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Team building is something most of us will have been involved in, whether it’s organising the event or being invited along to partake. Most of us have preconceived ideas which come to mind when the words “team building” are mentioned but what fundamentally is team building all about?

Essentially team building is a concept of improving the way people work together cooperatively, supporting each other in order to strive towards a common goal. By bringing in people with different skills, interests and opinions to work together as a unit, goals are often reached far more effectively. It is without doubt then that team building is an important part of any business.

Whether you have a work force of five or 5,000 it’s vital that the team can cooperate and work effectively together in order to reach company goals and exceed targets.

If the annual team-building event has fallen on your shoulders to organize, don’t panic – this is the time to really excel and demonstrate your creativity and understanding of what will benefit both staff and the business, by following these simple steps:

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Who is your audience?
Identify who will be attending the team building day and the motivation behind hosting a team building exercise for these people, as this will help you go on to choose a suitable activity. For example, if you are organizing a team building session for your sales team, consider how they are currently motivated at work. Do they respond well to incentives and naturally want to win? If so, competitive team building activities may be a good option to pursue. When you think about who you are bringing together, consider how their roles interact naturally within the business, consider
what type of tasks they enjoy and respond well to, and what limitations you need to consider.

Identify the objectives
once you have determined who the team building activities are aimed at, start thinking about the
objectives. Team building events are usually instigated for a reason and this should never be
forgotten during the planning process. If you’ve been asked to organize a team building event but
don’t know why, find out. Get your colleagues involved from this early stage by finding out what they see as challenges and issues that need to be overcome. Get them to think about what kind of team they want to be, how they want to treat one another, and what areas they feel need attention.

Gathering this information is no mean feat so ensure you allocate enough time to do this successfully. Common objectives include collaboration, communication, boosting employee morale, managing change, problem solving, delegation and resolving conflict.

Plan your budget
Team building events are not cheap. As well as the activities you choose there are often additional costs which need to be considered such as equipment, event staff, transportation, insurance, venue hire, catering, refreshments and accommodation (if required). This is all on top of the cost of employees spending time away from the office. This all adds up, therefore having clear objectives and being able to measure the success of the chosen event is crucial.

Choosing a relevant activity
The choice of activity will be steered by the objectives you have agreed so make sure you keep going back to these. For example, if your colleagues have highlighted the need to improve problem solving then it is worth considering team building activities that provide mental agility challenges. Think Crystal Maze, University Challenge or orienteering. If the need to improve blue sky thinking has been brought to your attention then more creative activities are worth researching such as invention tests, a Dragons’ Den pitching scenario set-up or developing strap lines for a variety of quirky advertising campaigns.

Consider activities that get adrenaline pumping. Get delegates competing for points and prizes. Look at activities that are designed to challenge, provoke fun and thrill participants. The more engaging the activity, the more people will want to put in and the more they will get out of it. There’s no harm in combining more productivity-led objectives with the simple brief “to reward”.

Measuring your success
Once the team building event has taken place, you can sit back and relax knowing you have 12 months before you’re tasked with organizing the next one. Wrong! Measurement is imperative so make sure you have considered ways to measure the outcomes of the team building event right from the start. If your team building activity is focused on improving team morale, why not conduct surveys before and after the event which team members fill in anonymously.

Ask them to share feedback on how they view the team morale. You could do this on a quarterly basis following the team build to see how impact it was and how long the results last. If the team building event was designed to address productivity when working together as a team, consider reviewing sales leads and the number of leads that were converted successfully. That’s a very tangible demonstration of return on investment.

Team building events can be very beneficial to all involved so enjoy the planning, get stuck in and give your colleagues the opportunity to better their working relationships.”