Team building activities, or initiatives, can greatly improve communication, trust and leadership within a group. Most initiatives require few props (if any) and can be used for a wide variety purposes.
Along with American trends of seeking the outdoors and developing healthier lives, team building activities are a by-product of this. They incorporate movement while learning and practicing valuable life skills. Corporate team building activities are growing in popularity.
Instead of hosting your next meeting indoors with cheap coffee around a long oval table, seek fresh air and ideas. Team building activities can be facilitated anywhere, however, being in the outdoors is ideal.
Team building activities should follow a progression. Start with the easy and end with the hard.
Easy icebreakers to start with:
All My Neighbors- Every person grabs a placeholder (carpet square, poly spot, piece of paper) and stands on it within a circle. One person begins in the middle and removes their placeholder from the circle. The person in the middle says “I want to meet all my neighbors that like…cats, ice cream, the Vikings (it has been a sad season) ect.” Once they make their statement, all who like that thing must move from their current spot and take an available one that IS NOT directly to their right or to the left. There will always be one person that doesn’t have a spot in the circle, they are the new chosen individual to call out the next statement.
More icebreaker games or “get to know you” activities can be found here.
After a few icebreaker games, the group has loosened up and energy is high. Now, we can increase the difficulty.
Medium level initiatives:
Number Line-Up – Give each person a random card from a deck of cards. Don’t be afraid to use the face cards, it adds confusion and requires creative communication. Instruct the group that this card is for their eyes and their eyes only! Nobody else can see your secret card. Inform the group that they have lost verbal communication and need to line up in order using other forms of communication. Less instruction you give here, the better.
Medium level initiatives require a greater level of processing than icebreaker games. They are a nice transition into the third level of a team building progression.
Crossing The River – Give each participant a poly spot (or other flexible, light surface to step on). Mark two points, a starting point and ending point. Instruct the group that there is a flowing river of lava between the two points. The more fun you have with the storyline, the more fun the activity will be. The objective of this activity is to make it across the river, using lava-proof stones (poly-spots). If, at any moment, a lava-proof stone is free-standing it will float away in the lava. Someone must be standing on the lava-proof stones at all times. If a lava-proof stone is left free-standing, the facilitator should remove it from the group. Now the group has fewer lava stones that people, hence problem solving is at an all time high. Make the end point a good distance away, seemingly far away but not outrageous.
High-end initiatives should be the most difficult in a team building progression. They require greater levels of communication and problem solving.
For more high-end initiatives look here.
Team building exercises will take people out of their comfort zones, which is where we learn the most. Another high-end activity to do with a corporate group is rock climbing.
Rock climbing can break down fear, increase confidence, and release stress. It would be a perfect culminating activity at the end of a team building progression. Refer to this website for initiatives your group can practice on the rock wall.
At the end of any team building exercise, the group should debrief. The facilitator has an important role here. The facilitator should talk just enough, but not too much. Ask thought-provoking questions and allow the group to process what happened during the activities. Ask what they noticed, what was hard, what was easy…ect.
Team building activities are truly a gem of learning. They are fun, freeing and challenging. But don’t take my word for it, try them out with your group and see results for yourself!