Tips to Planning a Team Building Event

September 30, 2016

By: Marlene Cosain

Behind a great leader is a great team. We have talked before about different team-building ideas and their importance. What we did not talk about before was the way to plan or execute a successful team-building event to truly unite your team. There is a bit of a scaffold when preparing a corporate event to dismiss the misconceptions of trust falls as team building. This is how to build an exceptional team by following a few guidelines.

Let people know ahead of time

It is only common courtesy to let your team know of events and team building workshops in advance. Invitations or at least buzz about your event should be known at least 3 weeks to a month ahead of your event date. Introducing the idea a week to a few days before the event is disrespectful and disorganized because the purpose of the event is to strengthen your team, not to throw something together last minute.

Know your team enough to do something they like

It is fun to push your team a bit out of their comfort zones, but there are boundaries. If you are going to invest time, money and thought into an event that would not appeal to your group then maybe it is time to keep brainstorming. The goal is to make your team feel comfortable enough that they want to participate. If you know the majority are afraid of heights, do not take them cliff diving or on roller coasters. You might feel like you can work as a team to ease nerves, but in reality you will be dealing with a lot of anxious people.

Everyone is created equal

Julie Halpert with CNBC noted advice from Lisa Jennings, Chief Experience Officer of Wildly Different. Jennings and Halpert state, “Give everyone a chance to be involved, not just the manager or CEO. Consider a “team switcharoo,” where someone in a less senior position has the chance to be team captain. ‘You won't put them to the test if you don't give them the opportunity to step forward.’ It will be interesting how your staff work towards being leaders and how good you are at following orders.

Plan events that fortify trust

The best events are those where you open the lines of communication and show your team how they can help each other to achieve a common goal. Team building events should not be an independent project you all participate in by sitting in the same room. Helping each other win a scavenger hunt, motivating each other at marathon runs, building tents blindfolded, these are all examples that include participation from every team member.

Ask for their input

It is always exciting to see what your team is interested in. Meet with them, send an email or just open the mediums for which they can express their opinion. First, it saves you the time of brainstorming ideas. Second, it makes them feel included.

An effective team building event is something employees look forward to, and they appreciate the thought you put into it.

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