What are the best tools to use on team development day?
Team development programmes benefit so much from problem-solving challenges and internal training teams get asked to provide these events constantly so this question is asked of me regularly!
If you have a well thought through problem-solving challenge where the objective is really clear and truly shared and the problem necessitates the team working together, they will have an opportunity to feel what it is like to work as a team (hopefully successfully). This physical or 'muscle' memory will hopefully stay with them and also make them want to achieve that feeling of working in harmony and being jointly accountable again! Once people feel what it's like to truly work as a team and achieve positive results, they usually want to do it again! The review of the activity also enables the team to practise disagreeing, giving and receiving feedback and holding each other accountable. Click the name of each tool while reading this article to see a video of it in action.
Team2 is the perfect introduction to teamwork as it clearly demonstrates the importance of putting the needs of a group above the needs of an individual. In order for the group to succeed, indivduals need to give and to take and to be willing to destroy work they have done if it is not in the best interests of the team. The exercise can lead into really productive discussions about what a real team is; what team members need and can offer each other in order to get better team outcomes; how in management, your first loyalty should be to the team that you are a part of across the organisation and then to the team that you lead.
Pipeline is absolutely my favourite and most used experiential exercise because of its versatility and the way it never fails to cerate a high-energy environment with maximum involvement and laughter. Used primarily for looking at teamwork and interteamworking, the classic version of the exercise involves multiple teams working to deliver their ball into a box with all team's balls arriving within 2 seconds of each other. It's quite a challenge and is rich with review possibilities linking in to how well organisational departments co-ordinate their activities and how this can be improved. It's therefore particularly good for managament teams that are all heads of different departments.
Culturallye provides a really good introduction into the idea of team culture and of the use of rules to drive that. If you want to set up some sort of team charter, Culturallye is the ideal precursor. Following the game and targeted review, the team can work together to establish how they want to communicate, meet, work etc. For example, the team might decide that e-mails should be responsded to within 48 hours and voice messages within 4 hours. An agreed list can be signed up to and the team can be tasked with holding each other accountable.
The usual way of running the exercise is that two teams work separately with identical equipment with which to build a 'MarbleRun' which is as similar as possible to the other team's. Design coordination between teams takes place in a neutral meeting area, where 1 or 2 ambassadors per team get together to discuss plans. Within the teams, individuals need to establish roles and work effectively together to construct their marble run. Outside of the team, they need to communicate effectively with other teams.
Tower of Power
I couldn't leave the most popular Metalog tool out! This exercise in which the team build a tower, making it as high and as stable as possible within a certain time limit and uncovers all sorts of team and leadership dynamics! It is a complete project in itself so the team need to work together, plan together, agree levels of risk that they are comfortable with, listen to each other actively, communicate, co-operate and live the organisation's values. It's even better with the Tower of Power special edition which has many more possibilities.