Teams and Organisations that do not effectively collaborate very often experience pockets of excellence but do not manage to create a culture of excellence; it can be the difference between being a good team and a great team.
Before I launch into some practical ideas and applications for building collaboration within your team it’s important to reflect on what poor collaboration actually means for your business. In a nutshell a lack of collaboration in your team and organisation means time and resources wasted and unhappy stakeholders – put simply, as a leader, you cannot overlook this!
Many team building activities focus on bonding smaller working groups of say six to ten team members undertaking a fun activity within the setting of an inter team competition. These team building activities are invariably great fun and very often each individual working group finishes the session feeling like a tighter unit through a shared experience – but have they really grasped the fundamentals of effective collaboration and has the activity even begun to address the issue of wider inter team collaboration within your organisation?
When looking at conference team building activities for building collaboration within your wider organisation don’t fall into the trap of trying to design an activity that puts all of your delegates into one big team. Although within your organisation you are notionally ‘one big team’ the reality is that your people are organised into a series of smaller departmental teams. In the real world it is the ability of these smaller, silo teams to communicate and collaborate that we are looking to develop in order to drive your organisation’s performance.
The following ideas are facilitator lead team building activities designed to highlight this potential inter team pitfall within the framework of intelligent, well thought through exercises.
First two ideas; Building Bridges (link) or Construction Project (link). If you have a large group in a conference room these activities allow table / teams to undertake a two hour project with a need to collaborate with other teams in the room to achieve an overarching goal. Very often the individual teams will default to a competitive mindset before realising, about half way through the project, that they need to work collectively.
Both Building Bridges and Construction Project require teams to share insights and resources in order to complete the task – if they do not then they will fail. As you can imagine these sessions are great fun but is also very meaningful; often generating lots of takeaways to be discussed upon conclusion.
The next idea is Big Picture (link). A more relaxed analogy for collaboration to support your conference message, Big Picture will see several smaller groups working on painting a section of a masterpiece. The activity concludes with all of the panels being brought together to create the Big Picture. This activity lacks the punch of the ‘moment of realisation’ featured in the above two ideas (as teams understand the collaborative nature of the activity from the outset) but it creates a lovely atmosphere to re-enforce your message of the benefits of collaboration on overall organisational performance.
Other activities that can be applied to building collaboration are Lego Architect (link), our range of Treasure Hunts (link) and our TeamWorks programme (link).
Contact me now on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44(0)1905 330660 for more information on how to apply our team building activities to build collaboration within your team.
EML Team Co-founder and Director