Have you run team building workshops that failed to produce the kind of excitement and value you were hoping for? Every manager of an engaged and high-performing team knows how crucial team building events are for continuous success. The problem is that most team building events suck. In some companies, employees feel a shiver of dread when they hear the words ‘team building’.
Managers often ask me why it is so hard to create an effective team building workshop for their employees. The truth is, it’s simple. People just overthink it, and focus too much on teaching and forcing the corporate stuff.
A good team building event builds relationships, and sets the stage for learning and growth. It takes participants on an enjoyable adventure to spark engagement, and ultimately boost the bottom line.
With that in mind, here are two most important questions you need to answer to run an effective team building workshop.
What do they want and need?
The best way to make sure that your event is compelling and memorable is to understand what your team wants and needs. You need to design the team building session from the participants point of view. The workshop is not about you, your needs, the company, or your project. It’s about the people within your team engaging with each other in a meaningful way.
An easy way to do that is to simply ask participants what theme the workshop should have. What would they like to learn? What activities would they enjoy?
Once you have an idea of what they want, your task is to package that theme in a way that’s both, unexpected and a little outside of their comfort zone, to encourage them to come together in new ways.
How can I make it fun?
The most impactful and memorable team building events are the ones that get participants to play together.
Make sure you don't spend more than 30% of the time presenting. The rest of the time should be all about fun, interactive activities.
One recent example that comes to mind: I run an event, where participants had to create a domino cascade. With only a limited amount of time, lots of challenges to be met and specific requirements to be fulfilled, their task was to place the dominoes in such a way that all of them fall over when the cascade is started. You could almost feel the tension and the enthusiasm as the participants delicately set out the dominoes.
The team spent two hours having fun together. The experience brought them closer, and in the end they’ve learned how they can effectively collaborate with each other, without me needing to lecture them on that topic. They said it was the best training they had.
It only took some creative play to make it happen. So, don’t try to overstuff your event with ‘lessons’. Just let your team have fun together.