July 9, 2013
Team-building activities are some of the most effective and accessible ways to improve productivity within a company. You should look at your employees or "team" as the cornerstone to your business success. When your team is not engaged, chances are they will be less concerned with their productivity and the affect it has within the company. On the flip side, management who is not engaged with employees will face difficulties when understanding where improvements need to be made or giving recognition when it is due. Team building activities are a great way to capture an understanding of your employees' personalities, work ethic, and problem solving abilities in addition to creating an overall better company culture.
One of the most important parts of team building is directly in the name itself. Viewing your employees as a team rather than co-workers is beneficial at all levels of the company, whether you are an executive, mid-level manager, or a new comer. If your company, department, or group of employees views themselves as more of a team, chances are they are going to act as a team and be engaged in not only the task at hand but work with other team members to reach a common goal. A mistake often made by business owners or management is that assumptions are made that since employees are working together 40+ hours per week, they have established a working team. This may be true in some cases, however, a true team is connected to one another with the ability to communicate and recognize areas of improvements as well as giving credit where credit is due.
Brave River employees recently embarked on an off-site team building adventure at the University of Rhode Island's Whispering Pines Conference Center nestled in the beautifully wooded area of West Greenwich, RI. The day was filled with smiles, challenges, laughs, and most importantly connecting to co-workers within all levels and departments of the company. Brave River employees had the opportunity to work with different groups of people that they may not necessarily interact with on a daily basis. Teams were presented with different challenges and tasks all with a common goal in mind and everyone had to work together to reach that goal.
Check out some of the activities that our staff at Brave River Solutions participated in!Meet Your Neighbors
The objective of this activity is mainly used as an "icebreaker" to start your day. The entire group stands in a large circle, and each person takes a turn entering the center of the circle and stating that they would like to "meet all of my neighbors who..." The person in the center may want to know everyone who likes to fish, or has traveled abroad, or who has more than 1 dog, etc. Anyone who is standing around the circle who can relate to that person's question would proceed to the center, give a high-five, and then return back to their spot. It is a great way to learn a little more about each other and recognize common interests that you may not have known that you had.
Name That Object
This is considered another "warm up" activity that has a bit more emphasis on group brainstorming skills. The group is given an object with a goal of passing it around the circle as many times as possible and coming up with various uses for that object other than the obvious. For example, the group below was shown a large round hula hoop and asked to think of alternative creative uses. Some of the responses included:
- large steering wheel
- full moon
- jump rope
- an earring
- magnifying glass
Teams are broken down into 3 separate groups and given specific directions, obstacles and a special "challenge" that needed to be overcome. One group was able to speak but not see, another was able to see but not speak, and the third was able to see and speak but they were tied together by a rope so unable to move freely. The purpose of the activity was to get each member from all 3 groups onto one "island", by working together as a team. Ernie & Jim (our company President & Vice President) were able to choose where team employees were to be placed, and they stepped aside to observe how everyone worked together.
Those who are not normally vocal in the office were forced to speak in order to get from point A to point B. While those who are more vocal or in upper-management type roles were challenged with having to communicate on a different level. This was by far the most challenging event of the day, but at the same time very rewarding. This activity provided a sense of accomplishment for all participants involved.
Employees once again were broken down into 3 separate teams and given the challenge of designing and building an egg container that would prevent breakage after being dropped from a second story deck. Each team was given starter money and a list of materials that they could purchase to build the apparatus. Opportunities were presented throughout the activity that would allow the teams to earn more money such as assisting in clean up or asking for advice from others.
The purpose of this activity was not only to condone working together to come up with an effective design but also do so within a specified budget. This was a great way for everyone to communicate their ideas and creativity in order to build an effective product. The staff at Brave River Solutions works within specified budgets, timelines, and design aspects on a regular basis during our website design & development process, so this session was very effective and a great way to wrap up our event.
Team building can be accomplished in a variety of ways. You don't always have to go offsite or plan an elaborate event to encourage teamwork. Try planning an after-hours softball game, a group bowling session, or an afternoon of fun-trivia in your office common area. Though the activities listed above were a great way to promote and assess a variety of problem solving, creativity and communication skills, you can still achieve similar results by gathering your employees together an urging participation and teamwork!
Henry Ford said it best...
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success"
Brave River Solutions is a leading provider in business technology offering services like technology consulting, e-Business solutions, and IT Support. Our talented team of web designers, technology consultant and IT support specialist, have over 20 ears of industry experience and have developed hundreds of custom-designed websites, e-Commerce portals and effective e-Business solutions. To learn more about our technology services, contact us today at 1-888-828-8911!