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team building myths

Exploring Team Building Myths with Chris Cavert, Ed.D.

Part 1 of Our Interview with Chris Cavert, Ed.D.

Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known educator, trainer and speaker and recipient of the AEE Karl Rohnke creativity award. He has been working with groups of all ages for more than 25 years. Chris is the author of over a dozen books related to activity-based experiential group development. He holds an undergraduate degree in physical education, a master’s degree in Experiential Education and an educational doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction. As an educator Chris focuses on how to use team building activities to develop social-emotional intelligence and pro-social skills within groups of all ages. For more information visit: FUNdoing.com

What is a one of the common team building myths you encounter?

A lot of people call outings team building. So in their mind going out together is building teams. And I don’t disagree with that. I think part of it is true in the sense of, when you do things together, you have an opportunity to learn about each other a little bit more. You’re going to have conversations. Find out similarities and differences. You’re going to see how people have fun, see how people deal with maybe challenges or stress. Because any kind of outings where you have to make decisions together has some level of stress or possibly conflict. So there are all those parts of building a team in there. What’s missing, is the idea of we’re reflecting on an experience. These outings that people call team building is more what I call accidental team building; it just kind of happens because you’re together.

Have you come across any misperceptions about team building in your work?

I think the overall idea of the misconception in team building is how a group of people are prepared for a team building experience. My most challenging situations with groups are where the main contact, whether it was a manager or the assistant to the manager wants the group to go do an activity to become better communicators because they’re having a hard time with understanding what each other’s needs are. So they want the group to work on team building. But when the group comes in, they have no idea that they were there to do professional development versus just coming to play and have some fun. In their mind, they were going to have some fun together. Because every year they go to a ball game or paint balling; that to them was their team building experience.

Well, now it’s been upgraded to a professional development experience but they didn’t know that. It should be more transparent to groups of what they are getting themselves into. It shouldn’t be a, “Surprise! You’re here. And now you have to work!” Because team building in the sense of professional development is work. We’re working at learning and growing. We’re working at deciding whether to keep, change, or get rid of certain behaviors. So I think that’s the biggest misperception: groups coming in without the understanding of the level of team building they’re going to be involved in.

What would you say is the biggest between a team building event versus a social event? You touch on this in your previous answers, but I’d like you to restate it.

It’s about the outcomes and the group understanding the outcome is going to be a more professional development program where we are going to learn something.  Professional development is about learning. That why the resume line item is, “What professional development have you been involved in?” not what social gathering have you been involved in.

What would you say the difference between teamwork and team building is?

Team building is exploring how the team functions. Explore how you as a team take on a task or work through a challenge by going out to do an experience together, I.e., go out and do some teamwork. Then reflect on the experience by looking at behaviors you want to keep change, or add. That time of reflection or skill development is team building.

So it sounds to me like teamwork would be a component of team building? You could have teamwork, as in people working together; but until you add in that professional development or reflection piece of it, it’s just that – teamwork.

Yes, exactly.

But if you want to transform teamwork into team building, you need to add some of these components you’re talking about?

I believe so. There’s got to be a purposeful reflection on something. It has to be an experiential learning cycle, not just an experience. We have to purposely look at how we do things to see if we want to keep or change them.

Now that we’ve covered the topic of team building myths, stay tuned for Part Two of our interview with Chris Cavert, Ed.D. next week. He’ll give some practical tips for managers on how to build better teams on a daily basis. Additionally, Chris shares a team building idea you can do right at your next office meeting!
team-building-scavenger-hunt

The Techno Rally: A Bold And Crazy Team Building Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a great way to get your group out of the meeting room and into the glorious sunlight? Imagine doing just that while also building strong working relationships in the process. These are the big draws for our ever popular Techno Rally team building scavenger hunt.

Location, Location, Location

First, pick any location. Our clients have been spotted arm-wrestling senior citizens and admiring Manic Panic hair-do’s in various parts of Los Angeles and Orange County. Any interesting location where you are having a meeting or group event is an option. Then, let us create a hilariously wacky adventure that your co-workers will thank you for arranging.

The Team Building Scavenger Hunt Is On!

Your group will be mixed into teams who will take on crazy challenges like re-enacting high school prom photo poses. So, we’ll give them a chance to cheese it up and chase each other down as they race against the clock to complete as many challenges as possible. Groups begin by picking team names that will strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. Then, each team will pick an “App Master” who will download our scavenger hunt mobile app. The app keeps the group in check as to what’s next on the timed agenda. Strategy is key because there’s no way to complete all tasks in the time allotted. Groups must wisely choose which tasks to tackle for the most points.

Finally, they’re off to snap photos with iconic local structures, interact with the locals, and other outlandish actions. Teams will be virtually race each other as they move up and down the app’s leader board throughout the event. And lastly, they must make it back to the final meeting point before the buzzer. We turn off the leader board results in the final moments, so the winner will be a surprise to all participants. The first round of drinks are on the winning team!

Personalization For The Win

Clients can add personal touches to the event with trivia questions or other checkpoint challenges related to the company. We will help you design the event to drive home a deeper team building message to everyone on your team. Contact James Bennett at james@fireflyteamevents.com to get a-movin’ and make this adventure happen!

los-angeles-team-building

5 Fresh Ideas for Los Angeles Team Building Events

I love L.A., we love it!  We could sing all day of our love for Los Angeles. You will too when you see the endless team event opportunities in the City of Angels.  Team building is not only a fun mental break for your employees, but it also shows them that you value their well-being.  According to a Gallup study, 75% of workers leave their bosses, not their companies.  Be the boss your employees don’t want to leave while strengthening team bonds with these top Los Angeles team building activities.

I’m A Rocket Man

Your colleagues will seriously wonder, “how can this be my job?!” as they have a blast with our Launch It! Rockets event. The California Science Center is the perfect backdrop for your group to soak in the genius as they take on the challenge of designing, creating, and launching their own water rockets.

I Will Survive

Work together or die (figuratively); that’s the premise of our Manic Panic Escape Room event. There’s no better way to escape the clutches of madness than in any of the funky, mid-mod meeting spaces at The Standard, Downtown Los Angeles. For one hour, your group will have to think fast to solve mind-bending puzzles as the time whittles down. Lastly, they’ll make their escape to the final point: the rooftop bar for celebratory cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

He’s Going the Distance, He’s Going For Speed

Yes, there may be moments of silliness, but our Techno Rally is guaranteed to cause laughter and bonding moments. Even better as you race through Los Angeles’ historic Olvera Street and Chinatown districts. Start at the iconic Los Angeles Union Station. From there, teams will divide and conquer as they wind up, down, and through the maze of history on our technology-based scavenger hunt event.

Work It, Make It, Do It!

Your group chooses one word that invokes a strong meaning and learns how to spray, dazzle, and dot their canvas in our Team Graffiti event. It’s big picture thinking guided by our world class graffiti artist. We can set up this creative and cutting edge art challenge anywhere (even indoors!) but there is nowhere better in the Los Angeles area than next to the iconic graffiti walls at Venice Beach.

All I Want To Do Is Have Some Fun

Team play is top priority for our Iron Team Challenge. Multiple challenge games that test the communication, cooperation, and critical thinking skills of your team can be set up on Santa Monica Beach.  Bring your team outside and they’ll want to keep playing until the sun comes up on Santa Monica Boulevard! 

We’re Los Angeles Team Building Gurus

Gather your team and make yourself the hero by incorporating some fun into their work life.  Having happier, healthier, and more engaged employees will be a positive by-product.  If you’re ready to partner with us on your next Los Angeles team building adventure, email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

how successful teams make team building count

How Successful Teams Make Team Building Count

Congratulations on completing your team building experience!  You should now have a super powered team that is completely perfect.  No?  Your team is only mostly perfect?  Well, that’s because your team building should never be “completed.”  The value of any team building comes from reflection and implementation.  The actual activity, while probably awesome and Instagram-worthy, is neutral in achieving your goals.  Follow these strategic steps to create value for your team in between epic outings. 

Debrief, Debrief, Debrief!

During your event one of our team building ninjas likely led your group in a discussion about how your team performed during the challenge.  Your company likely already has a debriefing procedure or strategy in place to discuss how projects turn out. Debriefing is where we examine the experience to find the value and actionable data. The key with team building debriefing is the actual activity is inconsequential.  The specifics of what your team did to accomplish a team building challenge doesn’t matter nearly as much as how your group functioned. 

Michelle Cummings, a leader in team development and coauthor of A Teachable Moment warns “If participants are not allowed to reflect on their experiences and relate them to the outside world, then a lot of the learning may be lost” (Cummings. “Effective Debriefing Tools and Techniques”) Gather the team together once you’re back at the office.  Engage with the staff about how they felt and what they noticed after the activity.  You can even ask each member to write down one take away from the event. Utilize these takeaways as talking points in the future. Check out Cumming’s guide “Effective Debriefing Tools and Techniques” for some great ideas on switching up your debriefing technique. It will keep things fresh and interesting.

Check In

Regularly check back in with the team about their takeaways. Have they noticed any topics or trends that you discussed during the debrief? How have they been applying their takeaways to their current projects and responsibilities?  It doesn’t have to be a big meeting, but regular reminders will help strengthen the lessons and your team will ultimately get better at applying the concepts.  Forbes encourages managers to look at team building as an important investment.  As with most investments you don’t want it to go to waste.  You’ll need to provide “maintenance” on those lessons if you want them to continue working.

Remember the Team Building Fun

If a staff member groans about team building, you’re doing it wrong.  One of the most important elements of successful team building is buy in. Buy in requires trust, clear targets, and a transparency. Don’t make assumptions on behalf of your staff’s perceptions.  I stated that the activity is immaterial, but there is a reason we host dodgeball tournaments or graffiti experiences and not Power Point presentations.  Intrigue and excite your staff and they’ll be more likely to support the activity. You can still have a powerful experience with a “fun” activity. 

Continued Investment

Book another event!  I know, shameless self promotion right?  But for truly meaningful team building one outing a year isn’t going to make a drastic difference.  Show your staff you want to invest in them by making time for multiple employee enriching activities.  This will increase their engagement in both the process and your company.

To continue your team building journey or if you want to begin this adventure of staff enrichment contact us at james@fireflyteamevents.com or 877.267.1939

office team building nerf battle

Office Team Building Idea: Stage a Nerf Battle!

Here’s your excuse to buy that rotating triple barrel precision shot Nerf blaster you’ve been eyeing in the toy section.  Play, such as firing foam darts, is a valuable office team building activity that can actually increase productivity by providing employee fun.  And yes, I’m serious about this.  I never joke about fun.

The Power of Play

As children we are encouraged to play to strengthen our creativity, build problem solving skills and improve communication.  Once we grow up however, we’re expected to stop playing and focus on “work”.  Work tends to involve using creativity and communication to solve problems, so why does play suddenly become unimportant once our ages pass the range listed on toy packaging?  Scientists like Stuart Brown have been studying the correlation between play and success at the National Institute for Play. Psychologists have begun encouraging adults to harness the power of play so that we can continue to reap the benefits of it.

Office Team Building Nerf Battle: A How-To

Meanwhile, foam violence has been sweeping across the offices of America with widespread popularity. Online retailers like ThinkGeek have even developed sections of their websites for the sport of Office Warfare.  Rather than stage a potential HR headache-causing battle between staff, we love Dude Perfect’s use of a challenge course and competitive play in this YouTube example-

While Dude Perfect’s intensive setup is awesome, don’t feel you need such a big production for some great office team building.

  • Try scrawling target designs on Post Its and stick them around the office.
  • Once someone hits a target, they collect it as a trophy.
  • At the end of the event you can tally up the scores by counting the collected Post Its.

For an ongoing team building game, stick targets up unannounced.  Staff can race to be the first to notice and shoot the new target.

For help getting your play on at your office, sales meeting or conference give us a call at 877.267.1939 or email james@fireflyteamevents.com.

corporate group team building escape room

Mobile Escape Room – Team Building @ Pasea Hotel

The clock was counting down and nobody wanted to see it hit ZERO! That was the scene during our mobile escape room experience at the Pasea Hotel in Huntington Beach for our client’s team building sessions. The first few moments are chaos and then the wheels start turning. Your group begins to unravel the puzzles, tasks, and challenges that lead to the answer. Switches get flipped to reveal important information. Wires are cut to avoid catastrophic meltdowns. If your team makes the right moves, communicates well, and can embrace trust they’ll save the world.

escape room team building corporate group meetingFor this client they had 2 groups of 15 people that they wanted to pit against the super villain we built our room around. We ran the room in 2 sessions with a debrief at the end. In the team building world we know that it’s not the activity that is important. It’s how your group shows up and performs during the activity. The debrief allows us to help the group reflect on the experience and draw meaning from the day. Escape rooms are a natural fit for team building and we LOVE watching the excitement build as the groups solve our puzzles. They’re an exciting new way for groups in Los Angeles and Orange county to revisit the skills that successful team need to succeed.

Add an escape room team building experience to your next conference, meeting or outing in Los Angeles, Orange County, or San Diego. Call us at 877.267.1939

Using Video Games as a Team Building Engagement Activity

What if you could diffuse bombs, power spaceships, and scream your lungs out for your next team building or employee engagement activity? I’ve gathered my favorite video games that can be used to explore team building concepts like communication, trust, and big picture thinking. The goal of any team building event should be to increase employee engagement. Why not use video games as that vehicle? My list is focused on challenge and puzzle based interactions. You won’t see World of Warcraft or Minecraft on the list. Those genres have obvious team interactions but take significantly more mastery of skills. If Bob in purchasing can’t pick it up in 5 minutes or less it’s not going to be fun. I chose games that require small learning curves, involve shared team effort, no special gear (2 exceptions), and are crazy fun. There are a couple of titles that snuck onto the list because they’re hilariously fun for groups. 

Remember that just because an activity requires you to work together that doesn’t mean it’s team building. Managers, if you want extract maximum value from your activity, read our post on how to  Turn ANY Office Activity Into a Team Building Event

 video game team building keep talking1. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

http://www.keeptalkinggame.com/

Diffuse the bombs or your team perishes in a flaming fireball. There’s nothing like immolation to push a team to new heights. This is one of my all time favorite collaborative games on a computer. Split your team into two groups the Operators and the Diffusers. Operators get to actually manipulate the bomb. Diffusers have the manual. The catch? Neither side can see what the other is looking at. If you’re on the Operator team you can’t see the manual… if you have the manual, you can’t see the Bomb. You’ll have to use your words and listening skills to collaborate and beat the clock. Failure is not an option! Search the game title on YouTube and you’ll see hilarious examples of teams, couples, friends, and roommates desperately trying to keep it together.

Team Building Notes: You need clear communication to succeed on this challenge. There are easy talking points on using specific language, making assumptions, focusing on details, big picture thinking and shared vernacular. What made you successful? What were your barriers to success?

Variations:

  • Switch Roles
  • Split the manual between multiple people.
  • Play over Skype (great option for teams that telecommute and want to team build remotely)
  • Hire Sandra Bullock to drive a bus with your Operator team on board? If she drops below 60mph everyone loses a vacation day.

blockparty gigantic mechanic2. Block Party from Gigantic Mechanic

http://www.giganticmechanic.com/project/block-party/

Gather 100 of your closest workmates, fire up the projector, and make sure you phone is charged. This Tetris-esque puzzle challenge gives each player a falling shape piece to control. You must combine your piece with other players to fill the shapes at the bottom of the screen as you try and set the highest score possible. I love the simplicity of the controls but the complexity of the interactions. It’s impossible to win at this game without interacting with your fellow players. I witnessed this game in action at Indiecade West and saw first hand the power of group play. Definitely check out the Gigantic Mechanic website and see what else they’re up to. 

Team Building Notes: Clear communication is key but trying to find process in the chaos of large groups is a fascinating challenge. Often you don’t know who is controlling what just by looking at the screen. You’ll need big picture thinking and a shared vernacular to be successful. What skills did you use to be successful? Where do you see situations like this in your daily work like? 

Variations:

  • Pair people up. 1 person controls the game piece but can’t see the screen. Their partner must verbally guide them to place the piece correctly. 
  • Great for telecommuters – Use screen sharing via skype to allow offsite employees to play.

screen capture artemis space simulator3. Artemis Spaceship bridge simulator

http://artemis.eochu.com/

This one is for my true nerds. The sci-fi geeks and Trekkies on your team will giggle like school children in anticipation of operating Artemis’s simulator. The concept is simple – each person has a role from Captain to Navigator to Weapon Control on the spaceship. One computer hosts the simulator and main screen. Each participant’s computer functions as a work station, only showing the controls for their specific role. The Captain doesn’t have a workstation but tells everyone what to do from the middle of the room ( Yes, you can call yourself Captain Kirk). It’s time to save the galaxy!

Game Notes: This does require that each person has their own computer. Also, it’s far more effective if everyone is in the same room. You may need to bribe your local IT guru to help you with the particulars.

space team game screen capture team building4. Space Team

http://spaceteam.ca/

BE PREPARED TO RAISE YOUR VOICE. This hilarious social phone based team building game will have your team trying to pilot a spaceship. The ship will tell you what to do but each player gets different instructions. AND each player has a different set of controls visible on their phone. The instructions have a time limit so you’ll need to execute them or have  team member execute them pronto quick.  The computer might tell you to “Move the Techboggle to 2”, but you don’t have a Techboggle. So you start yelling out “Set Techboggle 2!” until somebody freaking sets it (ahem… sorry)!  Most teams quickly devolve into yelling battles as they try to get their tasks completed. Play this in a coffee shop if you want to get perplexed looks and stares. As a team building professional I’d like to say I exhibit poise and well executed communication strategies when I play this, but that would be a horrible lie.   

Team Building Notes: Easy to recognize metaphors for tunnel vision, project creep, and communication styles. How did your team overcome group noise? What was your method to prioritize tasks? What parallels did you notice with communication on work projects? 

Game Notes:

  • This can only be played if everyone is on the same wifi network. So it’s not suitable for remote teams.

sound activated video game title5. Scream Team

What if you could take a room full of people and control a single character in a video game… enter Scream Team. We modified an existing “runner” “single button” style game. That means the character is in a constant state of forward motion and your job is to press the button at the right times (remember flappy bird?). In this case, our Indiana Jones style character is running through a series of caves. You must help him jump over gaps, pillars, and other obstacles. BUT, we replaced the button with a microphone. As a group you must make noise when you need the character to jump. The louder the noise, the bigger the jump. I had an opportunity to feature our game at the Steam Carnival Gala with 500 people. It was hilarious!!! It works with 1 to 1000 people. Contact james@fireflyteamevents.com for more information.

6. Group Pacman

Trying to describe Pacman to younger generations is an act of comedy. A yellow dot that eats other dots and is scared of ghosts. Despite it’s simplicity there is still a LOT that Pacman has to give. In a normal Pacman session the up,down, left right would be controlled by 1 player. What if you could assign each of those directions to different team members? Bill controls up, Tonya from accounting is down, Satchmo is Right, and Percy is Left…. All to control that beautiful yellow dot. Let the confusion err… communication begin! We have our own version of Pacman that we bring as part of our Human Arcade event. There are free versions of Pacman online that you can easily use.

Tech Note: We created a special controller so that each person has a physical button to press for their direction. That way you’re not all crowded around a little keyboard. For a quick and easy version we recommend using a **MakeyMakey controller. See the note at the end of the article.

Team Building Notes:

  • This activity easily segues into communication styles, assumptions, trust, and shared language. Consider what adjustments you had to make to your communication style to be successful. How was the team effected if you didn’t press your button? How did your team decide to move left vs right? 

Game Notes:

  • Search for Free Pacman or event Free Tetris to put this to the test.
  • Contact james@fireflyteamevents.com for more information if you’re interested in having us bring our controllers and game out.
  • You can scale up and create a tournament with teams of 4 competing to set the top score.

jackbox games logo7. JackBox Games

http://jackboxgames.com/

I’m listing these as a hilarious office interaction and not so much a team builder. We’ll file it under giggles, social credit, and engagement activity. Jackbox is the creator of the infamous You Don’t Know Jack trivia game. They’ve upgraded to the age of the internet and now you play on a single computer using your phone as a controller. It’s pretty dang cool! They even have titles that allow up to 8 people play and up to 10,000 people to spectate. They sell their games in party packs that come with 5 games. 

My favorite of their new party pack is Trivia Murder Party. It’s a fresh take on the game that put them on everyone’s radar. Players must answer trivia questions or risk being killed. Fun right?! Right? No? The premise is that you’re trying to escape from a house with a Saw movie like game master(monster?). Wrong answers force players into mini-challenges where you might have to do math, test your memory, or lose a finger. A “finger” means you are permanently barred from choosing A, B, or C depending on which finger you lose. Diabolical. The game moves at the perfect pace to keep the group engaged. It’s a fun way to break up the workday and bank some social credit with team members. 

The other favorite was Quiplash 2. It’s hilarious! At the start each person is given 2 prompts to answer secretly. Each prompt will have a possible answer from 2 of the players. They must provide an answer to the prompt that they think their teammates will vote for. Once all answers are entered, the game displays them one by one for voting. Your answer is displayed anonymously next to someone else’s for the voting.  Once the voting is finished the creators of the answers are revealed as well as who voted for them. The humor is in the answers themselves…. You may need to re-visit your HR conduct standards since people can write whatever they want.

Gameplay Variations:

  • Base all year end bonuses on the performance of employees during the game (kidding)
  • Team up players from different departments
  • Challenge different departments to a match – use the spectator function (think audience)
  • There is absolutely a team benefit to laughing together

Game Notes:

  • Working Remotely – The game is not built to be played remotely BUT we have a way. Since your controller is your phone, you can screen share the game via Skype for a remote colleague. Mind blown? We’re that good. It’s a great way to get some remote team building (loosely using the term) in on a work day. 

shackle vr game8. Shackle

http://shackle-game.com/

I made a pilgrimage to Indiecade West this year. I wanted to witness their “big games” and see what independent game developers were crafting in their underground lairs. The team behind Shackles have hatched a beautifully sadistic 2 player cooperative experience. In the game players are trapped on opposite sides of a creepy haunted room. Actions one player takes on their side of the room may affect their co-captive on the other side. Make too much noise and you might attract the attention of things that lurk in dark places. The game is played with Oculus VR headsets so the horror is very immersive. Prepare to be startled or spooked as you try and escape in this dark team building activity.

Team Building Notes:

  • Scary haunted rooms and poorly supported projects are very similar. Right?
  • Communication and trust are the obvious team aspects being put to the test.
  • You know what’s fun? Having 2 people start the game – then turn off all the lights and have everyone leave the room and go for drinks. Okay that might not be team building.

Game Notes:

  • This requires 2 Oculus Rift headsets and headphones with a mic.

Video game corporate team building screenshot9. Lovers in a Dangerous Space Time

http://www.loversinadangerousspacetime.com/

I pestered Laura E. Hall to see if she had a line on some good collaborative titles. She immediately responded back with “Lovers in a Dangerous Space Time”. And it’s perfect. You and 3 teammates are cruising through a neon galaxy, in your own battleship, trying to defeat the enemies of love. You’ll have to operate the guns, fly the ship and position shields in a hectic good time mess of space war. In between battles you find poignant moments of appreciation for the effort, communication, and multitasking that you and your team had to employ. You’ll find yourself calling out enemies and high fiving teammates when they make a great shot. The makers call this game a “couch co-op” and we love it. Succeeding in this game means you’ve got a solid team platform.

Team Building Notes:

  • Multitasking, trust, communication and resource management are major factors in success. Can you see parallels between how your team handled this game and the way they approach real world projects?

 

** The Makey Makey

makey makey controllerAs a team building professional I can devise some beautiful interactions for the Makey Makey. It’s a controller that lets you turn anything into a button. What I love is that it also allows you to move the buttons away from the computer. As I mentioned above, it’s a great way to turn a game like Tetris or Pacman into a cooperative game and team building activity. To learn how to use the Makey Makey, check out their website at http://makeymakey.com/  – I recommend their “classic” version.

Honorable Mentions:

I haven’t had a chance to vette the titles below.  They make the list because they have cooperative gameplay elements. That means they’re great for teams. 

bff or die video game 10. BFF or Die

.http://www.honeytribestudios.com/studio-news/bff-or-die

Help each other or die. The only way you can win this game is to work together solving puzzles, strategizing, and kicking butt. No single player can do all the things so you’ll need to rely on each other. It’s cute and dangerous and I can’t wait to play.

 

overcooked video game11. Overcooked

.http://www.ghosttowngames.com/overcooked/

You and your team of cooks must prepare and serve meals to your waitings guest. Will your kitchen be a well oiled machine? Or a kitchen nightmare that no one can recover from? Responsibility for success at this game come from all 4 players.

BIG THANKS to Laura E Hall for querying her room full of games for some of the suggestions on this list. Also thanks to an awesome game programmer Christian Scandariato who also chimed in for me.  And a long time evil genius Jason Le

About the Author:

I am a HUGE fan of game mechanics especially as it relates to teams and team building. My passion is working with hundreds of teams every year as the CEO of Firefly Team Events. I scour the world for new group activities, interactions, and challenges that I can modify to help teams elevate their performance. I am a team building nerd. You can reach me at james@fireflyteamevents.com

Remote Office Sharing with Hoffice?

I recently came across the concept of the Hoffice. It’s a fledgling movement in Sweden that gives working from home a twist. Instead of heading to a cafe or working by yourself, other telecommuters are invited to share someones home. They work in silence for 45 minute blocks. In between those blocks they chat, exercise, etc. I know that when I work from home I am VERY easily distracted (cats). I haven’t tried co-working spaces because they usually seem claustrophobic and… too quiet. I like the way Hoffice blends interaction and productivity. If you’d like to read more about it – check out the article on BBC News – > http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20161230-the-swedes-ditching-desks-to-work-from-strangers-homes

Or head to the Hoffice website – http://hoffice.nu/en/

 

 

men holding bicycle during charity bicycle team building event

3 Charity Team Activities for Sales Meetings

No doubt over the next several weeks, your company will hold a sales meeting to share in the corporate successes of 2016 and discuss the best interest of your organization for the new year.  As far as your employees can expect, it’ll be conducted as many a sales meeting before, with talk of market strategy and bottom lines.    

Imagine, if you will, a scene in which your sales meeting is coupled with a charitable team building event!  Suddenly your attendees are talking more than facts and figures; they’re actively engaged in a task that will transform the community you serve!  Several options exist to make your upcoming meeting the best it’s ever been!


Charity Bicycle Builds

A symbol of freedom and possibility, your teams will assemble bicycles for youth in your community.  Make a true difference in the lives of at-risk children by partnering with The Boys & Girls Club of America or your local YMCA.  For many of these children, you’ll build and deliver the very first bicycle they’ve ever owned!

Group Team Building EventScience Kits for Kids

A child’s early engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will help to pave the way to high-demand careers in their future.  Spark innovation in the mind of a child as you team with a nonprofit in your area, such as KidWorks of Orange County, to fill backpacks with science related materials.   

Care Packages

Donate your time and resources to boosting the spirits of children when you partner with local charities like Human Options and Families Forward.  Smiles are genuine when they receive backpacks and teddy bears made with love.

For more information or to book your charitable San Diego, Orange County, or Los Angeles event, contact james@fireflyteamevents.org.  You can rely on more than ten years of industry know how when FireFly Team Event’s coordinates an experience tailored specifically for your organization.  It’ll be an event that neither your organization’s employees nor those you help will ever forget!

title card team building blog interview

Part 2: Interview With Mike Cardus

Part 2 of our interview with Mike Cardus of Team Building & Leadership

What is your favorite Networking Activity?
A team building activity in and of itself is useless. It is like yelling “RED!”.  When I have people come together who do not know each other very well, I enjoy using Social Network Un_Plugged as an opening to find connections and align the group with what we hope to accomplish.

Describe a DIY team building tool/activity for a meeting planner or manager?

Distinctive | Working Well | 100 Days better

a. Break into groups of 4 to 6

b. Each team has a piece of flipchart paper and several markers c. Break the paper into 3 columns:

i. Distinctive = What stands out and makes our team or what we do as a team distinctive? Unique features, how we

approach the work, skill sets, etc..

ii. Working Well = What is already working well enough that it does not need much change or improvement?

iii. 100 Days Better = When we meet again in 100 days what will our team be better at, how will we know this is better?

d. The teams have 25-45 minutes to complete the activity e. They share what they wrote

f. Each team chooses 1 or 2 items from the 100 Days Better column and develops an action plan and reporting process to share with the larger team.

How can a manager maximize the effectiveness of a team building activity?

  • Don’t call it an activity … don’t offer team building activities.
  • The greatest thing a manager can do is connect the team building directly to the work that the team is asked to accomplish.
  • Listen to the team and what they need. Then develop a plan to supply the team with what they asked for, and reflect back to the team how the manager is making the changes.

What is your best advice for building teams?

Systems-drive- behaviors. If your team structure lacks the clarity of goals, roles, procedures, resources, and support to accomplish the teams work.

The manager would be more useful focusing on those things as opposed to wasting everyone’s time with a team building event.

What is your favorite trend in corporate team building?

 I am worried that any trend will hurt the team building consultants who try to change how a team’s work gets done. Team building works when it sustains performance; satisfies their customer; the team wants to stay together, and the people on the team gained personal development from the teams work.

What’s your funniest team building memory?

Many years ago while working for a corporate conference center, a CEO wanted us to develop a ‘Survivor Themed’ team building program, complete with physical, mental challenges and the team voting someone out at the end. I tried to offer alternatives and shared my concern about this type of event. My manager at the conference center, to keep the client happy, insisted I develop and lead this program as the customer requested.

We went through the three days of challenges, laughter, recreational team bonding and heavy drinking by the campfire. On the last day, I pulled out the voting box and explained to the team that they are now going to ‘vote out’ one of their teammates.

Many people on the team turned white with anxiety. The CEO encouraged the people to write down the name of the person they wanted to vote off the team (he let them know that this person would still have a job, this was not a group termination).

People started crying and yelling at the CEO. The CEO asked for a brief break and pulled me aside. He asked, “Can you do something about this. They are not enjoying the team building.” I smiled and said, “I think so. When we call the team together tell them that the voting out was my idea, and you don’t think that it fits with the success we’ve had these past three days. Instead, people are going to vote for the Most Valuable Player, Best Problem Solver, Master Influencer, Team Connector and Surprise Physical Strength.” He nodded called the team over and shared the new message. Sudden applause!

The CEO thanked me and was still confused why they did not like the idea of voting someone off.

See more from Mike on his website – http://create-learning.com/