There have been a TON of articles, books, and even academic dissertations written about team building; why we need it, how the best companies do it, and its impact on productivity, longevity, and the bottom line. It’s certainly a subject that I take very seriously and something that I consider to be one of the most important aspects of my job as leader of the agency.
And, yet, despite my keen focus on creating programs and activities designed to make sure that my team is clicking along as a team – and, I mean that in both the professional and the personal sense – I still can’t quite put my finger on what works and what doesn’t. But, I have decided that that doesn’t matter. Because I do know what works for us here at Avocet. We’re a pretty social group, so every now and again, after a day of being laser focused on work for our clients, we definitely like to go out together and “blow off some steam” with some appetizers and craft beers at one of the local restaurants down the street. And, because we are a mid-sized agency, it isn’t difficult to schedule monthly bonding get-togethers and outings outside the office. We’ve done all sorts of things over the years. Some experiences are more creative – like the time we all went to a ceramics painting shop – and others are more physical – like the time we spent an evening at Top Golf. We’ve gone bowling and play paintball, and every other year we go on a team-building retreat, a weekend get-away out of state.
I think it’s also important to choose outings and activities that highlight team members’ outside-of-work interests. For example, one of our team members went to culinary school, and in the first quarter of 2019 we are scheduling a cooking “class.” Another one of our team member’s favorite things to do is go to the movies. So, next month we will all take a trip to the local movie theater.
Team building needs to be constructed around YOUR unique and special team. I also recommend that the programs and activities you choose be ones that push your staff a bit, maybe get them out of their comfort zones, that are activities that help them break out of the day-to-day routine, and that they are designed to bring out joy and authentic connection between everyone.
Jay Irwin of CBST Adventures has a unique take on team building. He teaches audiences, from inner-city youth to executives, how to bring what he’s learned from wilderness experiences into daily life to create powerful and long-lasting change. He has hosted team-building events for groups of eight to the hundreds. He has taken co-workers rafting, hiking, zip lining, and orchestrated day- and weekend-long retreats where teammates play games and bond in ways that create connection and a shared comradery that then shows up in the work they do. Listen to this podcast for more on how the power of nature and the outdoors can help your business grow.