What was the reaction the last time you announced to your team that there would be a team building activity coming soon? Was it a grimace? A groan? A look of a deer in the headlights? Excitement? When it comes to team building activities, many come to mind such as wine tasting, ropes courses, and trust falls. Each of these activities is distinctly different in their purposes. Upon further inspection, you may realize that one of those activities is relationship building rather than team building.
Team building, as implied in the phrase itself, should be about building your team up. Team building works on building trust, improving communication, and cultivating collaboration among team members as well as developing skills in time management, problem-solving, and leadership. Team building activities should incorporate an element of relationship building as well. While a wine tasting may be great for relationship building (or not so great depending on how much wine was consumed), it is not likely to greatly improve the majority of team skills you wish your team to hone. Whereas trust falls and ropes courses may foster collaboration, it does not necessarily augment any other elements of a good team. A strong team building activity advances your team abilities to work as a team while also connecting your team on a personal level. If you have done team building activities with your employees in the past that did not focus on developing a defined skill set and flopped, it may be time to try some out-of-the-box team building activities geared towards the valuable skills you are seeking to cultivate.
Build-A-Bike foments collaboration, communication, problem-solving, leadership, and time management. Groups are given a time limit as well as limited tools to construct a child’s bike. Teams will have to collaborate with other teams to get the tools that they are missing to complete the bike. Leadership and communication come into play when deciding who will construct, who will run for the parts, who will trade tools, etc. Problem-solving arises as teams face missing parts and tools as well as any technical difficulties with putting the actual bike together. Teams must complete their bikes within a given time frame, so they must watch the clock as they work and determine how much time to spend on each task. Your team members will come away from this particular team building activity with a sense of accomplishment as well as gratification due to the fact that all the fully constructed bikes will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of America. So in addition to developing a vital skill set, Build-a-Bike gives participants the ability to create something that lasts. It will be a team-building activity not easily forgotten.
Imagine a symphony of drums rhythmically sounding together for your next out-of-the-box team building activity. One particular company that offers such services is Drum4Work located in Greenville, SC. Their site states that this team building activity will “improve Communication, inspire Connection, enhance Creativity, encourage Collaboration, and build Community.” The shared experience of learning the new skill of drumming builds community within your team. The harmonious vibrations of moving in the same manner and rhythm of drums will get your team on the same wavelength. Collaborating with other team members who have been assigned the same rhythm and watching their cues will also improve your team’s ability to communicate. Your team will work together in harmony to produce beautiful music together. This team building activity is sure to get energies high and will imprint itself in your team’s minds while enhancing the skills of communication, collaboration, and creativity.
Scavenger Hunt team building experiences can look pretty different, but in most of them, teams are given a list of tasks to accomplish and document their progress via photos or videos. Some scavenger hunts may require participants to share their progress via social media or they may share when they come back together as a group. On Purpose Adventures, a team building company based out of Charleston, offers a GPS Scavenger Hunt that has participants finding historical places throughout Charleston in search for clues to complete their task. Along the way participants will be faced with “riddles, brain-teasers, and comfort zone stretchers.” Scavenger hunts offer the opportunity to broaden communication, collaboration, creativity, and time management. Team members will have the pictures and videos to document this “out of the boredroom” activity.
Self Defense Class
Few things build a sense of community better than being in a class together learning and practicing a new skill. Self Defense Classes will give your team a sense of empowerment as they gain abilities that will heighten their sense of strength and security. In a self defense class, Team members will work on building trust, improving communication, and cultivating collaboration as they learn their new skills. One particular company that offers self defense classes for corporate team building activities is Charleston Krav Maga. Available for group seminars, 6 week sessions, and corporate wellness programs, these self defense classes teach Krav Maga, a branch of self defense that was developed by the Israeli Army for their soldiers. This type of self defense is efficient and is based on real-world situations that people might find themselves in. By offering this team building activity, you will give your team members a continued shared experience with chances for communication and trust building that will also add value to their lives outside of work.
Corporate Language Training
As is the case with doing team building through self defense classes, corporate language training as a team building activity will take place over a longer period of time. Corporate language training builds up trust, collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. It takes a whole new level of trust to attempt pronouncing foreign words for the first time with your colleagues. The potential for comradery and bonding through starting at level zero in a language is unique to this type of team building. Problem-solving comes into play due to team members being limited in their vocabulary. They will have to work out a way to communicate their ideas by talking around what they want to say until they express their idea. For example, a team member may not know how to say “blueberry”, but they can say “the blue fruit.” They will problem-solve to work around the missing word and still get their message across. Learning a new language has endless potential for improving communication. When learning a language, team members will realize that words and the way things are phrased have the potential to make or break communication. Collaborating while conversing and working out meaning and language structures will build your team’s cohesion. Not only will your team be working on all the team building skills, they will also be gaining a life skill that can help them advance in their career and add value to your company as well.
Which of these unique team building activities do you wish your company would offer? Which ones would you like to offer to your company?