Sometimes team building can come across as forced, artificial, and a bit kooky overall. Lucky for the BlueSky Team, having outside facilitators KC Hildreth and Neha Vyas join our recent quarterly meeting resulted in three team building activities that were actually engaging, refreshing, and insightful. Here’s a quick recap of what we did and how we grew as a team.
We started out a bit hesitant, not quite sure what KC and Neha had planned for us. They separated us by having us count off 1 and 2, taking some of us back to grade school, but of course, deliberately splitting us from our comfort zone of team members that we knew better and naturally sat close to for all meetings. Each team created a human spider web by interlocking hands in random ways before being challenged to detangle. It was a great ice breaker that got us going, prompted our competitive juices, and had us relaxed and ready for the next activity.
The second activity was composed of three teams of four individuals each. We were given a stack of cards and told to work as a team to sort the cards into a certain order. All of us drew slips of paper and these told us if we were a ‘saboteur’ or a ‘normal player’. As a saboteur, we had to foil the team’s goal without revealing our identity, and as a normal player, our goal was to identify the saboteur and get our cards in order. The word saboteuer was henceforth embedded into our vernacular for the rest of the meeting. We went about sorting our cards among our teams, each person weary of the words spoken and unspoken, every little move, lack of a move, smile, grimace, or anything that came across as simple indifference. Accusations were thrown, actions defended, and discussion ensued. Our facilitators finally clued us in on the ultimate twist: that there was only one saboteur in the room, not one per team (credit attributed to two of our team members for guessing that this may have been the intended conclusion during the course of discussing the game) among us. Parallels were then drawn to real life situations in terms of trust, misinformation, and what it really feels like to be misunderstood. Apologies were also given for some of the more manipulative tactics used to turn the team against some other team members.
Our last activity was back to two teams and drew on our creative sides (or lack thereof) as we were given a box of TinkerToy construction set with instructions to design a structure with points for height, beauty and survival of the earthquake test (administered by the opposing team). We found ourselves collaborating, delegating, and sneaking furtive peeks of the opposing team’s creations. Our facilitators monitored us, taking notes. Rules were changed halfway through the challenge, but both teams kept at the task and there was only a half a point difference in the final scores! Though half of our BlueSky team left victorious with the trophies to show for it, everyone left with a greater appreciation for trust, teamwork and each other’s unique talents. Despite the competitive nature of our BlueSky team, we were able to gain more experience collaborating as a team, and our BlueSky core values were reinforced as we discussed parallels from the games to our business and everyday operations. A special thanks to KC and Neha for facilitating our team building exercises and making it entertaining all the while.