It’s easy to fall into the trap of cliched, uninspired activities when planning a team-building event or corporate retreat. Activities such as trust falls have been used so often that they’re no longer very effective, and attendees might actually groan at the mere mention of them. So how do planners keep team-building events fresh, fun and effective? In a blog for Huffington Post, Brian Hughes, CEO and founder of Integrity Marketing & Consulting, shares four simple tips, paraphrased below, that will help planners do just that.
Make sure everyone’s on the same page: If team members are not on the same page, it’s difficult to have productive discussions. To avoid this, start your event with a card-sort exercise. Attendees are given identical stacks of cards with a word or phrase on each card, such as “customer service” or “culture.” They must rank the cards in order of which issues they believe will have the biggest, and most immediate, impact on the company. Clearly defining the company’s strengths and weaknesses will help resolve any perception gaps and make sure everyone understands the goals of the retreat.
Brainstorm about an ‘ideal’ competitor: Rather than asking the age-old question, “How can we make our company better?,” why not try a different approach? Instead, ask your team, “What kind of competitor could put our company out of business?” By imagining your ideal competitor and brainstorming a strategy to defeat it, you’ll be looking at things from a new perspective that could reveal previously unseen vulnerabilities and inspire new tactics for success.
Give out thoughtful, unexpected gifts: Do away with the usual corporate gifts such as T-shirts, bags and other knick-knacks plastered with the company logo. Instead, take some time to think about what gifts and incentives would inspire and motivate your attendees. Cash incentives are one option, but more creative choices can be far more satisfying for recipients. Offering unusual experiences such as luxury getaways or flying lessons can give attendees memories that will last a lifetime.
Find creative ways to build team unity: Obstacle courses and golf outings have been done a million times over. Keep things fresh by considering some out-of-the-box options such as glow-in-the-dark team-building ideas, adventurous outdoor activities such as hiking, and escape rooms and scavenger hunts that will surely boost team bonding and cooperation.