Many companies, big and small, are taking a modern approach to organizational development through team building exercises, fun challenges and weekend retreats. Such undertakings usually center around improving the team dynamics of a group of individuals including the members of the same branch of a business or the entire company itself. The goal is to instill team spirit and coordination between them to be able to work together more effectively.
While some businesses do team building exercises every week or even every day, there is no substitute for a team building outing. During these week-long or weekend-long events;
- Co-workers get an opportunity to spend quality time together by participating in a wide range of events and challenges,
- Learn how to respect each other’s approach to problem solving and
- Better able to identify which role everyone plays in accomplishing tasks.
There are literally hundreds of ranches, camps and other locations that cater exclusively to business clientele on team building excursions, but here are a few of the best ways that one can bolster their employee’s cooperation and sense of unity. Some of them are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Business Boot Camp
One of the most popular team building getaways involves a military-style boot camp. Not unlike their military counterparts, business boot camps take a group of individuals and put them into a challenging and demanding environment that nurtures a goal-driven, know-your-role type approach to problem solving.
These camps use a wide variety of exercises to encourage teamwork and help identify team member strengths and weaknesses rather than forcing the participants through physical and mental hoops. These camps may be for a few hours, for 1-2 days or even for a full week.
The longer the team is isolated together the more they end up learning about each other.
On the Hunt for Better Cooperation
The outdoors are an extremely popular place for team building retreats. It forces participants out of their comfort zone and isolates them so that they have only their teammates to rely on. It is in this type of situation that the best discoveries can be made about each person’s unique role on the team.
Many people feel that hunting is a great team building exercise for the following reasons;
- It stresses cooperation and
- Results in a moment of triumph that the entire group can enjoy
However, lethal hunting is rarely the objective, and most team building excursions normally involve catch and release or scavenger hunt scenarios. Did you know that some camps have even turned their hunting challenges into multi-acre games of outdoor hide and seek?
Hit the Rapids
As mentioned before, the outdoors provide an excellent opportunity for team building, because participants are forced to rely on the skills and knowledge of their teammates, thus creating a stronger team bond. One fun way of achieving this is through team river rafting. Navigating rapids requires constant cooperation and presence of mind from everyone in the boat. If one person fails to do their part, the team risks failure in the form of some wet clothes and tarnished egos. Not only is this a fun, exciting way to reinforce teamwork, but it can often be combined with other activities like camping, hunting or team meditation.
Beat the Band
An orchestra is nothing more than a team of musicians and some musical instruments working in carefully choreographed harmony. Each player – no matter how insignificant in the final work – contributes something to the whole arrangement that ultimately makes it better. This is the principle that some special team building band camps have taken as their motto.
Herein, the participants including some musicians, some not – are introduced to new instruments and taught how to play simple musical lines. At the end of the retreat, the team holds a concert for all their senior staff to show them how well they’ve learned to work together.
Game for Success
One of the more fun team building retreats involves participants playing large-scale games that require strategy, cooperation and teamwork. Such games include capturing the flag, paintball and soccer. These exercises are not only fun, but they also reinforce the basic principles of teamwork and mutual collaboration. In fact, many companies prefer this system because it often benefits their employees without them even knowing they’re on a team building retreat.
No matter what one’s goal is in scheduling a team building seminar, it’s important to remember a few crucial points.
- The more the participants get out of their “comfort zone”, the more likely they are to forge team building bonds with each other.
- Team exercises are always beneficial, but when combined with a cooperative environment (like camping, hunting, etc.) the benefits are multiplied.
- Not everyone will feel comfortable participating in these exercises. This only means that their role in the team has yet to be identified. You just have to be creative in identifying where these people fit in.