Top 5 Team Building Tips for an PA / EA
1. Create a clear brief that will save you from unnecessary work.
A nice succinct and accurate brief will not only assist in getting simple quotes that match your needs, but it will also help you and the internal end users accurately nail down what needs to be achieved.
A clear brief can address the major issues such as…
A/ Why we are doing a team building event? (e.g. enhance the conference, reward a team, communicate a message, network a new sales force.)
B/ What broad team building methods appeal to us? (e.g. indoor, outdoor, themes we may already like from what we have seen / or done before and don’t want to repeat).
C/ What must the team building event achieve? (e.g. pure fun, get us out and about, match new company values, solve real workplace behavioural challenges or fit into a change initiative etc).
Of course details on group size, venue, required duration etc are also a must.Budgets upfront can also help reduce the amount of wasted time and quotes.
All of the above will help reduce the amount of follow up questions and steps from providers and internal end users and reduce your workload.
2 - Ask some important team building related “What If’s?”
It’s important to scope some potential variables with any team building approaches that you may wish to deploy.
Asking a few simple “what if?” style questions beforehand can also save some stress later one.For example…
What if it rains?What if our numbers change?What if we start an hour late?
Discussing with a provider upfront how these common variables at a meeting may be addressed in advance will help to alleviate a great deal of stress on the day as such surprises manifest themselves in reality amidst the 25 other things you need to do.
3. Have clear expectations of what your budget will actually get you.
There are three distinct levels of team building products out there in the marketplace and each has a price range that will correspond to its complexity, quality, sophistication and potential outcomes.
First tier events are things like lawn bowls, karts, reality show parodies (e.g. Amazing Race, Cooking classes etc) and can have a price range of $35 - $70 per person.
Second tier events are more sophisticated business games and team building approaches that whilst fun can also target some business related issues and themes. These can range from $70 - $200 per person.
Third tier events are more oriented towards substantial team and leadership development with high-level facilitation, outcomes and experiential content. These are correspondingly more on a per person basis, but usually are accompanied with detailed pre event diagnostics, individual and team profiles as well as more substantive delivery on the day / days and have targeted follow though. These can range from around $175 - $200 per person upwards.
It is important to keep in mind that if you are trying to achieve Tier 3 objectives with a Tier 1 budget that you waste a lot of time trying match the proposals and quotes from a quality provider reacting to your Tier 3 needs on a Tier 1 budget.
4. Match the short list of team building options to the group.
It’s important to balance the many options that sit on the many websites that are out there with the culture, character, intellect and motivations of the target group.
For example a group of sedentary office workers of mixed age and fitness are unlikely to all warm to a cross country hike, nor a highly intelligent and analytical group of senior engineers to a set of childish beach games?
The major characteristics of the group along with their clearly stated objectives will assist in narrowing down a short list of options that will relate to the target audience on the day and thus hit the mark.
5. Try to avoid letting “the tail wag the dog”.
A PA who has been tasked with putting together the myriad elements of a meeting or event (including the team building) is quite often the victim of being pulled in many different directions by the conflicting aims and perceptions of numerous stakeholders.
A/ A senior manager loves his / her cross country extreme adventure sports on their weekends and is just desperate to have it featured as our “team build” on this conference, but in reality at least 60% of our mixed age and fitness group will likely end up having coronaries?
B/ Some people are insisting that we head outdoors (or indoors), or must absolutely have a particular themed activity (usually as seen on TV), but in reality our venue, duration, budgets or actual required outcomes just simply clash with that wish being deliverable?
So what wins out in the end, the immediate appeasement of a perception or the harder, but in the long run pragmatically realistic and ultimately easier reality?
It may be tempting at times to surrender to short team expediency and just “make it happen” despite obvious gaps in rationality, risk or common sense as requested, and sometimes it might all come together, but sadly there are many times it wont. When it doesn’t, everyone gets left with a sense of disappointment that things didn’t match their respective expectations (or much worse).
Far better to match realistic outcomes with the time, space, budgets and venues openly and honestly across the entire process than end up with disappointed stakeholders at the end of the event.