Managing Groups and Teams/Team Building Activities

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Team Building Activities[edit]

Introduction

Team building activities are important for a number of reasons. Everyone participating will enjoy the benefits including the work force, management, customers, up to the stockholders. Team building can keep employees motivated and enthusiastic about every phase of their job. It may not be easy to always get the group or team members excited about doing an activity, but if implemented well, it can bring a sense of purpose and unity unlike anything else. Once you get everyone to understand the importance of team-building, the program has a better chance of being accepted.

Team-building activities help people understand the importance of working together. A company is more productive when everyone works together for a common goal, without factions or other divisive elements. Along with understanding the importance of working together, below are the benefits that can be reaped by effective team building activities, namely:

Establish Rapport

When an organization utilizes team building activities it helps employees to establish rapport with each other. This helps employee’s work together in an amicable environment.

More Productive

Team building activities help employees understand that they are much more productive working as a cohesive unit trying to accomplish the same goals and objectives. More work is accomplished by a team than one person could ever hope to accomplish alone.

Cut Costs

Employees that participate in team building activities are more energetic, enthusiastic and are absent from work less often. This reduces costs for the company across the board.

Quality Ideas

When there are team building activities employees are more likely to submit ideas that ultimately help the organization function more efficiently and could save money. Ideas can help a company capture market share, develop people and save time.

Brainstorming

A team that comes together can accomplish just about any objective when they cooperate to brainstorm different scenarios aimed at achieving goals.


Team Building Activity Examples and Starters:

Activities that allow team members to work together in a scenario outside of their normal group environment can be an extremely effective way to build cohesion and unity. Some are simple and some can be complex. Some are short, and others can be very involved!

Every team activity requires a small amount of planning, a few supplies, and an effective activity planner. Here are some examples of some fun and simple activity ideas!


EGG DROP ACTIVITY

Teams work to build a holding container that will protect an egg when dropped from two or three stories high.

  • Engaging and very messy small group activity (4 or 5) as part of larger group (e.g., 20 up to 100)
  • Can be run as a competition between teams
  • Task is to build a single egg package that can sustain a fall of whatever height you decide
  • Can be used to highlight any almost aspect of teamwork or leadership
  • Lends itself to production line or project management metaphors


Materials (Provide the materials for each team to use, or allow them to gather their own materials.)

A suggestion of useable supplies:

Drinking Straws

Tape

Towel

Rubber band

Masking tape

Egg


Timing

~30-45 minutes to build package

~15-30 minutes for Great Egg Drop

~15-45 minutes cleanup & debrief


MULTI-WAY TUG-OF-WAR

Teams work to pull the other teams across a center line using guile and strategy.

  • Fun, finale-type activity. Physically exhausting and emotionally climaxing!
  • Works for kids through to corporate programs. Ideal for adolescents and possibly youth at risk. Especially with older adults, be careful with this activity, especially if they are unfit or if overexertion is contraindicated (e.g., heart problems).
  • Use for any size groups, indoor or outdoor. Ideal is large group outdoors. Pick a soft location e.g., grass/beach.
  • In traditional 1 on 1 tug-of-war it is mostly strength that wins, with a few tactics.
  • In multi-way tug-of-war it is mostly tactics that wins, with some strength.
  • Lay out the ropes, etc. as shown in diagram below.
  • Participants should prepare appropriately e.g., watches and hand jewellery off.
  • Divide into groups and make sure the groups appear to be of similar strength.
  • Brief group on normal tug-of-war safety rules, basically:
    • no wrapping or tying rope around anyone or anything - only hold rope with hands
    • watch out for rope burn on hands - let go if rope is moving through hands
    • watch out for rope burn on body - let go if you lose footing
  • First command from the Tug-of-War master is "take the strain". This is only to take up the slack, that's all. The Tug-of-War master makes sure the centre ring is stable and centered. This needs strong leadership because teams are always keen to add extra strain!
  • Second command is "Go!!"
  • Teams attempt to pull the center ring or knot over their finish line. This can rarely be achieved by strength alone and instead will require guile. Teams can swivel to cooperate / compete with other teams, then switch directions, etc.
  • Conduct several rounds. Continue, say, until one team earns 3 victories and the Tug-of-War title.
  • Allow teams plenty of time to physically recover and debrief/plan after each round.
  • Team building groups may wish to discuss what the secrets to success were in this activity - and whether these lessons apply elsewhere.


Materials

Make your own 4 way tug of war with several good quality ropes each ~60ft+ with attachment e.g., via knots, splicing or ring/karabiners

Timing

~30-60 minutes


References

For descriptions on these and other great ideas for activites, see:

http://wilderdom.com/games/InitiativeGames.html

http://www.teambuildingactivities.net/

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5407800_importance-team-building-activities.html