Let’s face facts: Not every team building activity is exactly…well…fun. Sometimes, what might be considered a recreational activity can be very unpleasant and actually fracture the team. How can this happen and what can you do to prevent such epic failures? We will start with the ugly, turn to the bad and end up at the true makeup for good fun team building activities.
You may have your own stories, but let me share with you just a couple:
The team building taskmaster decided a competitive game of paintball would constitute a fun activity. The problem was that most people were not familiar with the rules of paintball and many teammates were covered with pellets and welts. At the end of the day, most wanted to pummel the organizer because they were so frustrated. This accomplished nothing in the team building arena – it did not build trust and it lead to resentment and frustration for those left to fend for themselves.
Last year, a company outing was scheduled with canoes and was meant to allow individuals to talk and relax while meandering down a lazy river. The problem was someone got it into their head that every canoe should be tipped over before the end of the trip and that person convinced others to go along with this tactic. However, most people didn’t want to be turned over and now have a lot of confusion about what constitutes fun team building activities.
These two scenarios are not good examples of building up your team. The first, pitted team against team and did it in such a way that there was no collaborative effort to change things at work. The second, was really intended to be a fun, social time. Nothing more, nothing less. It was not geared toward team building because you can’t build an emotional experience with individuals spread out all over the place.
These activities lacked goals and a positive experience for the participants. And they gave team building a bad name.
First, it is really important that you have a good definition of what fun team building activities look like. For example, Fun Team Building has an Atlanta Ropes Course that focuses on self-confidence, decision making skills and creative problem solving methods. If that is what you are looking for, the ropes course may be of interest to you.
Second, you need clearly defined goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Improved employee engagement? Staff development? Allowing virtual employees to get to know each other? Clarity will lead you to the right fun team building activities and the right organization to lead the charge.
Third, make sure your fun team building activities allow for inclusion and are appropriate challenges. The idea behind team building is you bring people out of their comfort zone and allow them to grow. Asking them to do something they are uncomfortable with is okay as long as safety is not an issue. Choose wisely and use an experienced facilitator to guide your choices.
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