Everyone understands what fun team building activities are.
Almost every corporate team today has done them in some manner at some point.
This is the most exciting and fun part of your team outing. So, have fun finding the perfect team building activity and partner.
Say No to Conventional Team Building Games.
Today, you have a wide variety of exercises to choose from.
CSI type murder mysteries
Escape rooms that can be set up anywhere you like
War strategy games in which you become medieval warriors and strategize to capture enemy fortresses
Minute to Win It Challenges in which your entire team is engaged in a laugh riot.
How To Choose Your Fun Team Building Activities
Spend some time reflecting on your team, its tastes and preferences.
Are they an outdoorsy lot? Do they like to play outdoor games, (link to Riti’s Rounders) like the kind you played in school playgrounds.
What is the gender mix? I do not mean to stereotype at all, but in my experience I find that largely male dominated teams love soccer type game(s, link to four way soccer) and often, teams with a large number of women enjoy Bollywood movie enacting type activities (link to Bollywood Hungama.)
There are certain thumb rules you can apply.
Senior managers and leaders usually like to challenge their brains in addition to their bodies. In the mysteries and escape rooms we run for our corporate clientele, we always find that leaders are more interested in questioning our live “suspects,” co-relating evidence found and arriving at a well thought out solution.
Secondly, as the selector of your team’s team building games, do not confuse your own preferences with that of the lowest common denominator. Get your team involved in the selection process.
Choose a learning partner who has a good website and a wide variety of clearly explained programs to select from.
Interview your Facilitator and Your Learning Partner thoroughly
Training firms are always better than individual freelance trainers only because they have access to a wider variety of training facilitators and fun team building activities.
They will be a little more expensive than individual trainers. But, I would recommend investing that little more on standardized training
Interview your learning partner firm thoroughly. Ensure that they actually have good trainers with them and are not just outsourcing entire programs to freelance trainers on their data base.
The way to find this out is to get into the finer details of the program, its flow, and its precise outcomes and method of delivery. That will show you if a training company knows its stuff or not.
Also, ensure there is clear communication between the company and the trainer who will deliver the program.
As I head a training firm, I am often asked at meetings whether I would also be the facilitator taking the floor at the program.
When I say no, my clients get quite worried.
We have heard many horror stories from our clients about problems caused by the lack of this. For example, one small team of 9 who people found themselves on Puvar Island in Kerala with a trainer who had come prepared with activities for a 30 member team.
The poor team stood around while the trainer called his boss, paced around the resort angrily saying he had not been given the right information on team size or needs – all after the client team had had long discussions with the training firm on their needs!
Peer Teaching Style
Check on the style of training used and the values or philosophy of the training company.
My company and I are, for example, totally against what we call the fauji style, which is the traditional Indian style of outbound training. It comes from the fact that the origin of outbound training in India was from the army type of ropes courses and obstacle exercises.
Ex service men do make excellent trainers. But, in my opinion, they are better suited for boot camps for freshers and even for strategic thinking training for management.
For standard team outbounds, I ensure our trainers clone me and my values -which is, peer teaching. Treat participants in a program with respect.
Never use words like punishment and obedience. They have no relevance in a corporate environment.
This style of training is easy for my facilitators to follow as they all come from corporate backgrounds themselves.
Many narrate experiences of nasty trainers who converted their entire team building games experience into a distasteful memory.
They speak of trainers who ridiculed participants for coming in late, insisted on starting training close to dawn although this was not what the team had asked for and even pulling up the losing team for poor performance after team games.
Identify the Purpose to be served
Do you have a complex message to be delivered to your team? Team exercises are the perfect way to do this.
We have delivered messages to client teams on managing change from individual line-based support to shared services supporting a broad organization, and moving from wired enterprise products to cloud based.
If your learning partner thinks a software company is no different from a hardware company, and a support team thinks and behaves exactly like a development team, you can expect training that will give you no benefit to your business.
The right kind of training program is always fun, enjoyable, engages all team members and leaves everyone with atleast some self realisation and new thoughts.
We take pride in the fact that our client teams delay lunch times and coffee breaks because they are having too much fun training with us to stop.