If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the 9 to 5 world, chances are you’ve participated in the age-old tradition of team building. The phrase “team building” is not used much outside of the corporate world, unless of course you’re an avid NBA2K — or similar sports-themed video game — player. For the rest of us workaday individuals, team building is something we are well-familiarized with and, depending on your company, can be loads of fun or a dismal experience.
I work for a Prague-based IT company called MyQ and we have a quarterly team building event called Show Time. We tend to organize Show Time at a place that has a large screen to display our presentations and is big enough to accommodate everyone. Our last two events were at a cinema. After the presentation we participate in some type of game or group activity.
My team building experiences have been enjoyable so far. I don’t have years of experience with team building events and activities, but in my short time at MyQ, I’ve found that the following four aspects can lead to a successful team building event.
- The Mental Aspect
The mental aspect allows the presenters to share the goals they’ve set for themselves and clarify their role at the company. Knowing what a department wants to do and how they plan to get there is helpful for the entire company. If there are any common goals within another department, this action planning will help identify ways to succeed. Role clarification allows for a better understanding of each department and it emphasizes the value of each team member.
The presentations should be straightforward, clear, and presented within a timely matter, depending on your schedule of course. We have some creative people at MyQ, so the more convivial presentations are a welcome relief to just a numbers rundown-type of presentation.
We start out our team building with each department’s rundown of the previous quarter: successes, areas in which to improve, and plans for the upcoming quarter(s). This is done though the magic of PowerPoint or by some type of video presentation. The videos are normally made by the branch managers who can’t attend. Although at the last team building, our HR department made an entertaining video of their talent-hunting process.
2. The Physical Aspect
The Physical Aspect allows for problem solving, team work, and communication. Some people may shine more during the Mental Aspect, so having the Physical Aspect can help bring out leadership qualities in people who are more oriented with a physical activity or team sport.
After the presentations, we move on to an activity. This is usually a game or some type of physical event. Not only does it allow us to reintroduce blood to our lower extremities, but it also allows us to work together as a team. You can only take PowerPoint presentations for so long before you feel you need to run off somewhere, no matter how entertaining they may be.
At our last Show Time event we participated in a treasure hunt that took us around the tourist-filled center of Prague. Our large group was divided into smaller groups of four and five, given instructions on the game, and was set free to find our treasures.
3. The Casual Aspect
The Casual Aspect is where interpersonal relationships will be developed. It’s not obligatory, but I’ve found that mixing up the departments during the wine-and-dine session allows people the opportunity who normally don’t speak to each other at the office to get better acquainted. Strong drinks and hearty food make for the best ice breakers.
After all that mental and physical exertion, what’s better than cutting loose, eating, and having a few drinks? It’s safe to say that this is probably most people’s favorite part about any team building; unless you are really into PowerPoints, but hey, I’m not judging.
For us, our treasure hunt ended at U Fleků Restaurant, a 500-year-old pub, where we enjoyed bottomless beers, feasted on various farm animals with dumplings, and engaged in casual conversation.
4. The Acknowledgement Aspect
The acknowledgement aspect is important because it recognizes everyone for their combined efforts, both in the game and at the office. It’s also a great time for management to make a final rousing speech and get the team excited for the next team building event.
Games are pointless without knowing who won and recognizing the winning group’s team work. Since team building events are typically semi-casual, don’t be mad if your team didn’t win. That’s not the point. The point is to work with your colleagues to achieve a goal and to have fun. But if you’re still a bit sore about losing, have a few extra beers.
The Z Agency, the brains behind our treasure hunt, held a small ceremony for the top three teams (it was actually five because three teams tied for third) and handed out some small prizes. After the awards portion of the evening, we carried on in a lively fashion until our allotted time came to an end.
Team building has proven, at least for me, to be a useful resource for the office. By getting everyone together, discussing goals and successes, and participating in an activity, it will build comradery and strengthen relationships. We have an international team and our team building events have been a great way to learn about each other’s cultures, talk story, and forget about the daily grind, even if just for a few hours.
Originally published at medium.com on May 3, 2018.