There may be no “I” in team, but there’s plenty of “U” and “I” in team-building, a necessary component for groups to assess how they work best together. In fact, Forbes called team-building “the most important investment you’ll make” in a recent article, commending any type of activity that “builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration.” But like any good team sport, there are some rules involved in planning a team-building opportunity.
First, you’ll want to make it spontaneous. Giving too many details (especially for the more adventurous activities) gives attendees time to overthink it and possibly back out of the event altogether. For this reason you’ll also want to incorporate different tiers of participation that are welcoming to every personality type—from the bold extroverts to the natural born leaders to the shy benchwarmers and the cynical analysts, too. Simply inform guests that there will be a period of group activity on the itinerary and recommend any special clothing or gear they might need.
Second, and most important, the outing can’t feel like a regular day at the office. The best team-building activities break out of the norm and therefore break down walls. If the setting is too comfortable or too routine, it can feel like work and people will default to their normal work roles. You also want to steer clear of the same-old activities that people have done since the dawn of team-building (so long, awkward ice breaker questions), but rather think outside the box when it comes to options. Non-traditional venues are a great fit for planning team-building activities because, like their place of business, they have a unique roster of ideas, from cooking competitions to boat races. Here are fourteen of our favorite spots and the ideas they offer.
|The College of William and Mary |
|Silver Bay YMCA – Lake George |
Silver Bay, NY
|Southern New Hampshire University |
|Illinois State University |
|UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center |
Lake Arrowhead, CA
|Simon Fraser University – Burnaby |
|Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch |
|Springfield College |
|Frost Valley YMCA Retreat & Conference Center |
|The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center |
State College, PA
|Willowdale Estate |
|Pickwick Gardens Conference Center |
|Mission Bay Conference Center @ UCSF |
San Francisco, CA
|Colorado State University |
Fort Collins, CO