Sometimes, when I mention the phrase "team-building" to my staff, I get a couple of groans. And I can admit I was not too keen on team building activities when I began my career in training. My staff will not admit it, but they love it when I pull out my team building box and start up a game. I have heard them say they never know what to expect when they see "the box."
It is difficult to find a unique team building activity. So, in order to avoid the groans, and get people excited about working together, use the following activity as a "bridge" to a memorable staff retreat or staff meeting.
Who doesn't like a bridge? Building bridges encourages team members to work together collectively and collaboratively. Each team member is a vital, but different part of the process. Use the format below to get your team excited about working together, and to get them to build "bridges" toward the future!
Each team has to build a self-supporting paper bridge using the materials provided. They can only use the materials provided. If you want to shake things up a bit, direct each team to communicate in specific and different ways, including using nonverbal communication.
Things You Need: A stack of newspapers, one roll of sticky tapes for each team, measuring tape. Feel free to use additional materials, or change the materials listed. Be creative!
Setup: Split the group into teams of three people. Each team has access to unlimited amount of newspapers and one sticky tape. Each team has 10 minutes to build a bridge. Facilitator can measure the length of each bridge using measuring tape. The team which makes the longer bridge in the allocated time is the winner.
Rules of the game: Delegates cannot use the sticky tape to attach the bridge to the ground or table. Sticky tape can only be used in the structure of the bridge. The bridge can have a maximum of two support columns.
Explaining the Test: 5 minutes.
Activity: 10 minutes
Group Feedback: 20 minutes.
Discuss with the group the key elements of team work noticeable during this exercise. Encourage discussions on the effect of communication, leadership and feedback systems involved during this activity.
As a variation you can remove the sticky tape and get the delegates to only use newspaper. In this case, set two chairs two meters apart from each other. The two chairs form the bases of the bridge at the two ends. Teams can only use paper to bridge the gap between the two chairs. The most elegant looking bridge with the least number of columns in the middle will win.
Bring some fun to your next staff meeting or staff retreat with this unique team building activity. You may get a groan or two, but by the end of the activity, your staff will be asking what game they are playing next. Most people retain more information when they have fun learning, so bring on the fun!