On July 10th, two of our directors took part in the annual York Dragon Boat Race Challenge.
720 participants, 36 boats, £63,000 raised for charity and much adrenalin coursing through the veins!
It was a group of primary school parents that got a team together to help raise funds for the school which served as a reminder of the importance of Team Building.
A group of people – some who had never met before – joined forces in the pursuit of a common goal to achieve great success. After two wins out of three everyone got off the boat with a spring in their step and new friendships and conversations ensued.
Team-building exercises are often great fun but they can also help develop group skills, communication and bonding. The activity, whether it be a Dragon Boat race, an obstacle course or something less arduous such as a cookery challenge or knitting is merely a mechanism to help build the team and create a moment in time that can be referenced again and again. So how to plan your Team Building?
Taking employees out of the office can help break down political and personal barriers, eliminate distractions, and have fun. But before you sign up for the next Dragon Boat Race, it is really important that you define the objectives. What are the outcomes that you want to achieve? Improved productivity and motivation?
The objectives you set will influence the type of team building activity you opt for, but the benefits should all be the same, e.g:
• Improved problem solving ability
• Improved team morale
• Demonstrations of hidden potential or unknown skills and talents
• Overcoming barriers that stifle innovation
• Underpinning organisational goals and objectives
• Improved productivity
• Creating a buzz around the work environment leading to increased energy and enthusiasm to all pull together
Pick your activity
With outcomes clearly defined, and a budget planned, the questions now are what shall we do, where shall we go? There are important things to consider here. How far away to go? Does that make it harder for some people to attend due to their personal circumstances? Will the activity alienate some people by being too challenging? The right activity will be the one that achieves the objectives.
To help with ideas, here are some ideas we found in this online page http://vorkspace.com/blog/index.php/13-top-team-building-activities/
Plan the next step
Remember the objectives. Take time to capture all the outputs achieved during the event and also plan in adequate time to follow up. If there are numerous flip charts or post-it notes full of material someone will need to type this up and send it around to the team.
Don’t just have one team building event and think that is enough. Try and hold a few a year so that the good work you’ve done during the initial event is continued to ensure you are showing commitment and consistency to your colleagues, even if it’s as simple as picking an ice cream out of the box on a hot day in July.