Category Archives: Corporate Team Building

What Difference Does it Make?

What difference does it make?

There are a lot of team building activities that exist, and there are also a variety of team building companies that boast everything from a Drum Circle to Cooking to get your team engaged, communicating, and more productive. Sure, they may sound like fun, but what makes a team building experience worth the time, money, and effort that is put into it? Read more

Developing a Compelling Vision Statement for Your Team

developing team vision statement

Creating and defining a vision statement for your team can be tough.  What do you include?  What do you exclude?  How long or short do you make it?  There are a lot of thoughts that go into defining the vision for your team or business.

Here are some tried-and-true methods for not only defining your vision, but for developing a compelling vision statement for your team that will get them motivated, empower them to work, and engage them and your organization for success.

The Vision Statement Must Be Clear.

Clarity around a vision and goal is one of the things that separates high-performing teams from ineffectively functioning teams, according to the authors of Teamwork: What Must Go Right/What Can Go Wrong. A sense of mission is a characteristic of both top-performing teams and leaders.

Mission can be defined as a vision of a future state that inspires action.  The vision has to be clear.  People want to know where they are going, what they need to do to get there, and what’s in it for them.  Beyond money, bonuses, or tangible rewards, people will get behind a challenging goal that is bigger than themselves

Think about the teams you’ve either led or been on.  When there was a clear vision, were you more or less productive?  More or less stressed?  When a clear vision is defined, it is much easier to know when you’re on and off course and know what you need to do to adjust.

The Vision Statement Must Be Compelling.

In additional to clarity, a vision must also be compelling.  It must drive production and goals. Each project and every goal work to further the vision of the organization.

A compelling vision encourages risk.

This kind of vision encourages risk, not perfection.  Teams are encourage to develop risky goals to meet risky objectives.  (This is not risk for the sake of risk, but a mission that drives teams and people to risk more than they would otherwise.)

A compelling vision inspires ownership.

A vision like this assumes people are capable of not only working toward the mission, but also contributing ways to achieve the vision.  People want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves.  A compelling vision produces the idea that the person’s work is meaningful beyond just the paycheck.

A compelling vision empowers teams to action.

Have you ever been so engrossed in completing a project that you totally lost track of time?  A compelling vision can do that, especially if it makes a difference.  People love to rally around a cause.  It creates a sense of urgency, moving people to take action.

The Vision Statement Must Be Communicated.

You might think that since you created a clear and compelling vision statement that everyone would think about it and obsess over it as much as you do.  You would be wrong.  For most people, the vision statement must be communicated on a consistent basis.

In order to communicate your vision statement effectively, it must be short enough to memorize, but long enough to include key components. For example, a local school district’s vision statement is: “To graduate every student prepared for success beyond high school.” This is a very compelling mission statement.  It is short enough to memorize.  It is also not too specific regarding “success”.  Will success look the same for every student graduating high school?  Of course not; however, this district desires to achieve success with every student, regardless of how that looks.

Vision statements are great if they are communicated.  They are fairly useless if they are not.  People forget.  They get busy.  Team members get distracted with the day to day tasks and tend to lose sight of the overall vision.  Team leaders need to keep the vision in front of people.  Remind them why they are doing the day-to-day tasks.  Leaders remind people of their purpose in the grand scheme of things and why each person is important to the overall vision.

Ways to communicate your vision:

– Talk about it.

– Celebrate team members who embody it.

– Display it everywhere.

– Invite dialogue around it.

– Get feedback from others.

– Create “calls to action” around it.

The Vision Statement Must Be a Commitment.

To have a vision statement is one thing.  To be committed to it is altogether quite different.  Most companies these days have a mission or vision statement.  How many in the company know what it is?  Or seek to work by it on a daily basis?

The best teams and leaders know the vision statement and are committed to seeing it lived out day by day.  It’s part of the DNA of the organization and each team and team member strive to work towards the vision.  Every goal that is set and every project undertaken is driven to fulfill the vision.

How else do you create a clear and compelling vision statement for your team?  What ways do you communicate and commit to it?

7 Team Building Lessons I Learned from White Water Rafting

Group retreat events - river rafting

Last week, while on vacation, I went on a whitewater rafting adventure with some of my family.  We were on a Class IV (advanced) section of the Clear Creek river outside of Idaho Springs, Colorado.  The company we went with was Liquid Descent, and our guide was Alan (he was awesome!)

It was a great thrill and a rush of adrenaline.  We got through the whole half-day without anyone falling out and having a blast. Here are the team building lessons I learned from our experience.

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How to Become a Team Building Jedi Master, Saga II

Welcome back to Team Building Tuesday, young master!  Last week you learned some of what it takes to become a team building Jedi master.  We will continue your training today – are you ready?  You must not lose focus.  You must continue to press on and complete your training.  Don’t turn back now!  Let’s begin. Read more

5 Reasons You Should Be Using Experiential Learning Activities with Your Team

team communication

I have used experiential learning activities with groups for a long time, and they are some of my favorite activities to use with groups.  These do not necessarily have to be done on a ropes course; although, they can be.  They can be done indoors or outdoors, with no equipment or some equipment, and are very effective at getting groups to collaborate, communicate, problem-solve, and get motivated.

These are just a few reasons why you should begin to incorporate experiential learning activities in your team meetings, events, conferences, and just about any other place you can fit them in.  Besides being fun, they provide a necessary break from the mundane meetings and information-overload conferences that so many people tend to put on.  Put a little spice in your team by trying some experiential learning activities.

Reason #1: Boost your team’s motivation

Get out of the hum drum lecture-style leadership trainings and give your team something to get excited about.  Experiential learning involves students in the process of discovering more about themselves and their teammates by participating in high-touch exercises.  These activities can be fun and high energy, but can also be very intense.

I’ve seen a lot of excitement, laughs, and appreciation of team members who have been able to learn more about leadership, communication, and much more.  This kind of training can get your team that extra boost of motivation it needs.

Reason #2:  Accelerate your group’s trust

Most people have heard of trust falls and other activities that can give the heeby-jeebies to anyone with trust or boundary issues.  However, there are ways to increase trust without having to fall off a park bench into the waiting arms of your hopefully-attentive team mates.

Experiential activities can be adjusted to address just about any team issue and work to resolve it through highly participatory activities.  Trust is one of those.  There are numerous challenges and activities that can help increase a group’s trust.  Also, as teams engage together and work towards a common solution (even if the activity isn’t specifically a trust-oriented activity) the group’s trust will increase.

Reason #3: Hone your group’s communication skills

Team building activities and experiential learning exercises are great to work on team communication skills.  Many of the challenges require an efficient style of communication (planning, preparing, engaging, and problem-solving) to complete successfully.

There are also ways to modify challenges to make your team work even harder at refining their communication skills.  You can give certain team members special challenges (i.e., losing the ability to speak) to make other members of the group take on those communication roles.

Reason #4: Create “a-ha” moments for your team members

One of the things I love most about experiential activities is that it can create moments of revelation for your team.  Sometimes those moments happen during the activity.  More often, those moments occur after the activity is over – either during the debriefing time or even after the event or activity is over and the person is back in their everyday routine.

These types of activities allow for these “a-ha” moments as team members work together to accomplish challenges in an environment that allows for and encourages creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to relate it back to everyday life.

Reason #5:  Increase your team performance

If you’ve accomplished reasons one through four, then chances are your team will be able to increase their performance.  If a team trusts each other, communicates more effectively, is more motivated, and knows certain issues that they need to work on, their performance will continue to improve.

Experiential learning activities can do all of this and more.  There are numerous other benefits that are not mentioned here.  They are an effective way to get your team engaged beyond normal trainings and conferences.  If you’d like to learn more about these kinds of activities, and how Lead by Adventure can work with you, contact us here.

What experiential learning activities has your team used?  What have you seen that is effective?  Talk to me, Goose!  Share in the comments below. 

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