Preparing for Corporate Team Building

    Talk about “team-building” as you walk though any given office, and you will come across a mixed bag of reactions. Some people will gasp at you, wide-eyed, and dive headlong into a story about the last team building thing their last job did, and how much fun it was and how they developed lifelong friendships with their co-workers because of it. Others will tense up and grimace, clearly trying not to disappoint you with how much they hate it. Others still will simply refuse to form even the simplest of opinions on the subject, wobbling their heads back and forth, and saying the ever-popular (and so constructive) phrase, “Eh.”

    It’s a simple fact: corporate team building is tricky territory. But planning a successful team building activity is easier than you might think – if you follow a few basic guidelines, that is:

    Be Goal-Oriented. As the old folks say, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him become friends with his co-workers." A corporate team-building event is more than a social gathering, and therefore it should have structural and a clear objective. Look at the places where your team might be lacking – communication, deadlines, and inter-office relations – and make a plan to strengthen that element. Set realistic goals for yourself and your team, and soon you all will find that your team is actually getting stronger and more efficient.

    Know Your Team. This might seem counterintuitive, since a lot of corporate team building includes all the “getting-to-know-you,” but having some insight into your staff really is critical to planning a successful team-building activity. Are most of your workers the quiet, by-the-book type? Great, planning your event will be simple – fruit tray, trust falls, and icebreaker games aplenty. But what if you’ve got a team of wild cards? The type that won’t respond to the traditional team-building fare? Find a large venue with open space, pick up some Nerf guns, and stage a full zombie war! You’ll be shocked to discover how quickly people learn to work together when the hungry undead are on their trail!

    Think of the Long Term. As you prep and plan for your big team event, be sure to keep focused on your long-term goals. One annual event (fantastic though it may be) does not make a team strong. Focus your attention on the skills your team can gain and the lessons they can learn, and make sure they are just as prevalent as the food or décor. Remember, the most important thing here is building your team – that’s why you’re planning a “team-building” activity! Use this time to grow together, to ferret out everyone’s skills, and see what will create the most efficient group for your company!

    Have you had any particularly interesting team-building events in your day? Share your stories (the good and the band) in the comments below, and visit our Facebook and Twitter pages for more sage advice on event planning!