Lately there has been a lot of buzz around organizations participating in a little axe throwing session as a team building workshop. It’s gotten to be quite trendy and looks kind of fun to me. I have not personally thrown an axe but would certainly be game for it if that is what my team wanted to do. Here is the thing though, in order to be effective, a team building workshop needs to engage everyone, not just the folks who are keen on the event.
At Summit Team Building we have talked to countless clients about this very thing. We have a variety of themed team building workshops ranging from discussion based simulations to high-ropes adventures. Sometimes when we have an initial conversation about a potential event, the person or committee planning it zero in on a specific program because it looks like something they themselves would enjoy. This is great and makes for an easier sale however the goal of a team building workshop is to engage an entire team, not just a few individuals.
When it comes to suggesting or delivering a great team building workshop it helps to learn a little bit about the group. People who want to know more about our high ropes adventures are often drawn to it because they like to be active, take on a physical challenge and even do something they think is a little scary. Our ropes challenge is great for accomplishing all of this – it’s delivered by experienced facilitators and can help teams explore themes like trust, goal setting and overcoming fears. Sometimes when we ask a few more questions about their group, we discover that this kind of challenge could potentially put some members into a panic attack. In fact we have in fact seen this happen which of course has exactly the opposite effect than what we were going for.
Similarly, our Art of Team program has been a great experience for teams who want to tap into their creative side and exercise that right-brain a little bit. In this team building workshop groups are painting mosaics that are meant to symbolically represent their team. Although most people dive right in and enjoy the challenge (once over their initial hesitation), there are times when this kind of activity is enough to put a participant so far out of their comfort zone that they are unable to contribute.
While it’s true that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, it’s a good idea to ask yourself or your team building provider if the option you are considering will engage everyone (or at least most people) in your group. Make sure participants can take on a variety of roles so if they do not want to climb a 40 foot pole, they can still assist their team in a support role from the ground. Having these conversations in the planning stages will really go a long way to setting the stage for success and help make your next team building workshop one that will get rave reviews from everyone.