here’s a foundational thought to keep in mind. “There is only one way to get people to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” – Dale Carnegie
How To Find It – Asking Questions
You need to do a bit of work up front and answer some questions in order to know what you’re looking for so you can find the best fit for your group:
What are your goals for this activity?
What do you want your people to do differently after this experience?
Will this program genuinely engage all of us?
If you’re planning a DIY activity, then tie your company or team’s mission and purpose into the program you plan. If you’re interested in bringing in a professional team building facilitator make sure they ask the right questions. Make sure they take the time to understand your goals and your mission.
Attributes Of The Best Team Events
Okay, so we’ve asked the right questions, we know what we want the end result to be after this team building experience. How do we know if we’re choosing a truly effective exercise? There are specific attributes to consider when choosing a team building activity:
Participation – I always say to potential clients that we don’t pull people into our programs. Rather, we draw them in. I hate forced activities; they’re uncomfortable and alienating. The good news is regardless of the size of your group, there are great programs that do get get folks involved and re-ignite passion! I’ll share some specific program ideas below
Collaboration – A great team event will take interaction to the next level and will inspire team work, not just individual participation. Make sure the team building exercise you choose offers built-in opportunities for collaboration.
Innovation – Everyone loves their own ideas! Give your people a chance to express them by offering activities that require creative thinking and problem solving to innovate new ideas and feel empowered.
Authenticity – Your people will want to know what this team building activity has to do with them. It’s not about the facilitator. It’s not about delivering a punch line or a catchy quote that you might see stamped on a set of cute coasters in the store. It’s about doing something that gets them thinking, working together, and the f word again — fun!
Competition – Appealing to people’s competitive edge often motivates them like nothing else can! A bit of competition always peaks people’s interest and the desire to engage. You don’t have to get into extreme challenges to provide competition. The ideas below create fun competition without making you climb mountains or ropes; although those programs are great too for the right kind of group!
3 Good Motivational Team Building Activities
So now without further delay, here are motivational team building programs I’ve found to be engaging and effective.
Story Slam – 5 minutes, a theme, and the truth. That’s all you need for a good Story Slam. This program has the authenticity and participation pieces built right in. Choose a theme, then each participant takes a turn telling a true story based on their own experience around that theme for 5 minutes. Add in a competitive element by judging the stories and viola! You’ve got yourself a team activity that allows everyone to engage, learn something new about their peers, speak from the heart, and empathize with each other. Team Building Through Song – Yes, this is my company’s program. So naturally I believe in the team building we do which is guiding your people to tell your company’s story through songwriting. Fun is an understatement with this activity! You can write one song in a large group setting, or break your group into teams to write their own songs and add that competitive spirit. There’s nothing better than starting with a blank canvas, coming up with ideas bringing it all together. You’ll come away with a compelling song representing the best of who you are and what you do. You can build competition into this by vying for awards such as ‘Best Song’ or ‘Best Performance’. Escape Game – Solving a series of clues in order to get out of a locked room with a time limit? This has team work written all over it! Your people are forced to collaborate to solve mysteries and find their way out. And this isn’t your child’s easter egg hunt. The clues are typically really tough. It’s interesting to discover how different teams strategize and deputize in order to accomplish the mission. Nobody likes to lose and have a staff member let you out of the room, so you’re guaranteed to have motivated team members working together.
Take time to develop and understand your purpose and goals with every team building program you consider. Choose an activity that allows your people to express their authentic voices. They want to participate and have fun, not listen to a talking head.