What is ‘Team Building’?

The definition of team building. First, we need to define ‘team’.  A team is ‘a group of interdependent people attempting to achieve a common goal’. Key words here are ‘interdependent’ and ‘common’. So – if you have a group of people who do not fit the definition of ‘team’, then no matter what you do you are NOT team building.  Use a different word or phrase for what you are doing: team bonding having fun blowing off steam morale building morale boosting collaboration meetup If your people are NOT a team and you use the phrase ‘team building’, you will[…]Read More…

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Workshop Leader Nightmare Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about a nightmarish workshop setup I walked into and had to improvise on the spot. You can read about it here if you missed it!   Making lemonade from lemons... I quickly popped in an Altoid, just in case, for the people in front of me, took a deep breath and got started. After a very short introduction and brief about why we were together, I quickly changed the order of my content.  Instead of providing them with key content, I went right into an individual activity called Choices, which shows the value of alignment with the[...]Read More...
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What is a Fun Outdoor Team Activity We Can Run Ourselves?

Question: We are an Employment Services Company, a close knit team of 23 already but looking for outdoors (as we live by the sea), something fun we can do all together.  EG: last year we did Minute to Win IT. Any ideas you have would be great.   Answer: Fun, learning and meaning can all exist together.   I have been thinking about this and I would suggest finding something community based is usually the next step.  Make it fun and meaningful at the same time. Community Clean Up An easy example of community based activity – you are near[…]Read More…

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Activity Involving Sacrifice

Question from Allen: I have a group of 40 and about 30 minutes.  I need an activity to get across the idea of sacrifice. So any game where the main strategy to win or succeed involves sacrifice. Answer: This might be worth a conversation as it really depends upon what kind of sacrifice you are considering. Win Win Win is a great activity that actually sacrifices competition for the sake of the entire group.  Also, you have to sacrifice your groups agenda and plan in order to create greater success.  This would work really well with your 5 teams of[…]Read More…

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Communication and Percentages

  Many companies today think that email and mobile phone communications can solve all of their communications problems, but they can’t. In person meetings, conferences and activities work because they are face-to-face, which is essential for all sensitive communications. Professor Albert Mehrabian has pioneered the understanding of communications since the 1960’s. He received his Ph.D. from Clark University and in l964 commenced an extended career of teaching and research at the University of California, Los Angeles. He currently devotes his time to research, writing, and consulting as Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA. Aside from his many and various other fascinating[…]Read More…

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Team Building Turns Ugly For School Board

Did you see this article? If not, here is the gist: TAMPA – A Hillsborough School Board training session erupted in accusations, scoldings and door slamming Tuesday as the group met to create a vision for the district. Packed into a tiny conference room at Orange Grove Middle Magnet School, the board and superintendent met with a facilitator from the Florida School Boards Association to keep them focused. The meeting had barely started with a discussion of “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” when the veneer cracked. April Griffin, the newest board member elected in November, said she lacked trust –[…]Read More…

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MBTI as a Team Building Tool

We talk a lot about tools for use in team building. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of tools available and used in ‘team building’ situations. Whether it is a true ‘team building’ or not is not relevant here as Myers Briggs is actually an individual tool first. However, a short discussion of tools are necessary before we can talk specifically about Myers Briggs. Think of a shovel — you bring in a shovel and train the participants to use it. Then ask them to dig a hole. A percentage of them will take the shovel and begin to dig.[…]Read More…

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Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha Story Let me share with you one of my favorite stories: (Even if you’ve heard this one, it never gets old. It truly is a legend, and the reason why it’s so remarkable is that it is 100% true!) Many, many years ago, in 1801 to be exact, the king of Thailand wished to establish Bangkok as the new capital city. He wanted new temples, and he needed statues for them, so he ordered that his men search through the ruins of ancient temples across the land for statues they could bring back to the city. One particular[…]Read More…

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Team Building and Trust Building Quotes

Ways We Use Team Building Quotes: Meetings Having lead dozens of teams through critical, highly visable and stressful projects, I can tell you I am not a big fan of meetings. Some long meetings are necessary, but should be extremely infrequent. However, I LOVE stand-up meetings and 7 to 20 minutes short team huddles.  When run efficiently, these huddles keep the team aligned, create energy and enthusiasm and helps everyone stay connected. A quote can be very helpful to either begin or end the huddle.  You can have a different person pick one Dialogue Pick a quote and use it[...]Read More...
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Statistics in Adult Learning

The more immersed the individual is in the learning process, the greater their ability to retain the skills and lessons learned. While participants only retain about 10% of what they read, their retention jumps to 50% if they are engaged in the discussion and demonstrations. This retention increases even further, to more than 70% if the participant has the opportunity to participate and practice what they learn, and to 90% if they are given the opportunity to experience, reflect, internalize and then share what they have learned. Challenge activities not only involve the participants at a higher level of learning[…]Read More…

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Activity to Collect, Rate and Assess Topics

Here is a recent request from a person on our website looking for the right tool to collect, rate and assess problems: “James, in a nutshell, we know some issues exist and we know some have not yet been identified.  Essentially, if everyone came prepared to discuss their perception of what issues exist, and we had a good activity to collect, rate and assess to issues, this would be great. Below was my response: In terms of issues that exist, collections, rating and assessing – this is not something we have as a product to sell. However, we have done[…]Read More…

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5 Ways to Ensure Your Team Building Will Suck

By James Carter There are many reasons why a team building activity will fail.  Meaning it sucked.  Let’s be honest, there are many that are really terrible.  We have run a few of them ourselves that utterly failed.  It is embarrassing to admit and it is almost always because we committed one of the 5 below. Avoid the Top 5 below and you are definitely on the right track to having a GREAT experience. #5 – Wrong Activity, Wrong Time There are MANY different activities to select from and each of them has their own place.  You use the right[…]Read More…

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How to Pick a Team Building Activity

Running a new activity can be terrifying.  We know as we are trying new activities all the time and sometimes they don’t work the way I thought they would. DO NOT FEAR!  We are here to help you pick and execute the perfect activity for your group that is guaranteed to be awesome. Selecting an activity is both simple and challenging.  If in doubt, KEEP IT SIMPLE.  However, here are the steps we take to choose activities in our facilitation: First, look at the logistical parameters you have to work with for the activity: How many participants do you have?[…]Read More…

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A Glorious Disaster

My recent Glorious Disaster I walked into a leadership team workout for a Fortune 100 company this week and was absolutely shocked with the mindset of the people in the room. I knew that these were very smart people in a successful company with each of them responsible for departments with budgets into the tens of millions. Yet, the attitude was clear as I began, “Go ahead, lets’ see if you can teach me something.”  As we covered guidelines and expectations, arms were folded and a snide comment emerged, “So, are we going to fall into each others arms today?”[…]Read More…

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Activity for Group of 20 and Problem Solving

Question: I have a group of 20 and I need an activity for problem solving. Answer: Unfortunately, I need just a little more information to be able to direct you well in this area.  There can be a number of challenges under the umbrella of ‘problem solving: Is this a group or individual problem? If individuals, you might be better coaching them 1:1 instead of using a ‘team’ solution.  Especially if only a few people are having a hard time. If a group, there might be a lack of brainstorming of potential solutions, so really you need a brainstorming activity,[…]Read More…

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Intense Trust Team Building Activity for 10-15 People and a Few Hours

Intense Trust Team Building Activity for 10-15 People and a Few Hours Question: "I need an intense trust primer for 10-15 people (I have not decided who should attend yet) and I have a few hours at my disposal.  What could I do for the group to get them to be able to understand how to repair and deepen trust?" Answer: Trust comes from real vulnerability, not silly activities that poorly mimic 'trust'.  If you want and intense trust session, the trust that people extend MUST be real, not 'put-my-company-hat-on' trust.  That means each person being vulnerable.  A GREAT trust[...]Read More...
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Employee Engagement Starts with Team Building? Actually, no, No NO!

Question: Can you look through the power point presentation we have put together to justify a team building program we are trying to initiate? Answer: I looked through the power point presentations and it appears you are attempting to use team building to increase employee engagement.  Is that right? Using team building as your tool for employee engagement is extremely tricky and is just as likely to backfire and discourage engagement or create disengaged people. Many people use traditional team building expecting greater engagement when that same team building is ridiculed by the ‘team’.  So, before we get into the[…]Read More…

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Culinary Team Building

Corporate team building activities vary widely, some good and some ridiculous. A ‘hot new trend’ in corporate team building has been using cooking as the activity. Does it work? The answer to that lies in how it is facilitated. There is an inherent value in the activity because you are working on one of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs — the bottom of the triangle, Hunger. Now, we are not talking about the kind of hunger we witness on TV that is happening around the world with starving children, obviously. And yet, making meals and eating together deals with one of[…]Read More…

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Authenticity?

Recently I ran across a very interesting question: Authenticity — what does it mean to you? Do you believe it exists as a central core characteristic? Is it a construct of the modern management environment? Does it have a relevance or should we be more concerned about commercial metrics, performance and the like? Neil, I think authenticity is completely neutral. It is neither good nor bad Being ‘authentic’ is a positive character trait, although we may not like the authentic behavior we see in others or ourselves. What does that mean? Too often in management and leadership today we see[…]Read More…

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5 Whys Activity

Below is an excerpt from 'Discover Your Inner Strength', which I wrote with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Brian Tracy. This is an example of how you can use the 5 Whys to discover your core purpose, but you could use the the same tool to discover just about anything: Excerpt The activity is designed to help you discover your core motivation in life as well as examine your behavior. The 5 Whys was created by Sakichi Toyoda and made popular by Toyota as a way to determine root causes in the manufacturing methodologies.  The 5 Whys are now used[...]Read More...
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Leadership Quotes

The leadership quotes we find most useful, not as memes, but in our workshops and facilitation: [twocol_one]”To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” Eleanor Roosevelt [hr] “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” Theodore Roosevelt [hr] People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. John Maxwell [hr] “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”  John[…]Read More…

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Handouts and Downloads

Facilitator Resources Debrief Handouts Group Work 96.82 KB Please login to download   Debrief Handout 82.64 KB Please login to download Content Individual & Group Loop 128.71 KB Please login to download Activity Setup Peer Introductions 88.03 KB Please login to download   Editable Full Value Contract 511.74 KB   Full Value Contract 109.62 KB Please login to download Books Discover Your Inner Strength 431.77 KB Please login to download   Roadmap to Success 1.07 MB Please login to download Techniques 10 Pitfalls to Avoid When Facilitating 3.25 MB Please login to download ALL Individual Activities Alphabet Soup 2013 Instructions[...]Read More...
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Awareness Test

Watch the video, then read below. If you have already seen the video, read below. Some of the people in your group will have seen this video already. Don’t worry if they have. One of the most amazing realities is that once you have seen it, you can NEVER unsee it. That is what it is like when you see the best in the someone or a situation, you can never unsee it. At least, that is what we would like, right? But relationships are not that way. What can we do to continually see the best?

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Experiential Learning Quotes

There are thousands of leadership quotes.  These are among our favorites. [twocol_one]“Experiential learning takes place when a person involved in an activity looks back and evaluates it, determines what was useful or important to remember, and uses this information to perform another activity.” John Dewey [hr] “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward “One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it-you have no certainty, until you try.” Sophocles [hr] ““Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and[…]Read More…

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The Ripple Effect of your Actions are FAR Greater than you Imagine

A great video to show the Ripple Effect of seemingly harmless actions. Every action we take creates a ripple effect and most of the time we are unaware of what that impact looks like.  Below is a simple example of one action:   Be very careful of your actions, consider them and be mindful of the potential unintended consequences. You cannot prevent everything, cannot control everything, cannot examine every single action.  However, do what you can, when you can, to the extent you are able.  Know that deep down you are taking others into consideration and creating a positive influence[…]Read More…

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Meaningful Team Building Activities

By James Carter In this article, James discusses team building and some activities that are outside the norm.  First there are a few examples of what we provide to create meaning in team building.  Secondly, there are a couple of DIY activities you can do to create meaningful team building.  Finally, James provides some thoughts about what creates meaningful team building. [hr] [tabs style="default" title="Philanthropic Team Building Activities"] [tab title="Building A Dream"] Assemble bicycles and give them to deserving children who would never otherwise own a bike!  Read More... [/tab] [tab title="Sole Purpose"] Provide a child shoes for life so[...]Read More...
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Sage in the Stage vs Guide on the Side

Actually, I am not even sure you could call this ‘Facilitation’ but many people are put into a facilitator role without considering what the role requires. I am talking about the facilitator being the ‘Sage on the Stage’. Being a facilitator means you have quasi leadership in the group. Inexperienced facilitators take this opportunities to show the group how smart they are! Many times, these ‘Sages’ ask leading questions designed to drive the participants to a desired end. And in participants reaching that end, they feel very smart and smug. This is manipulation, NOT facilitation. I know this very well[…]Read More…

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