5 Steps to a Great Team Building Event

Posted on November 8, 2011.

Fall is a great time for football, changing leaves and Team Building! By now everyone has been knee deep in catch up from summer vacations and needs a break. In fact, a recent WebMD article discusses the correlation betweenour recent “fall back” on the clock and sleep disorders.  As the article suggests, you need to get outside andget active.  So what better time to bring the team together for some fun? I have to admit, in my former life, we had some pretty awesome team building exercises. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Put together a task force of the most creative folks on your team. Make sure you have a cross section of people represented so it’s not just IT people, or just salespeople.  Since the whole idea is to bring the team together, everyone should have a voice. Provide them with a budget and a full list of participants, but then let them do their thing.  Keep away until they have a final list of their top three ideas, then weigh in with your thoughts.
  2. Schedule the event when it works for most people.  Give up the idea that everyone will be available.  There’s always a vacation or illness. Pick a day and time that is the slowest and most convenient for the majority.  Don’t plan something too early or too late in the day. Be sensitive to people’s obligations at home.  Even if you don’t have all the details, make sure you communicate the time and place as soon as possible.  Ideally, you want to give everyone at least 30 days notice.
  3. Make sure you have coverage.  It’s not much of a team building if a third of your team is left behind to cover phones or visitors.  Make sure you get people from outside your group to help with the critical coverage.  And more importantly, make sure the coverage team has the names and contact information for you and your key employees in case there is a crisis they can’t handle.
  4. Have a goal. It’s great to just get out of the office and have some fun, but a team-building event should have a purpose and everyone should know up front what it is.  Announce it at the kick off and then get feedback at the end.  Goals can be anything from “increase morale” to “improve communication”. If you have several new hires or are bringing a diverse team together, the goal might be  “just get to know everyone”.
  5. Have Fun! If you, the manager, are not participating and having fun, no one else will either.  You need to fully immerse yourself in any and all of the activities.  Opting out of something because you might be embarrassed is not an option and will be remembered long after the event is over.

Team building events don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Some of the most successful events we had were potluck lunches at a park with volleyball or team bowling. You had to “fall back” this weekend, but you can move forward by getting your team up and out of the office.