Since 1988 we have seen many team building trends come and go.
First were the rugged outdoor styles (usually built around high and low ropes courses), and then came the indoor tabletop business games, drumming and reality TV rip-offs.
Having had so many formats and genre to select from over the years, we have certainly had plenty of opportunity to deduce which approaches generate the best potential learning outcomes for team development.
Given that ‘real’ team development is a process anchored in behavioural awareness and development, we favour team building activity formats that will bring diverse behavioural contributions to life.
Many traditional team building formats will only favour a particular sub-set of styles and allow them to shine (usually competitive / action-oriented roles). Rarely can a short activity session indulge the full range of action, thinking and social roles that are needed for real world balance in a team.
An activity that does not draw upon the full range of team role behaviours that exist at work, and enable them to shine, may actually risk undermining the actual process of team development.
The optimal team building activity will be one that openly enables all team members to project their strengths and weaknesses to enable better understanding. Thus in a time compressed environment evidence is there to see of the benefits that arise from diversity.
Better understanding during games and simulations of these behaviours builds a platform for post activity discussion and linking to strategies for improving team process sin the real world.
The ultimate approach is to use evidence based behavioural profiling such as ‘The Belbin Model’ that can be used to format not just the activity, but cascade into lasting behavioural development back at work.
The three best team building activity formats of recent times for enabling great learning outcomes we have found to be…
Whilst this game has a military theme, it’s not about teaching people to become military commanders.
The theme is merely a framework for challenging teams to effectively leverage one another’s strengths to survive and thrive in a fast moving and competitive environment.
Teams need to draw upon diverse behavioural contributions to create innovative tactical solutions that are also realistic and well executed.
The success of the Roman Empire (at its zenith) was based upon not only seizing opportunities, but also methodically consolidating them for mutual benefit.
This game requires teams to creatively approach the growth of an empire, but also to consider the needs of ongoing management and consolidation of an empire for sustainability and ongoing profit.
Bravado and risk taking alone will not sustain an empire over time.
In this team building activity format each team has an identical brief, time frame and opportunity to win a lucrative tender.
The winning team will be the one that best harnesses the diversity within the team to have a balanced approach from pure creativity to genuine innovation that can enable design, building and follow-through into actual testing of a device before deadline.
Even the very best ideas will count for nothing if they cannot be taken from vision to a profitable working reality.