Trust fall…pause for cringe…I am not sure there are two other words that when put together result in such a visceral reaction from people. The unfortunate part is that ‘trust fall’ is usually preceded by the phrase ‘team-building activity’, which often times result in a similar negative reaction. For whatever reason, even just the mention of having to partake in a team-building activity immediately puts people on the defense. (We’ll address vulnerability in the workplace in another blog).
The good news is that there are ways to team build without having to cross your fingers and hope that the pit of people you are about to fall into are going to actually catch you. And the best news is that these activities are pretty easy to do and you might even already be doing some of them. If not, here are a few team building activities that we do at gap intelligence that you can implement at your own business.
First of all, it’s voluntary so already those who are participating are there by choice. This is a good start. Second, it’s an employee development opportunity. We are big on professional development here at gap and this is another way that team members can learn, discuss, and implement concepts right away into their daily workflow. Third, book club is a club. Clubs build comraderie, acceptance, empowerment, support, leadership, and an openness to ideas. Lastly, by reading the same book, team members connect about the ideas and concepts, resulting in a stronger team.
gappers do great for each other, for our clients, and for our community. On a regular (typically monthly) basis we are in some way supporting our community through events such as our annual golf tournament, blood drives, beach cleanups, and food drives to mention a few. Working together in the community results in each team member actively living out our gapCore values of transparency, willingness, ownership, passion, and professionalism and hopefully inspiring others to do the same. What better builds a team than an alignment of values while doing some good and making an impact?
Sports -> Competition -> Feedback -> Strong team. How you ask? Let me walk you through. At any level of organized sport, team members come together to work towards one goal. In order to reach the goal, the team members must achieve success over the competition. If you are familiar with Gallup’s Strengths Finder, you know that competition is one of its 34 strengths and is highlighted as rooted in measurement, which facilitates comparisons. Members of a team need to know what they are trying to achieve, how they are going to get there, and how they are performing if they want to be successful. The way you get this information is through feedback. Feedback provides answers to those questions, highlights the shared goal, and creates cohesion both on and off the field. Boom! Based on our experiences here at gap, I highly recommend beach volleyball, ping pong, and/or baking challenges for satisfying the competitive urge.
Last, but certainly not least and definitely a gapper favorite, celebrate! Celebrate the execution of individual goals, celebrate the achievements of the team as a whole, celebrate with a happy hour, celebrate with a high-five, celebrate with an activity, celebrate with a simple ‘good job’. I don’t care how you do it, but as team members at any level we should be celebrating successes of ourselves and our team. The result is dramatic. Team members feel appreciated and recognized, they see how their work is impacting the success of the company, and all of this results in an improvement of attitude, sense of purpose, and overall engagement. Team=Built. Our biggest celebration of the year is coming up in December, but in the meantime gappers are regularly giving out shout-outs, lunching together, and we’re even headed to the racetrack this Friday for some pony-betting.
These are just a few of the many activities you can do to build a unified team. Give one or all of them a shot. I promise success! Or go give that trust fall a try and let me know how that goes…
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