How to Choose the Best Team Building Activities, Part 1

High ropes course team building

You have a team retreat or event coming up and need to choose a few team building activities to get your group excited and working well together so you can be uber-productive during the retreat. The best team building exercises build on each other so that your team can accelerate its performance not only during the event but also in the weeks and years to come.

How do you choose which activities to run? Here are a few suggestions on choosing team building activities. We will discuss the different types of team building activities you will encounter (in this post) as well as how to choose the best ones for your team, and what resources are available online to help you.  

First, you need to understand the different kinds of activities that fall under the team building umbrella:

Icebreakers

Icebreaker games accomplish what their name suggests. They help people feel more comfortable with each other and start breaking down walls. These activities are great if you have new team members or if your members are not that familiar with each other.

These serve as “get to know you” type activities and can be used not only in the beginning of a retreat, but they are great to sprinkle throughout the retreat as warm-ups to more intense activities.

Group Team Building Activities & Initiatives

These activities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From exercises that are more indoor problem- solving challenges and survival simulations to the more active and outdoors, these activities use different elements to get your team working together, communicating more effectively, and can really provide an eye-opening glimpse into how your people actually work together.

For the well-trained facilitator, these events can show the leader how to proceed with the group and also what activities the group needs next (or more of).

Low Ropes Challenges

Depending on where you do your corporate retreat, these may or may not be feasible for your group. Most of the low ropes activities are designed to be facilitated by a trained instructor (someone who knows the in’s and out’s of this type of event) and are run on a specific course.

These include the spider web, junk yard, wobbly woozy, the black hole, and many more. These events usually take longer and you’ll need at least 1/2 a day to make these worth your while.  Though there are some portable elements, many of these are set up as a stationary course that can be worked through as a group.  There is no specific order, but varies upon the team and the group’s goals.  

High Ropes Course

A ropes course requires a trained facilitator; however, if you have the time (at least a half day, but a full day is recommended) it can be a good investment for your team. The types of activities a group would encounter on a high ropes course include the incline log, multi-vine traverse, trapeze jump, and a host of others.

These are some of the most intense (physically and emotionally) exercises a team and individuals can experience, but they are definitely worth the time and expense if a company is willing to invest in them.

Transformational Leadership Exercises

Transformation leadership exercises can be quite intense and can provide a team (or an individual) with some of the most incredible breakthrough’s and “a-ha” moments of any activity listed here. These events are mostly held indoors (but are also often paired with outside challenges).

These also require a facilitator familiar not only with how to set up and perform the activities, but also someone that is familiar with how to process the events afterwards.  For this type of group bonding activity, the debrief process is just as important (if not more so) than the actual activities.  

These exercises are not for the faint of heart. They are usually done on multi-day events where a team needs or wants to dig into specific issues that are holding a team back from being effective.

Depending on the group’s goals and the amount of time you want to spend on them, any of these activities can help launch a team to the next level. Set your goals before your next corporate gathering, and use the activities that will help you achieve your goals whether they are more of the fun, get-to-know-you games or the more intense transformational leadership exercises.

To continue reading part 2, click here.

What are your favorite team building activities?  What team building activity resources do you use?  Talk to me, Goose!  Use the comments below. 

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