Doing Team Building Events with Large Groups CAN be very powerful and impactful developmental events to help drive more engagement, change, teamwork and alignment. Getting people and their managers to work together in collaborative adventures can relate directly to how teams work in the implementation of organizational improvements. In this article, I will review some unique ways to truly generate more engagement, collaboration and motivation. The main focus will be on our teambuilding game, The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine but the key ideas will link to any kind of large, supported, internally-focused corporate development initiative.
The downside and the normal reality:
How many of you have participated in a large team building event and left feeling that the accomplishments were minimal and the probability of real change was real low? Sad to say but this is normal. So many of these large group events fail to generate active participation around workplace issues and real alignment of behaviors to desired outcomes. Many simply reinforce the idea that WINNING was the most important thing, and have everyone being a lot more competitive than collaborative. (And how many people were actually on LOSING TEAMS?)
We can improve the impact our often large expenditures for large teambuilding events if we carefully consider some success factors in generating ideas for innovation, engagement and implementation. Our tendency is to repeat what we have done before, and the goal of this article is to simply provide some new anchoring ideas for doing things differently and generating more impact.
There has been a great reduction in those “All Hands” kinds of meetings over the last 10 years and especially in the last three. Once upon a time, one had to plan a year ahead to find hotel ballroom space for meetings and make site visits and tour facilities; today, it is a lot less difficult. COVID plus being online makes all the difference and makes selection and programming communication options really simple.
Once upon a time, hotels were pretty arrogant about controlling all things, charging for everything and having complicated one-sided contracts — but today, competition for scare training events makes them more flexible and interested in obtaining your business. Times change and their meeting business has become a lot more competitive… At the same time, though, engaging an activity has gotten more expensive because costs for staffing, travel and fees have all gone up.
Herein are some key thoughts about making your company events more effective:
Thoughts on selecting a presenter who will involve and engage your people in an event that can actually change behavior and generate momentum for improvement. There are a lot of links in that to other articles and resources about organizing resources, also.
Here are some ideas about generating engagement and momentum for implementing change following a large group event
Here is an article about improving teamwork and collaboration in a large event
A post on some of the ISSUES with outdoor training types of events and some cautionary thoughts about anchoring to learning and change
Frankly, there seem to be a lot of strange and sometimes seemingly irrelevant things done in the name of team building and organizational development. The reality says that if you hang out at a large hotel and wander about the meeting area and you will see a lot of people sitting, just sitting there inactive when the doors are opened, as if they feel relieved that they successfully avoided things.
This observation is supporting the reality of Death By Powerpoint, or at least death by non-involvement and non-engagement. (One wonders why there are not required governmental warnings about deep vein thrombosis for sitting so long at some of these sessions!)
People at Onlinemba.com came across my blog while researching Team Building and sent me a link to one of their articles called, “How the Top Companies Take On Team Building:“
Few corporate-culture business phrases are as potentially groan-inducing as “team building.” Visions of cheesy performances and “inspiring” activities like coal walking and trust falls immediately spring to mind.
Yeah, it seems that a LOT of people realize that we can choose to do things differently for our meetings. With technology, so much of that data-stuff that executives like to live-present can be handled in screenshares or webcasts. For the most part, they are not asking for ideas or suggestions but merely sharing data. Face-to-face is an expensive way to push data at people.
I’ve posted up before on some of the more ridiculous or hard to seriously consider team activities such as golf, paintball and the infamous fire walking — and I just saw a twitter post suggesting that “detoxing” could be done as a teamwork improvement activity. (Seriously!)
Maybe there are some positive individual impacts from doing those kinds of things but I just do not see the teambuilding aspects unless we get into the discussion about peer pressure forcing people to do things that they don’t really want to do. (Sorry, I meant “encouraging” and not coercion or forcing people to do things in the above…)
Even comedic writer Dave Berry weighed in on Burger King’s toasty experience grilling their own managers with their firewalking activity — see my blog post on that here.
Many different activities DO have a variety of positive organizational impacts, and many of these are not costly. Some are a bit off the wall, like hiring a comedy troupe to come in and cause people to laugh at issues and reframe improvement opportunities (if they do not offend the senior managers too much!). And there are literally dozens of different online surveys and Personality Inventories with linkages to team behaviors. These can be framed as a team building exercise if there was more to it than simply discussions. Maybe they could let the comedy troupe do the personality testing?
In my way of thinking, I will simply continue to be designing and offering games such as The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine or Innovate & Implement that are fun, controllable, inexpensive and actually link directly to workplace collaboration and performance improvement.
We know that it has a lot of long-term impacts on participants and gets everyone involved and engaged. AND, it can be used for very large groups of 200 or even more.
In addition to selling the exercise to trainers and consultants, we also rent the exercise to people interested in an inexpensive, yet powerful large group event. If you click on the link below, you can find a clear explanation as to the frameworks for rental as well as our prices. It is inexpensive and powerful. Click here if you would like to see a few testimonials.
If you have any questions, please feel free to chat me up. I will offer my ideas and frameworks to you,
For the FUN of It!
Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools.
Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant who is trying to retire!! He now lives in Cuenca, Ecuador.
You can reach Scott at email@example.com
Learn more about Scott at his LinkedIn site.
Here is a 2-minute overview of our new online, virtual team building game: https://youtu.be/6sFUOTjdUVg
The exercise has many links to the themes of trust (within and between teams) with a strong focus on trust in the leadership and on collaboration between the teams. This is THE world-class exercise anchored to these elements, based on three decades of client feedback.
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