If you’ve ever participated in a team-building activity, you’ve most likely observed how a seemingly benign activity can quickly go south.  So, the next time you are tasked with organizing a team-building event, consider the following suggestions:

  • Define your goals, time, resources and budget needed for your team building event.  
  • Search online or visit your favorite book store to generate tons of great (and fun) team building ideas from problem solving activities designed to increase workplace productivity to team collaboration.
  • Interview your colleagues about their team building experiences, specifically what worked and what trip-wires to avoid.
  • Depending on your budget constraints, consider hiring a local company who specializes in corporate team-building events. Type corporate team building in the internet search field to find a listing of companies in your area. Another excellent resource is the National Speaker’s Association at https://www.nsaspeaker.org/find-speaker/.
  • Choose an inclusive team-building event (like the marshmallow and spaghetti challenge) so participants of all ages and physical capabilities will benefit from the event.
  • Incorporate an element of fun and relaxation within your team building event such as a group photo to feature in your company newsletter and/or a recognition ceremony with silly awards. T-shirts, gift certificates from your local coffee shop or your company store are always fun and appreciated too.
  • At least one week before your scheduled event, send a memo with event details. Knowing what’s ahead will minimize participants’ anxiety.
  • Set-up the room/venue in advance of the event.
  • Schedule enough time to debrief the activity at the end of the event  Did it meet your goals?  What worked well?  What would you do differently?
  • Write up a summary of the team-building experience and send it to participants following the event and thank them for their participation.

Finally, don’t get discouraged if your team-building event doesn’t produce profound results on your first attempt.  “There is a great deal else going on other than the activity itself,” notes a recent article in Forbes. “Facilitators need to worry about creating feelings of trust, safety and connection among participants, while also making sure to communicate what the goals of the activities are.”

Share your tribal knowledge with others.  Tell us what was your favorite (or worst) team building event.