There are plenty of corporate team building activities out there, but it’s also important to keep in mind that, despite their differences, they each serve one main goal, and that one goal is to foster group cohesion. These activities can be carried out at a weekend retreat, or in an office cafeteria of appropriate size, but the place and time are not really important, because these activities are meant to be simple, flexible and effective. This is the beauty behind of most corporate team building activities.
However, it’s also important to keep in mind that not all team building exercises are the same. Some of these activities cannot even change the behavior of their participants in any meaningful way, which is to say that they are nothing more than pointless activities that people are forced to participate in. Most team building exercises may be fun, but if they can’t help promote team cohesion, and excellence then they are not really very good.
Too often office managers will plan group activities in order to meet certain regulations or simply because they feel like it. Unfortunately, this is not a smart way of doing things, since they have very nebulous and short term goals. Instead, team building activities should be carried out with strategic goals in mind. They need to have an actual purpose, and that purpose is to help office personnel get acquainted with each other beyond their usual cliques and group of friends at the office.
The following article will highlight several useful corporate team building activities which are designed to help foster greater group cohesion in the office, and at the same time, help promote greater work performance.
4 Corporate Team Building Activities to Help Employees Excel
Back to Back Drawing
This activity involves dividing up people into pairs and having each pair sit on the floor with each of them sitting back to back. This activity starts when one person in each pair is given a picture, while his or her partner gets a pencil or a pad of paper. The person holding the picture will verbally instruct his or her partner to draw the image without telling them what the image actually is.
After they’re done, the partners will then compare the new drawing with the original picture given to one of the partners. This exercise helps foster a sense of interdependence between people, while at the same time, improving their communication and interpretative skills. It also helps them to understand the value of trust in a situation where each person lacks all the necessary tools to finish a particular task on their own.
The Survival Scenario
In this activity, the goal is to get the entire group to communicate and agree on a course of action in order to “survive.” In this activity, the group is given a hypothetical life or death scenario, such as being lost in the wilderness or being caught in the open during a major disaster.
For example, in one scenario, the group is trying to escape a sinking ship by rowing their life rafts onto an island. The only problem, however, is that they can only bring a total of 10 items from their belongings on the sinking ship due to the limited capacity of the life rafts. It is the group’s task to plan which items they should bring with them to the island, so that they can survive there for an indefinite amount of time.
This activity teaches group planning as well as group coordination. It also helps people communicate their ideas to each other, and allows for increased employee interaction.
The Human Spring
This activity begins by asking the entire group to face each other in pairs. Also, each member’s elbows should be bent, with their palms facing towards the opposite member. When everyone is ready, each pair will then be instructed to touch their palms together, while gradually leaning forward into each other. They will continue this process until they are leaning towards each other, and holding each other up, at which point everyone is instructed to move their feet further back to the point that they have to rely on their partners in order to remain standing.
This activity teaches group members trust and a sense of interdependence. Furthermore, it also teaches them the importance of focusing their mind, while performing a difficult activity.
The minefield requires a large area, but it’s a good corporate team building exercise nonetheless. The first thing that needs to be done is to set up the “minefield” itself. This basically involves setting up chairs, balls, boxes, furniture and practically any other object which can act as an obstacle, but be sure to leave just enough space between each object for people to walk through.
When everyone’s ready, divide all of the members up into pairs. This activity focuses on building strong relationships, so it’s important that each member doesn’t forget who his or her partner is. This is also an ideal opportunity to pair up people who have trust issues.
Next, one partner of each pair is blindfolded. These are the designated mine walkers, and it is their job to go through the minefield. On the other hand, his or her partner’s job will be to stay outside of the minefield and give them directions on how to proceed, helping them to avoid the obstacles and then to reach other side of the area without touching any of the “mines.”
Each mine walker begins at the starting area, and, with the help of their partner, navigate their way through to the finishing point. Each pair will also be allowed a few minutes to prepare, and plan out how they will communicate with each other during the activity.
The activities which are mentioned here are examples of team building activities which help promote greater group cooperation in an office environment. Although it’s true that most team building activities can have several goals, the most important goal is to help them excel in a group oriented environment. Personnel who trust each other, and who have no troubles coordinating their various tasks, are usually more productive than those who are not.
So to summarize the goal of team building, it is to help office personnel excel in their work by teaching them to work well with others. The fact is that the average office personnel rarely interact with people they don’t know, and this sort behavior is not conducive to productivity. Among the goals of team building activities is to address this issue by helping office personnel overcome some of these unspoken barriers. So in performing corporate team building activities, it’s important to remember that the goal is not just about performance, efficiency or personnel, but all of them combined.