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team building for 2018.
As a team building facilitator and speaker, I realize that the umbrella topic of “team building” brings a number of ideas to people’s heads – not all of them positive!
Many leaders can see the profitable impact of relevant and intentional activities, and recognize the usefulness and of professionally delivered team building events.
But not all of the top trends in teambuilding are positive…
Just as not all that glitters is gold, some of the events and activities that managers and team leaders schedule for their people can be less relevant and have minimal impact.
Team building is NOT the same as team bonding.
And, while there is a place for and a value in simple bonding activities, team building should provide relevant and actionable insights and take-aways that immediately improve group awareness, focus, and interactions. In this article, you will hear about some of the best (and some of the less beneficial) trends in team building – because as a team leader, your focus should be on what is effective, not just what is popular…
From “Recreational” to “Intentional” – Team Building Trends for 2018
The following are activities that many companies and groups have invested time and resources in. They are listed in order from recreational to intentional.
Recreational Events usually offer a few hours of fun, with little real-world application or impact… while Intentional Team Building activities are more intentional and results-focused.
All events CAN have a positive impact on team dynamics and interactions – but the further down the list you go, the more the event will likely have relevant and actionable outcomes that will improve your team’s accountability, collaboration, etc.
- Bowling and Laser-tag and Zip-lining, Oh My!
There are a number of things that managers schedule and call team building, and like these activities, they may be fun, but they are not truly relevant… and they likely offer no real-world application other than a few laughs together. And while laughter and rapport are both valuable in building and strengthening relationships, these activities often offer little depth of meaningful interaction.
- Chili and Paint Experiences
Cook-offs and artistic afternoons have become a bit more popular, and while these do offer an occasional discussion of “how we are all important ingredients” or “together we create a beautiful canvas,” the take-aways are seldom more than a lighthearted and enjoyable leisure time together.
- Building Bikes and Bears
These “charity builds” give your people a chance to spend time away from the office, and definitely deliver a thoughtful gift to the people they are donated to, but there is seldom any tangible change in office dynamics or behaviors…
- Scavenger Hunts
Whether across an entire city or at a specific location, a scavenger hunt is a fun and engaging way to allow your people to work together toward a common goal. Some companies, like WildGoose, even use technology to collect and score the events… and you can group people together to ensure they interact during the event. The challenge is finding a facilitator to help the activity translate to a boost in inter-office collaboration or effectiveness.
- Crisis & Adventure Simulations
Using out-of-the-box notebooks and PowerPoint programs adds an engaging twist, but a group conversation about being stranded on an island (or saved from a bear attack) doesn’t always provide applicable take-aways for your team. Your people will likely only carry back to their daily activities the memory of a short activity that has limited applications to improve their interactions and productivity.
- Great Escapes
Nearly everyone has visited – or at least heard of – an escape room experience. In Atlanta, the Ultimate Escape Game is a popular and highly rated opportunity for people to enjoy a fun hour together with a unique challenge. Escape rooms are a controlled atmosphere where all ages can participate and learn the importance of collaboration, and can be helpful to inspire improved communication skills if the lessons are connected to your everyday workplace situation.
- Conference Conversations
One of the more interesting team building trends is to incorporate team building activities into a conference event. These intentional networking and connection-creating opportunities are a key part of why attendees are there in the first place – to grow their network and collaborate with others who they can share information and issues with. Whether as part of an opening interactive keynote, or an engaging set of conversations and designed interactions throughout the event, allowing people to establish and grow useful relationships is as valuable a take-away as any content they may collect in their notebooks.
- Enlightening Shared Challenges and Laughs
A tailored collection of experiential challenges can be a powerful and effective way to improve self-awareness. Business team building events are a unique and fun way to tailor team challenges and interactions to address a specific teamwork issue or need, whether it is increased accountability or personality conflicts or just improved clarity in communications. A fun day of laughter, where “ha-ha’s” are transformed to relevant “a-ha’s” that impact your team performance, can be a powerful catalyst for team development.
Experiential activities can be powerful learning tools.
They provide far more effective and memorable insights than a lecture or bullet-list PowerPoint presentation or recreational activity!
As you plan for your next group development event, consider the impact that your investment will ultimately have.
Looking back in 3-6 months, will the time you and your team spend together translate into more effective communication and performance?
There are a number of team building options available, and the trends for 2018 offer a spectrum of experiences for your people to enjoy. And, there are truly no wrong answers. Every activity provides at least some measure of interaction and bonding opportunity.
But for team leaders looking to get the most impact for their teams, the more intentional you are in your team building activity, the more improvement in team dynamics you are likely to witness.
Thank you for reading!
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