Outdoor Team Building Activities

Dear Boss, I am sure you love us enough as to somehow get us budget approval for some team building games. So, last evening, after work, we all went together to the pub near office. When the bill came, I used your credit card number and pin, which you had given me to pay to send your wife flowers for your wedding anniversary last month.

The team building event already had a positive effect on the business: you want all interactions to lead to call backs to you for more business, right? Well, the pub owner was really interested in giving you a call. On a related note, the team has to take a day off tomorrow….

Is wondering how you can get budgets for offsites for your teams one of your favorite preoccupations?

If you are lucky, you belong to a firm that sets aside money every year for a or for multiple team outings. One of our clients has a sum of money allocated per employee every year for out-of-office team building activities and outbounds. All they have to do then is sit back and wait desperately for their turn to come.

The minute their money is allocated, they rush to us to quickly book their team building activities and team building travel destinations in India. As we have been their outbound partners for years, we know their preferences, their last year’s travel destinations, and are able to help them their optimize their travel budget.

If you work for a company that has no money allocated especially for team building outside office and outdoor team building activities, do not lose heart. I have many clients who have managed to start this practice in their organizations.

How did they get their firms to start setting aside money for team building games and overnight team outings?

If you belong to a traditional industry (link to wiki sight on traditional industries) (list traditional industries here pls) … play the millennial card! Share some research data on the restlessness of young teams, their love for the outdoor team building activities and the impact that playing games and eating well has on their creativity and performance (can we link this to our website pages where we speak of the impact of outdoor team building activities and high energy play on thinking? Harward Review etc). Be polite, respectful but assertive.

If you belong to new industry (list new industries here pls), the same strategy should work. However, whom you should play this card with may vary. You could try your learning and development team, your team’s HR business partner etc.

If you are asking for money, have a clear plan in place.

Think small, and be realistic, to start with. We work with one client whose teams come to us every single year with requests for quotations for team travel to the most exotic destinations conceivable. Eventually, they travel to well worn destinations within a 500 km radius from their offices. The same story repeats every single year!

You are more likely to get money if you go for approvals with a concrete plan of destinations, estimates of travel, objectives to be achieved on your knowledge of the unique business needs and challenges of your LOB (line of business) or team and a schedule.

We do that every day every hour for multiple of our teams. We hate having to dampen their unrealistic hopes, at times, but we feel gratified when we are atleast able to ensure that almost every team that comes to us for this kind of consultancy actually finds a solution and gets to go somewhere.

Where does the money come from?

This is an important question you should address.

Every company has a training and learning budget. You could try to tap into this.

Do some internal investigation and background checks on your training team. Make friends with them over lunch and at the coffee corner.

Then, insinuate yourself into their lives as an influencer and thought leader. Address their key concerns, and by doing so, tap into their budget.

What would their KRAs be? To ensure training that gets great feedback, and create a general buzz around the office for organizing popular training programs. To win the appreciation and acknowledgement of managers of the efficacy of the training that was delivered.

Prove that this will happen, and the money is yours! If you follow the advice of my father, who was a CFO : always ensure your salary (in this case, your team building games budget approval)  is paid before others get theirs!

Is your team generating good revenue for your company?

If the answer is yes, then your team head and his or her boss could be a good target.

Most of our business comes from the delivery heads of revenue-earning teams. Their goal is simple. Every rupee spent must generate ten more.

Here, you are on a winning wicket. Because, learning is the one area that it is hard to quantify. You can only put people through a great experience and hope that they will produce better for the company through this.

Plan an outbound in which your boss gets an hour to present his targets and strategies. Give your meeting an inspiring name and theme (can we connect to programs where we have done this?) Find a nice, fun set of team activities you can run in house, or hire an end to end team building firm who can give you a destination and a set of engagements to suit your objectives and theme, and you’re ready to go.

The talent hiring team of an MNC client of ours combined their learning budget and their team engagement budget to give them a sum of money good enough for them to manage team building outings every quarter. Food for thought for you, dear readers.

Once you do get your budget, you must ensure you behave responsibly. Unfortunately, many teams view team building programs as company-sponsored parties. This thinking is very short sighted.

You may get your money once. But unless you ensure that the bosses genuinely feel confident that they achieved better performances after your outing, you will not only never get to go again – but, you would also have ruined the prospects of other teams in this direction too.

So go get your money, go on your team outing, work hard and party hard together, and come back with the genuine commitment to do good for your employers.

With this formula in place, you are bound to get money again soon!