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Revealing More About Your Team

How to Choose the Right Activity for a Meaningful Team Building Experience

One of the most common questions we hear at Barometer is how to pick “the best team game.” As with all complicated questions, the answer is usually “it depends.” The inner researcher in me would want to dig deeper into whether “the best” is defined by most fun, most innovative, least expensive, etc., but I know better than to give a lengthy and complex response. The most important criteria in selecting a team activity have less to do with the nature of the activity itself, and more about what impact or outcomes you’d like to see as a result.

What is the purpose of having everyone come together for a shared team activity?

When it comes to games and activities in the workplace, having fun is just the tip of the iceberg. The deeper you go, the greater the potential impact for real change. Here are three different types of outcomes for team experiences.

1. Team Bonding.

Sometimes the purpose of a team activity is simply to have fun. There’s a lot of value in providing an opportunity for colleagues to get to know one another outside of the work context. Just spending time together can create new connections between people who don’t interact frequently and allow people to relax and be less serious in their interactions. For team bonding, we recommend less structured activities so people can choose how engaged they want to be, and allow plenty of time for mingling.

2. Team Building.

Team building activities are designed to help team members build the trust and connection needed to work well together. The purpose is to create a shared experience that will serve as a reference point for the team in the future (you know, those “remember that time when…” moments?). These activities are more structured, and often include time for reflection and discussion about how different people feel/think/act in different situations, in real-time.

3. Team Development

Team development empowers teams to grow and evolve together as a unit, focusing on full group dynamics and potential. The activities are designed to help identify strengths and opportunities for growth, sparking important (and sometimes difficult) conversations. They often provide opportunities to practice new ways of communicating and relating. These experiences are the most time-consuming and emotionally intense but offer the deepest potential impact for teams looking to change their culture or navigate through tense dynamics.

Knowing what you are looking to get out of a team experience, and communicating these expectations to everyone involved, is key to whether it will be a success.

Are you planning an experience for your team? Let the pros at Barometer design the perfect experience for your purpose.


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