Unlike in sports where the competitions are scheduled, in business the competition never stops, unless your team calls a TIMEOUT. When was the last time your team called a timeout? A timeout is a valuable opportunity for a team to regroup, to access its performance and to make adjustments.
As an executive coach and a former corporate team leader, I have seen leadership teams make very impactful business breakthroughs as a result of calling timeout. I believe the formula for a successful team timeout includes three components:
(1) An interactive facilitated discussion of the current team dynamics. What’s working well, what could be done to operate more effectively as a team, what destructive activities are the team engaged in, and what more could the team use from the leader?
(2) A highly engaging non work related activity outside the office that is fun and pushes all team members out of their comfort zones while encouraging team work and collaboration.
(3) A facilitated debrief of the activity that relates the learnings from the team building activity back to the way the team functions on the job.
Here are five easily accessible team building activities that can be done for teams of all sizes right here in Charlotte.
(1) US National Whitewater Center Low Ropes Course
The USNWC (5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy) has a great low ropes course that includes many team challenges. The staff are well-trained in working with corporate groups and can structure the activities around the specific needs of a team. I utilize the low ropes course with clients for leadership development program orientations, post-merger integration work and general team effectiveness improvement. The ropes course can be scheduled for a half-day session. Consider partnering with an outside facilitator who can relate the learnings back to your workplace.
(1) Charlotte Curling
Curling, the Olympic sport played with brooms and stones, is a really fun and effective team building activity. Charlotte Curling (6525 Old Statesville Road) will structure a team-building event for groups between eight and 32 people. The three-hour activity includes instruction and several rounds of curling. Curling involves a great mix of strategy, team work, communications and fun. There are several business metaphors in curling including keeping your eye on the target, the importance of balancing offense and defense, and team communications.
(3) Charity Bike Build
Team-building events that also include a charitable component are always well-received. The bike build is appropriate for teams of 12-300 people. Participants are broken into sub-teams of four to five participants and told that they are to build a product within the allotted time and be prepared to give a one-minute marketing pitch on their product. Each team is given a box containing a child’s bicycle disassembled and with no assembly instructions. What they soon realize is that some boxes have too many parts and some have too few. The activity requires collaboration and team work across sub-teams.
Through partnerships with local charities including Always Believe Inc. we then bring in school age children who will be the recipients of the bikes. Each child gets a bike, a helmet and a bike lock. A professional bike mechanic fixes all the bikes to ensure that they are safe and properly assembled. This half-day workshop can be held in several locations depending upon the size of your group. Bart at Queen City Bicycles does a great job of helping to arrange for the bikes and coordinating the event.
(4) The Escape Room Challenge
Codescape (933 Louise Ave. #201) provides a great team-building activity for teams ranging from five to 15 people. If you have several teams there are multiple challenges to be done at Codescape. The escape rooms are a fun way to get teams to collaborate to solve a problem. Leadership, communications, conflict management and problem-solving are all lessons that get explored during the event.
(5) Team Cuisine
Cooking as a team can provide an excellent opportunity to bond in a new way. Work teams are broken into sub-teams to prepare a meal. Each sub-team works with a chef to prepare several courses for a team feast. Participants learn the importance of logistics, teamwork and timing to prepare a gourmet meal. Each participant is responsible for specific tasks related to food preparation and the entire team benefits by learning some new cooking techniques. Check out Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen (2104 South Blvd., Inside Atherton Market)
Charlotte offers numerous fun and educational options for Team Timeouts, the key is for leadership to invest the time and effort in calling timeout. The results for the business are always positive. Employees return to work more engaged, more excited about their team and ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead.