The phrase “team building games” is something that many people in the corporate world like to opine about. There are plenty of books, websites, and magazine articles dedicated to the concept and the philosophy of the importance of team building and using team building games in corporate life for continued success. What is important to realize about team building games is that they are simply tools used to reach desired goals.

Anytime an organization decides to implement team building into their corporate structure there are plenty of questions that need to be asked as part of an overall plan. Some questions that should be asked are:

  • What is the overall goal of the team building games?
  • Who should be on specific teams?
  • What type of activities will lead to required results?
  • How should teams interact together/with each other?

These questions are not just things to fill up a team information meeting, but questions that are incorporated into an overall strategic goal. Team building games are a lot of fun when done right. However, the games are just a means to an end. The goals that are reached are the gauges of success.

Use Team Building Games Within Strategic Goals

Having a strategy in place to improve the skills needed to reach the top, or stay atop, the corporate world is the limiting factor in success or failure of the initiative in team building.

Typically corporate team building exercises are used to build relationships, break down barriers and to get people to engage with each other in different ways and through different means. A strategy in place for how these things happen can lead the team building hosts in making better choices for games and challenges.

What should your teams look like? What goals should you be strategic about? Here are a few tips to help you answer those questions.

Choose the right team – One part of your strategy is to make sure the right people are on the right teams. Different skills sets and relational abilities make up any team. Putting a right mix of these attributes into a team will help the entire team succeed.

Observe weaknesses – A long term team building initiative requires that your goals include building up weaknesses. This can be done through observing the team members through normal work days and adversities. Incorporate team building games to work on these weaknesses.

Communicate corporate goals – A strategy is only as good as the communication of it. Every team within the corporate structure should know of the overall corporate goals. This means the individual teams that are working in each department, office, or region. Team building games that also incorporate means to work towards an overall goal (while doing their own separate part) will help communicate the corporate goals in a much more practical way.

Strategy is the foundation of any organizational success. The use of team building games within that strategy multiplies that success incrementally. As you develop team building events, or work with team building hosts, develop an overall strategy through key questions and the above tips. You’ll soon see measured success as each goal is met.

A successful company today is one that continues to push the boundaries of innovation, remain at the front of technology, and provide stellar service to both the customer and the employee. Team building courses can deliver these results through the benefits of motivating your employees and creating personal spirit within.

Team building courses are an investment a company makes within their organization, but also in their personnel. This investment can look like a day of team building games, a weekend retreat, or Christmas themed party. The important thing about team building courses or a day of fun is that your workforce is getting away from the stress of “work” while having fun and learning a few things in the process.

Through different events, games, and activities any type of conference or retreat day can be turned into a learning experience. This learning experience is not only a time of bonding and strengthening working relationships, but also a time to allow your workforce to concentrate on vital workplace skills that may need some attention will help to vastly improve motivation and personal spirit.

In any team environment, whether it be in sports or business, there is the need for using certain skills which keep that motivations and spirit high. These include things like communicating together, leading others, solving problems that are outside the normal parameters of work, and thinking critically and creatively in many instance. Through all of this there is also the need for teams to like each other. Participating in team building courses, games and fun outdoor activities helps to forge these lasting relationships and creates a highly motivated and spirited individual.

Within a business environment morale and motivation can be tough to maintain through the day to day activities. With team building courses and games these things can be kept at a high level so that teams can reach corporate and personal goals.

We do not often think of the importance of team building ice breakers before a day of games and activities. We most typically think of ice breakers as the beginning of a conference to introduce everyone and set a tone for the day. However, ice breakers at the beginning of a team building day is also important for getting people to relax, begin to bond and be engaged rather than worrying about time wasted.

The very basic definition of ice breakers is that they are simple techniques used to reduce anxiety and get everyone excited and energized. Icebreakers can set a positive tone for the meeting, help build relationships and motivate people to participate. Team builders can help an established group learn more about how to work with each other, solve problems and be more effective.

The importance of team building ice breakers should not be overlooked. Without a good beginning to the team building activities of the day, your teams and participants can have a poor attitude throughout the day.

Reasons Your Team Building Ice Breakers Fail to Engage

Not enough time – Many times facilitators can simply run quickly through the ice breakers in order to get to the “meat” of the day. This is a major mistake. Remember, ice breakers are all about setting the stage, getting the participants ready for more intensive games and helping each team member engage in the activities. Rushing through the ice breakers can set a stage of hurrying everything rather than engaging, thinking, communicating and bonding.

Uninspiring Ice Breakers – The internet is a wealth of knowledge. The busy assistant who is given the task of putting together a day of team building games and events can find a lot of different team building ice breakers to use. However, the converse it also true; the same assistant can find a lot of bad ice breakers to use.

A good rule to follow when it comes to choosing team building ice breakers for any event is to test them out first. Take some time to assemble some small teams to test out different ice breakers to see how they are received and if people are engaged throughout. Of course, you could also hire team building experts to plan out your entire event for the highest level of success.

Not appropriate for participants – One of the biggest criteria anyone planning a team building event should take into consideration is the people who will be participating. Ages, health status, gender, and other personal concerns must be taken into account when planning any type of team game. This goes for ice breakers also. Having a high energy ice breaker that requires fast motion and twisting and bending for an elderly group may not work so well. The converse is also true; a low key ice breaker may bore a lot of younger personnel.

Team building ice breakers are an important part of any event. Setting the right tone through a well thought out plan, enlisting the right ice breakers, having all the required materials and paying attention to how people are engaging can mean success or failure of your next conference or corporate retreat.

In the world of business team building and team development has become one of the foundational vehicles of success. However, team effectiveness is enhanced by a team’s commitment to reflection and on-going evaluation. This means that there must be an evaluation of accomplishments in terms of meeting specific goals, working well together and producing higher skilled leaders for continued innovation. For teams to be high-performing in this manner it is essential for them to understand team development as an organic corporate lifestyle.

Read more about how Accolade can help you with team development.

Understanding team development, and the different lifecycles, is important for any corporation, whether you put together your own team building program, or enlist a team and corporate consultant. The most commonly used framework for a team’s stages of development was developed in the mid-1960s by Bruce W. Tuckman, now a psychology professor at Ohio State University. Initially, there are five concepts to this philosophy. However, many corporations are only concerned with four of them while they do a “rinse and repeat” action.

Team Development Starts with Forming

Tuckman brought forth the idea that team development begins with actually forming teams. While this may sound elementary it is a crucial first step. The forming stage of any team is important because this is where the members of the team get to know one another, exchange some personal information, and make new friends.

There is something to be said about team chemistry. Many times corporations leave this beginning step to chance. They base teams on departments, offices, and the way that desks are arranged. However, that is not necessarily the best way. The forming stage should take some time before you finalize members. A few, simple team building games can help solidify final team members.

Team Development Continues with Storming

This stage in the lifecycle of team development is much like that of storming a beachhead in times of war. In the storming stage the team now addresses issues head-on such as what problems they are really supposed to solve, how they will function independently and together, and what leadership model they will accept.

There is a tendency after the forming stage for teams to be left a little dazed and confused when problems arise. In many cases they revert back to their “old” thinking and trying to force issues and rely on individual performances. The storming stage does not allow for any of this confusion to set in. This is where team members open up to each other and confront each other’s ideas and perspectives. However, it is also left up to strong leadership to move the team through this storming.


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Norming Becomes the Norm

As teams begin to be familiar with each other they can now start to set goals and make plans for how they work together and what needs to be accomplished. There is no longer any type of leadership issues or questions about how to combat problems or be involved in the overall work process.

Performing at High Levels

The final outcome of any team development is a high level of performance. Tuckman puts forth that this is the stage in development where, “Commitment to the team’s mission is high and the competence of team members is also high.”

Performing at high levels is achieved through the evaluations the team goes through, but also the team exercises and problem solving games they “practice” with. As new skills are learned and skills known are improved levels of performance are escalated to high levels.

Goals, plans, innovation, accomplishments and pride are all hallmarks of this stage in team development. They should be celebrated and recognized.

Team Development Does Not Stop

Any corporation that takes on team building and the team concept should realize that team development is ongoing. After you have reached this fourth stage a “rinse and repeat” action is necessary. Continued commitment to your personnel can only mean continued success in your business sector and their personal lives.

Can you imagine playing football in a stadium that is half the size of a normal field? The goal keep would be able to kick goals form their own box. Mid-fielders would be on top of the defenders! Throw-ins would be a scoring threat! Goal kicks could actually be goals. Team building venues are like a football field. They have contain certain key elements or they are simply not going to work.

Americans have taken their love of their brand of football to a whole new level. Arena Football. It is a much shorter field as the game is played in an arena. Not a stadium. For many, this simply is too small and doesn’t work. The same concept (not working) can be relayed to team building venues that are too small, do not have the amenities, or are not situated correctly for your needs.

Team Building Venues High Priority

Anytime your corporation wants to hold an event of any kind it is important to host it at a neutral location. This puts everyone at ease and erases a lot of the “work tension” that can be built up over time. As important as this is, finding the right team building venues is even more so. In fact, it should be a high priority.

Just like a football field that is only half the normal size will result in much worse game play, a venue that is not right for any team building efforts will have the same dismal results. Anytime you plan a team building experience yourself, or hire a corporate event management company to do it for you, the venue of the event must be chosen first.

Key Elements of Team Building Venues

In choosing team building venues there are key elements which are pivotal in making the decision. Based upon your needs, your corporate size, the time you want to hold the event and what types of entertainment, the venue must fit. The venue must fit your needs rather than your needs fitting into the venue.

1. Outdoor and indoor space – Team building games can be either outdoor or indoor events. A combination of both will elevate your engagement ten-fold. For large corporations with a few hundred employees who will be taking part, having enough space – both indoor out outdoor – is important for being more comfortable and able to move freely. Nobody likes to be squeezed into a small space.

2. Adequate amenities for entertainment – For anyone who has ever been at a conference, musical performance, or other event where there is music, an emcee, or lighting is not adequate it is not an enjoyable experience. Team building events, corporate conferences and themed nights out demand quality services where people can enjoy themselves while getting the most out of the information or entertainment.

This is the same for both indoor and outdoor events. All of the facilities should not only be large enough, but have enough light, ability to amplify sound, access to restrooms and places for shade if in the middle of summer.

3. Eating area – Let’s face it, food is important. Every event that people are involved in, food is both a demand of attenders and nightmare for those hosting. Team building venues, whether outdoor or indoor, must have a way to either provide catering or have it catered, and a place to dine. Picnic tables, elaborate patio areas, indoor dining rooms or any combination of these are important for a successful event.

Venues in which in-house catering is available alleviates several headaches in planning, but it not necessary. However, access for outside caterers is a necessity if there is none available on premises.

There is more to team building venues than a sports field or secluded beach. There is the need for space, amenities and dining. These three key elements should be present – to fit your needs – before securing the location. Due diligence in choosing the right team building venue will return in a large profit in terms of employee engagement and improved business skills.

Perhaps you have heard that team building and team activities are important for the future of your corporation or organization. This new business trend has been sweeping the world for the last 20 years, but has recently begun to enjoy a new rebirth as companies like Facebook, Google and Apple dominate the headlines. Teams are thus brought to the forefront as they are proven to be an important part of their overall success.

In fact, Steve Jobs has said about teams, “The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.”

Creating opportunity, space and freedom within team activities and other organizational building events and tools is something that every corporation should invest in.

Why?

Why are team activities, corporate team building events or weekend retreats of racing go-carts, Survivor type events or running through watery obstacles so important to success?

Team Activities for Success

The answer to that question is three-fold. There are three important foundational skills that every business – successful business – are built on. These three skills are often taught in colleges and institutes of higher learning, but when put into practice – through engagement and fun – the principles remain intact and established within the person’s mindset.

Whether through large outdoor games, conferences with game show energisers or themed events for Christmas or other holidays, team activities play a major role in corporate success.

1. Personal and Corporate Communication – This is a skill that can be taught but not successfully implemented. The reason is because as much as we like to put labels on skills like communication, there are still humans that have to exercise these skills. Team activities put humans into a position where they must communicate, but not in an overwhelming or intimidating way.

This one skill can transform a failing corporation into a successful one – or on its way to success – quickly. Through personal communications within the “team” environment comes the corporate communication through divisions and regions. This then trickles into the customer/organization relationship where communication is the priority and naturally exercised.

2. Leadership – Team activities and games are perfect for building leadership skills and helping emerging leaders step up. Through problems and challenges these leaders can learn – through practical, yet fun games – how to navigate a group to a successful solution. Again, leadership can be taught but the principles must be learned through practice.

3. Creativity – Innovation is the sustaining life source of any organization. For those who continue to push the envelope and develop new ways to do things and new products to enlighten everyday life, they become the known top brands. Names like Samsung, Google, Apple, BMW, 3M and a host of others are well known, and stay at the top of their sectors, because of the innovation they strive for. This innovation is multiplied when born through teamwork.

Team activities that are challenging, introduce problems and require a lot of critical thinking are those games that develop high capacity of creativity and innovation. Many games that use art, music, and dance are not only fun and engaging, but also develop creativity within the skill sets of the people involved.

Corporate success is more than just luck. While some CEO’s like to think that their charisma and will alone can move mountains within the corporate world, it is really all about teams and the way that they work together in communicating, leading and creating. Team activities are pivotal in corporate success today for these reasons.