Act Like Kids
We went into this team building experiment with a few things in mind:
- Variety is the natural enemy of adaption. Let's do something that hasn't been done before.
- Doing is a bigger contributor to happiness than having. Let's make this more about doing than receiving.
- Laughter deepens and strengthens relationships, reduces stress, and boosts the immune system. Let's make them laugh.
What We Did:
- We devised a holiday-themed relay that took ten teams of five to five different stations throughout our office.
- We started with ten team leaders and gave them three days to enlist the additional members of their team. They didn't know what they were building a team for, only that it required creativity, speed, and entertainment.
- We scheduled each team a ten minute time slot, gave them directions, and watched as they ran wild around the office! The five stations included:
- Marketing Department. Direction: Remove a bundle of ugly Christmas sweaters from a mannequin and dress one teammate, who would wear all of them for the duration of the relay.
- Break room. Directions: Drink one gallon of Egg Nog as a team.
- Sales Floor. Directions: Pick a Christmas song of your choosing and sing the first verse to the sales department.
- IT Department. Directions: Put on a pair of gloves and unwrap a doubly wrapped present: a Santa hat and reindeer antlers headband.
- The lobby. Directions: Select one team member to pull and one to ride as you make a loop around the office in a sled wearing the Santa and reindeer accessories.
- The winning time members each received a $25 VISA gift card for a little holiday shopping. Ironically, no one really cared about the cards; they just wanted the victory!
What We Learned:
- If you want to have a successful team-building experience, enlist a variety of gregarious participants at every level in the organization to champion it for you.
- Ambiguity can be a powerful tool. Use it. We didn't tell our employees what they were getting into and their imaginations ran wild. The excitement the competition generated prior to the activity promoted itself.
- Act like kids. This activity was pretty sophomoric, we admit, but sometimes it's nice to throw your inhibitions aside and be silly with your co-workers. The fact that everyone who wasn't participating directly got to watch and laugh (with or at) the teams made it even more fun.