What are some good business games or team building practices for a start-up?
I am trying to organize a small team-building event for a start-up that I am working for (12 people). Can anyone advise simple but fun games that will engage everyone in the team? There is a difference in age and personalities among the team members.
Games can be fine, cheap and fun. But they are GAMES. Look for some activities that have solid frameworks for debriefing and that generate discussions around the choices that people make about collaboration and communications, or that help align the participants to shared goals and objectives. SOME of the games can allow you do to that, but activities like a cooking class or go-karting or paintball may not allow for the making of connections.
Use an activity that focuses ALL of the participants on having a shared focus, not something that generates winners and losers. "Interdepartmental Collaboration" is an oxymoron in most organizations and competition generates a few Winners and a lot of Losers. Look for exercises that allow for cooperation and the optimization of performance results from ALL of the players, one that involves having a supportive game leader who acts honestly and is trustworthy. Note that very few activities allow people to ask their leaders for any advice or assistance -- what sense does that make?
Allow the differences to be additive to the end results, not detrimental for focusing on the differences.
One thing that worked for me was to have everyone participate in FISH! activities. FISH! is built around the Seattle fish market guys trying to make work "fun"., This is one reason they throw the fish and since the FISH! has its own "Pete the Perches" everyone will leave with the fish as a reminder of how to work with each other as well as customers. We asked that everyone put their Pete on this monitor Might be a little difficult, but the position needs to be somewhere the employee looks at all day and it is easy for everyone else to see that they have a Pete. Only game I found over 20+ years that had staying power, especially since I had a customer service business at the time.
Learn more about it at: www.fishphilosophy.com and www.catchthefishphilosophy.com.
I am currently authoring a book titled "Together Everyone Achieves More-TEAM(work)". In this book, I have included exercises at the end of Chapter sections to help strengthen the TEAM(work) concept and illustrate points to consider in Team building. I can share some of this with you as a "test case" environment, if you would like to look at the exercises and discuss best fits for your use a bit. None of the exercises are expensive to implement. Please see my LinkedIn page for contact information if you are interested. This is not an attempt to "sell" services; I am willing to allow "test case" implementation at no charge.
We do a lot of work helping teams become high performing and there are a lot of different exercises you could do. There are some great suggestions in the answers below, and I echo the comment from Barry that team development, when done well, is more than a game.
If this is a new team you want to really hit the ground running, then look for exercises and activities that are both fun and help individuals uncover more about each other and build trust. And the type of trust you want to build is important. Individuals will start to trust each other just by working with each other, but that is more about being able to predict behaviour and adjust to each other. Really high performing teams are able to trust each other on a much deeper level, sharing issues, concerns, failings etc. So trust has to be constructively built with a new team.
At ethree we talk about GAINing trust - through
Goodwill ( I demonstrate that you matter to me and I don't put myself before you), Ability (I have the skills and ability to do what I am supposed to)
Integrity ( I do what I say I am going to do)
and Noticing ( I recognise what is going on with others and adjust myself accordingly).
Activities that help individuals explore who they are, how they operate, why they do what they do can really help build trust. Eyal mentioned MBTI (or any personality preferences tool) which can be great as long as it isn't done superficially.
I have posted a pdf of some trust building activities in the resource section of the site. Feel free to take a look and let me know if you have any specific questions.
There are also a couple of links to some blog posts you might find helpful
developing effective teams: http://ethree.ca/the-importance-of-team/
when is it time to talk team: http://ethree.ca/time-to-talk-team/
building trust : http://ethree.ca/an-olympic-lesson-in-trust/
Try MBTI. It is not a game but it is monumental in team building
You need a certified practitioner I am sure there are some in Bulgaria, if not I cam help
You could try with some tricky logical quizzes. If you make three -four groups, they will enjoy to play and "win".
Many of the previous answers are great! If you want just a simple ice-breaker event for people who work together but may not know each other that well, have each person tell the group something about themselves that they are fairly certain no one else knows. This can serve to have people open up more to others, while also possibly discovering some common interests or events of others. For instance, this ice-breaker activity might uncover that two of the group both enjoy underwater photography or two of them are twins, etc.
You've had some good suggestions for games from Nathan, Drew and Daniel, and some sound advice from Barry about the criticality of doing your team building well.
I would add that the games you choose and, indeed, the structure of the day or the session, need to be planned and chosen with care. Two criteria that are paramount are:
1. Know what your objective is. 'Team-building' is too loose and wooly to be much use to you. What do you want to change. You need to design your process around moving in the right direction - you may or may not be able to achieve the change in one go.
2. You must be able to make a clear link between what you are asking your team to do in their 'games' and the work you need them to do in their 'real' lives. If you don't, the 'why?' and 'what's the point?' questions will dominate. At best, people will have fun, but change nothing. At worst, they will rebel.
Of course, if all that you want to do is to give a good team a bit of fun as a reward for doing well, then that is fine too. Just don't think of it as team-building. Think of it as having a chance to play together and enjoy an activity as a thank you for the hard work they have put in.
There are some good contributions for games here. However building a team is not a game. it requires expertise, knowledge, skills and experience. Good Team Building is based on Kolb's learning cycle of ACT, REFLECT, LEARN and ADAPT. Just as important is the setting of SMART objectives, and clear outcomes. It is essential to know what the team, the individuals in the team, and the Company are trying to achieve before you even start the process. (See Action Centred Leadership). Using Kolb, most providers of team building run specially designed management tasks (ACT) followed by in depth reviews (REFLECT), linked to appropriate management theories (LEARN), and well written action plans involving change (ADAPT).
One definition of a team is a group of disparate (desperate?) individuals, from different backgrounds and belief systems, who are required to willingly work together to achieve agreed objectives. The tutor(s) need to be expert facilitators who are sufficiently centred and skilled to deal with any issues that arise. You can never predict what will happen, so to embark on a journey without a map, or knowledge of the territory, could be fraught with disaster. You may be dealing with a mixture of large egos, who are dominant and require feedback, contrasted with sensitive people who require care and empathy. Team building is not a DIY project like putting up shelves. People are complex.
Phone me on 01286 660 330 or 07850 909 335 if you want to discuss further.
Collaborated art is one of my favourites.
Get 4 large canvasses and paint supplies, divide the team into groups of 3 and give them the assignment to create a polyptych (in this case a tetraptych/quadriptych) so the individual canvasses create a whole piece which is to be hung in the company's reception or break room or something. Halfway through mix up the teams so that each team consists of 3 new members and none of the members are at the same canvas they where before.
For example teams are first:
they should them be:
This concept can of course be done on either a smaller or a bigger scale but the main principle is that the participants are working together to achieve a single goal.
How about using our Giant Blocks - so you can build huge Jenga Towers? Or Large Letter Tiles (like scrabble) ? The blocks for Jenga Towers can be custom imprinted, there are even foam ones instead of actual wood.
Sure thing. I do this quite often with various numbers of people of all ages. Here are a few ideas that are proven and workable:
1 - Get2KnowYou - This works if people are just getting to know each other. Pair up people and give them 10 minutes to "really" get to know each other. In other words, you want to discover something about the other person that cannot be found on Google. Then, have each team tell a brief story about the other person from what they learned. Real fun and quite enlightening when you hear what people share.
2 - Failure Sensitivity Training - Send people out of the building in pairs for one hour. Have them each ask 5 people for something they are pretty sure "No" will be the answer. Record the audio of the interaction by putting your smartphone in your pocket so that it can be used in the debrief session. Keep asking people until you get 5 No's! it's a really fun exercise once you get over the idea of doing this. The results are usually amazing and hilarious at times.
3 - Pair up people and give them 1 hour to create an Explainer Video for your product or service using a very simple free cloud service called RawShorts.com. The results can be amazing and fun for everyone to see how others present their product or service. Evaluate the results considering Simon Sinek's Start with Why. The winner should be chosen based on who comes closest to the Golden Circle approach of Why, How, What. You can ask people to watch the TED video before to give them a story arc to use. The video on TED is here: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en
4 - Design an unforgettable Handshake Intro - pair people up into groups and give them 15-20 minutes to design a single sentence that can be used to tell people what your company/product/service does. Encourage people to play with the idea of using a simile, analogy, or metaphor because sometimes the literal description of what you do is quite boring and does not stand out.
5 - Comprehension Repitch - Pair up people. Give them 30 minutes to take the typical product/service presentation deck and repitch the deck to the group. Make as many changes as you want so that all groups will present their own opinions on how they would present the deck. Record the audio/video of these presentations because they will often come up with very interesting ways of presenting the product or service. You can also do this repitch with the product demo where each group demos to the rest of the group while being given poetic license to present it anyway they want!
6 - The Marshmallow Challenge - This is a great icebreaker and a really fun and enlightening group exercise. I have facilitating this over a dozen times and it is amazing how much people learn from this. Be sure and research the process and results of others and you will see how your can facilitate this yourself. To see how this works, go here: http://marshmallowchallenge.com/Welcome.html where you can find a TED video on the topic and complete instructions on how it is done. Take care in how your form your groups of 3-4 because the results can be even more interesting when you try and group people by function or when you mix them up. I have done this both ways and I prefer the results when you group by function.
If you want more details on any of these ideas of if you want to brainstorm other ideas, let me know. Good luck with this!