Team Building Ideas Found at 30,000 Feet
By Meade Peers McCoy
“Keep your eyes open for new ideas and information about what is going on in the field of training and development”. This is a sentiment that I have heard many times and expressed myself on more than one occasion, but sometimes it still catches me by surprise where useful information can be found. Such as when I ran across an article on team building in an Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine (page 92).
Dream Teams, creative group activities help foster a collaborative spirit by Rob Lovitt covers the basic ideas behind team building and supplies profiles of a few companies that run team building retreats or events that are available.
We are all familiar with the common team building activities (everyone has a joke about trust falls) and we’ve all experienced a variation of the hand holding human knot exercise, where the knot must be untangled without letting go of anyone’s hand. We all know team building is important but all the hype has made it feel old and not very innovative. Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this article and was reminded that there are team building strategies that take us beyond the human knot. One of the examples provided in the article was an Iron Chef style culinary competition where employees were split into teams and given a basket of ingredients, and told they must work together to plan and prepare a three-course meal using the ingredients provided. The culinary competition team building activity was staged by American Outback Adventures and Events and is designed to foster innovation, collaboration, creativity, strategy, and communication. Another example in the article was the concept of blending volunteering and team building or “VolunTeaming” as it is called by the Ritz Carlton. The Ritz Carlton’s VolunTeaming programs are designed around the idea that corporate social responsibility is something that employees believe in supporting, and that people will form more productive teams if they feel that the activity has a purpose that benefits people or the community. Volunteer based team building changes the focus from internal to the external group.
Team building is something that I have discussed in almost all my classes at Roosevelt, but I honestly have to say that I’ve never put much thought into how team building activities could be done differently. It took a random article in an airline magazine to get me truly thinking about how innovative you can really be when it comes to the concept of fostering team spirit and teaching cooperation techniques.
Finding new creative and engaging team building activities is very important in today’s world of team based work environments and remembering to be on the lookout for new ideas in unconventional places is a must.
What unexpected place have you run across information about training related topics?
What’s the most interesting team building activity you’ve ever participated in?
Cooking competitions, volunteering, if team building can be this creative what do you think would make a good team building activity?