There are hundreds of articles that list a variety of team building activities and games. However, one must first understand how to design and use them.
The main purpose of team building is to build a good team. But how do you describe a good team?
A successful team stands out from the rest in terms of its:
- creative thinking
Let’s see how team building activities can be used to develop such a team, why and how to easily implement team building activities, let’s get started:
- Part 1: The benefits of team building activities
- Part 2: Implementing team building activities
- Part 3: How to measure performance
Part 1: The benefits of team building activities
Team building is a way to help a group of people function as a cohesive unit. There, members are valued, respected and pursue common goals.
Team building activities are the tool for creating this unit. Here’s how they work:
- Relationship building:
Relationship-building activities are a great way for colleagues to get to know each other better and to learn more about each other.
- Mutual support: Kind words are never extra. They make people feel valued for a job well done. Just imagine how your team is celebrating the successful completion of a project together
- Practising team skills: These activities enable teams to develop communication skills & their emotional intelligence
- Sharing knowledge and experience: We are learning constantly (as long as you want it). The exchange of experience between colleagues is a method for expanding their worldview, developing new abilities and upgrading old ones.
- Defined roles and responsibilities: A successful team has a defined hierarchy. This creates respect between the members and group work is done effectively.
But how can you achieve this result? By designing team building sessions aligned with your goals.
KissTheFrogNOW consists of 120 game cards. They are designed to help you meet your goals. All you need to do is select and combine them according to the specific benefits you want to achieve.
Part 2: Implementing team building activities
The process of:
effective team building activities take time and need to be addressed in a specific way.
Let’s go through the process together:
Help the participants understand why they are here
Everyone in the team needs to know and understand why they are involved in team-building activities.
Maybe you need to introduce a new employee and make him feel welcome. Or it is Friday and you want to have fun. Why don’t you ditch the shabby dinner night and instead go play in the park?
Defining the roles
Defining the roles and responsibilities sets clear expectations for the overall process.
Each participant should describe the responsibilities associated with his position. Then he has to do the same, but for one of his other colleagues.
When team members know exactly what to do and why are they doing it, the process becomes much easier.
Combine that with setting common goals and everyone in the team will have a clear sense of purpose.
Set clear goals
The activities should be tailored to the expectations and needs of:
- the team
- individual participants
Everyone should enjoy the process and see results in their work. This will help people feel comfortable and understand why are they taking part in the team building.
You may be thinking: ‘How do I know what they want?
Ask them! Team members know what’s going on and will tell you what they need.
Select the activities
To choose the right exercises, you must have set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Relevant, and Timely.
You know what? It will be easier to work backwards. For example, KissTheFrogNOW consists of 4 card decks. Each of them is dedicated to a specific type of team building activity:
- Team building activities – put emphasis on communication skills, creativity, and concentration. Use it when you want to develop teamwork skills
- Personal team building activities – 30 questions that help group members learn more about each other. They will teach you to view events from several perspectives. Use when your goal is to raise emotional intelligence
- Discussion team building activities – Debating and negotiating are highly valued skills. Do it with partners and work on those communication skills
- Creative team building activities – 30 illustrations that will make participants open up and explore their attitudes, express emotions, and share them with others. Intrapersonal intelligence is just as important
Use this simple model ‘benefit-goal’ when designing your own activities.
Provide the necessary equipment and/or training materials. Play the situation well in advance to gain a better idea of the activity. It is possible to identify potential problems.
Introduce the team building activities
Introduce your ideas to the group. Discuss the importance of teamwork and the goals of the activities. Explain the exercises and the rules. Provide the team with the equipment necessary for the activity.
Consistency is key
Consistency is a process of moving out of the team’s comfort zone and diving into the growth zone. If done the right way, your team will develop more effectively as the program progresses.
Consistency needs planning and time. One good starting point is Dr Bruce Tuckman’s Forming Storming Norming Performing model. These phases are necessary for the team to:
- face challenges
- deal with problems
- find solutions
- plan work
- deliver results
Run down the stream
Give up the “All or Nothing” philosophy. Instead, think of team building as a time for relaxation, laughter and uniting.
Activities are the tool that provides training to the team. The purpose of the activities is to enable the team members to develop and test new knowledge and skills acquired during the reflection.
SWOT analysis of individual team members
This analysis is made before the team building activities begin.
It helps team members recognize their current strengths, limitations, and potential. The analysis can help the colleagues get to know each other and understand their status in the group.
SWOT analysis does a great job in the process of analyzing the results of activities.
Part 3: How to measure performance
So far, we have built the process for team building activities. We tested it. Now we need to measure the result. Start from here:
- Is the problem or situation that caused you to start the team-building process solved? If there was a lack of commitment to the goals of the team/company, do members now report on their progress towards the goals?
- Pay attention to business measures if applicable. Is there an increase in revenue, a reduction in costs, an improvement in customer satisfaction ratings?
- What is the opinion of the participants?
- Do they feel a change in the workflow?
- Are they more confident and comfortable in your work environment?
Start tracking the results from the beginning.
“What gets measured,” Peter Drucker famously observed, “gets managed.”
Team building works best in the long term, in the form of regular meetings that look at how and in what direction the collaboration of the group has changed. This type of discussion also helps to identify areas that need improvement.
Team building activities that are well thought out and accomplished can bring people together, develop their strengths, and help them overcome their weaknesses. They help teams work more cohesively and happily.
There are so many things waiting for you to try them out, so … What are you waiting for?!