Guest Post By Dunya Carter (Learn more about Dunya at the end of this post)
In today’s increasingly cynical climate, it’s easy to think that enterprise-wide team-building exercises are useless. And with good reason: many companies have made the mistake in confusing team-building with team competing.
Competition can unfortunately, bring out the worst in people. If employees think the goal is to win at a team-building event, then they may feel more pressure to learn the rules which will help them win against their opponent instead of getting into the spirit of doing something together as a group with no ‘Win’ (or ‘Lose’) as the defining outcome.
Paint-balling and other sports-related activities may actually contribute to ongoing office politics and do nothing to quell them. What good team-building events can offer is an opportunity for employees to do something together that allows for laughter, stress reduction, adaptability to a different environment, and renewed group focus.
Fresh ways are needed to take the problem out of the ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ way of thinking, and provide ways for people to work together without the need for internal competition. And with that, here are five team building activities which are a bit on the cutting edge for your organization to review.
1. Get Everyone Cooking
On the face of it, it may sound crazy – especially if your organization isn’t a culinary concern. But cooking in teams allows for communication, camaraderie, and corporate bonding. Everyone has a relationship with food, and what a wonderful way to build something together that each person gets to immediately enjoy afterwards.
2. Flash Mobbing
Now here’s thinking outside of the box! According to Wikipedia, a flash mob is “a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse”. It’s been the craze of late, from ad campaigns to music videos. Several consultancy firms are beginning to seriously consider this activity for its innovative approach to effective team-building – especially in this age of YouTube marketing and social media. An example of corporate-appropriate flash-mobbing could include a Christmas visit to a children’s hospital in costume and providing an impromptu caroling concert. With the right planning (and permission from the chosen environment), a wonderfully rewarding and fun experience could be had by everyone within the team.
3. Build a House
There are many non-profit housing organizations (Habitat for Humanity is one) which have long-standing outreach relationships to the corporate world. Two goals are achieved at once with such a project: building a house for a new family, and allowing corporate sponsors to give their employees a sense of team-building where the stakes are about helping people get their first home. The deep sense of satisfaction and reward from working on such a project will be a talking point for years later, and the competition between team members will be at a grateful minimum.
4. Shop For A Company Charity
A shopping spree for a chosen charity is an excellent way to team-build, as the ultimate goal is to create a win-win situation: the team wins, and the selected charity wins. Once the shopping budget and the spree deadline are set, each team develops a purchasing strategy which it believes would best help the charity, from assessing what it would need based on its mission statement and/or other information. After the research is done and the products selected, each team can create a video or photo product portfolio for the charity to review. If there are multiple teams, then the charity itself can make or be included in choosing the winning entry. If there’s only one team, then management can work together with the team to create the best portfolio for the charity.
5. Volunteer At Your Company’s Local School
Many organizations charge their Human Resource departments with identifying local entities which could best benefit from company-wide volunteerism, such as helping schools with learning activities for the children and assisting local-area schoolteachers. Creating a team-building activity around such an endeavor is another wonderful way to both commit to the peripheral goals of the organization in terms of providing value to the surrounding community, and help each team member put the politics of the workplace behind and find value in each other while working on something beyond themselves – helping children.
About the Author:
Dunya Carter is a marketing specialist from Brisbane, Australia. She is currently working as a consultant for Corporate Challenge, an Australian team building company. As a writer Dunya contributes to many blogs and websites focusing on business and marketing.