As a former corporate warrior, I was also the victim of more than a few bad team building activities held in stodgy conference rooms with mind numbing boring activities. However, there are ways to make a team building initiative actually be not only enjoyable, but also foster workplace friendships, encourage collaboration and contribute to the success of an organization.
It is important to choose the right venue to allow for everyone on your team to get involved. As diverse as the members of your team are, so are your choices to hold the event. It is also important to choose interesting activities.
I worked for a very large corporation and one of the best team building events we had was campus wide, involved Texas BBQ, a blow up obstacle course ( I won corporate gift cards for my efforts), a giant rope for tug-of-war, and an outdoor tent with bingo. The bingo dabbers were colored by department and the inner- office memo envelopes bore the stamp from one department to another for some time thereafter as a colorful reminder of the fun. We were fortunate enough to have a large enough campus to do this on-site during work hours, but a city park or similar property would also work.
It was a great idea and everyone found something to do even if it was just to eat, watch, or co-mingle with people from other departments. It contributed to the culture of the company, raised morale and encouraged better collaboration between divisions.
Dave and Buster’s has an excellent team building program which includes things like scavenger hunts and races around the game floor to accumulate points. There was a way for everyone to contribute, whether it was to magically pluck a lint roller from a handbag (yes, that was me), be the best basketball shot, score the most points in skee-ball, destroy the most zombies, or drive the fastest time on the track.
I hear they have also opened a new place here in town for events in which you throw axes. Count me in!
Ultimately, your team building initiative should be someplace out of the cubicle where your people can have a great time and recognize what their co-workers can contribute to meet team goals. A successful team building event can go far to further organizational success. Pick a fun spot and good activities and enjoy your team.