In today’s world, the usual ski or golf trips, yoga retreats and paint ball excursions that companies provide as team building activities are still good fun, but they won’t win any prizes for originality. Let’s explore some more adventurous team-building activities — ones that will keep your staff pumped up and ready to tackle your company’s next challenges.
An Exotic Trip
Nothing brings team members closer together than shared experiences — the more unique, the better. A trip to an exotic location is a shared experience that will help your team bond quickly and will be a excursion that stays with your team members long after you’ve returned to the daily grind at the office.
Natural locations make excellent outposts for an exotic teambuilding experience and allow you, or your guides, to arrange challenges or learning experiences that will require team members to use their wits and stamina in concert to come to a successful outcome. Try rock-climbing classes, horseback camping tours or book a cabin in Alaska for fishing and hiking (visit http://bobscabin.com for some great deals).
Before going this route, take an informal survey of your team to see which locations they’ve already visited; you’ll want to try for somewhere completely new, so that everyone on the team is on the same footing. You want the experience to be new for everyone, whether they’ve been with your company for 15 years or 15 weeks.
Learn a Sport
Refocus on the word “team” and get your staff to learn a sport together. Spend a weekend with a coach or retired pro who will lead your team through the discipline and strategy needed to win. If your company is running several teambuilding sessions at once, different departments could compete to see which one takes home a prize.
Even if your team members are generally apathetic to sports, choosing to do a sport-related team-building exercise can still be entertaining and engaging. Picking a less popular sport, such as archery, dragon boating, chess boxing or underwater hockey may appeal to teams that would not enjoy or who would be embarrassed by playing football, volleyball or another more mainstream sport.
Look to Pop Culture
For a teambuilding activity that might make headlines as well as cement team members’ relationships, look to popular culture for ideas. Zombie crawls and zombie-versus-human “battles” are no longer as head-turning as they used to be, but they will still tickle the fancy of a diverse group of people.
Look to popular TV shows, movies, and music to find themes for your teambuilding sessions. If you know that most people in your department are “Downton Abbey” fans, why not hold a 1920s-themed retreat? Or, hold a cricket match like the characters did in season three.
The end goal of most teambuilding is to forge better relationships within your team so that they can work together better. Logically, then, it makes sense to focus your teambuilding activities on a collaborative project. Collaboration on projects outside of work will help strengthen communication between staff members who may not find themselves working together frequently in the office. Break the ice by mixing up your team and setting them to work on a creative project outside their comfort zones. Put your team to the task of creating a YouTube video parody of a popular song, painting a mural in the office or leading a fundraising drive for a local charity.
Other ideas for collaborative projects include doing a historical reenactment for local schools of an important event that took place nearby, trying to set a record for the “Guinness Book of World Records” or volunteering together on a worthy local cause.
Whatever exercises fit your budget and your time frame, remember that team building is more than the sum of its parts. A good team-building exercise should break through communication barriers, put your staff members at ease, and make them more confident when working with one another. Good luck!