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Interesting ideas for a team building day


I am seeking interesting ideas for a team building day for small management teams of 3 people. These events can be indoor or out but I am restricted to a maximum of 5 such teams if the event is to be indoors. Inter-team competition might also be useful.
The teams will consist of a store manager, their deputy and the store warehouse manager. These are people who are not used to a training and development culture and currently do not act as cohesive teams. We operate multi-sites of a wholesale/retail nature so a degree of competitiveness does already exist.
Any suggestions, however bizzare would be welcome.
I can be contacted at [email protected]
Many thanks in anticipation!
Phil Knott

11 Responses

  1. Exercise for Teams’ Development
    Dear Phil,

    A cracking exercise for for examining competition and co-operation between teams that would suit a number of small teams is the Red Spot/Blue Spot trading game. It is based on the principle of the Prisoner’s Dilemma game. If the teams co-operate all can come out winners, if one or more of the teams decide to compete then there will be winners and losers. The exercise can get quite emotive, particularly if trust is broken, so care is needed in the facilitation of the exercise.

    If you would like more information please e-mail me.


    Phil Stephenson

  2. Interesting idea for team building
    You could try:

    X and Y game – good for getting a group of teams to think laterally (and they always fail until the last moment).

    Lemon game – gets individuals and teams to see through stereotypes

    Who wins the money – each team member contributes a sum of money (it needs to amount to something significant to win bu tnot too much to give away – I usually say a couple of quid) and the team has to decide who’s going to receive all the money contributed – great for rational decision making, criteria setting and seeing team spirit develop.

  3. Clues and quizzes
    Why not locate the event somewhere interesting and have a competitive”treasure hunt” whereby teams have to identify landmarks, answer clues etc for monopoly money and within a timescale?
    This helps teams bond, sorts out wheat from chaff and can be good fun – I’m not sure where you are located but have run this sort of activity several times at an ace hotel in Cheshire – I’m more than happy to talk you through what I did and let you have my materials if useful. If of interest please ring me on 0151 236 9594.

  4. 4 Ways to Build Teams
    Dear Phil

    1. Outdoor activities. I recommend most highly Jon Toulson, who can be contacted at [email protected].
    2. Outdoor activities. A pre-fab series of establishments called The Holt are located throughout the UK. I went on an introductory day and found it most fun. Plus, I have done work with one of the principles, Lucy Brownsden, who can be contacted at the Holt in Lincolnshire – 01400-273007. Lucy can also advise you of where other Holts are located.

    Both have high levels of integrity and are very experienced at this sort of thing.

    3. Indoor activities. I like 2 here. Both have different slants and provide different examples of working together. The first has been handed down from Robert Dilts, a renowned NLPer. It involves drawings (so have pens and crayons, paper, etc). You learn about other people, how to elicit information from them (a specific type of questioning), how to convey your understanding (both verbally and illustrated), how to identify what you have learned from the experience, how to accept modifications to your own ideas, and lastly, how to give feedback from a detached standpoint.

    The other is Community Building which comes from the work of Dr Scott Peck. While there are professional community building facilitators (I think they now have a web somewhere, try CBIB – community building in britain), you can do some of this on your own. It defines the 4 stages of community. The book is the Different Drum. It is very powerful, to say the least, and as I have been advised this is too long, email me for more!


  5. Non competition is best!
    Recent research in team development showed that competition only works for the winners. To move forwards, try indentifying the behaviours that need changing, identify the blocks and then work on these. The solutions that we design are attitude-based and focus on specific work outcomes – being clear on the end is more important than the actual tasks.

    If you would like questions to help you design your course, please email me at the address above.


  6. Songwriting workshops
    Here’s a different idea. I offer workshops in which participants work creatively together to share their stories or co-operate on a joint piece of work. Much more interesting than producing a dry mission statement. No need for anyone to have experience of singing or to play a musical instrument: they provide the raw material, I’ll help to shape it.

    Interested? Let me know and I’ll send you a pack.

    Andrew Smith, Muse Management

  7. Team-Building Events
    Don’t know where Phil is based but how about Bishop Burton College, near York – team building using real animals for the ‘sheep & shepherd’ game – great facilities for unusual team events including milking cows !, or Llama Trekking on Yorkshire Coast.

  8. Heck no!
    I agree with Andrew Middleton (see below). It will only work if everyone is competitive. I’m not and I’d rather sit in a corner and cry than do some of the activities suggested here. We have a team of nine and our team-building exercise is to go out for a meal in the evening sometimes. Works for us.

  9. working together
    For the past 13 years I have been involved in the sport of Parascending/Paragliding. As a licenced instructor for a paragliding school in the Midlands I have over the past years seen a lot of people introduced to the sport. For your team building day why not try this (weather permitting), after instruction and training on landing and the equipment, all on the course are instructed on the different ground activities supporting the pilot in the harness. All their efforts enable the pilot to take off safely and come to no harm.
    As a team building exercise it produces an awareness of the danger the pilot can be placed in if they do not play their part .

    Over the years I have seen hundreds of individuals attending day courses and finishing as one tight team fully confident of leaving their lives safely in the hands of the rest of the team when it came to their turn to fly. So get in touch if it takes you and enjoy a sample of free flight and exhileration and enjoy the benefits of a bonded team at the end of the day.

  10. Team building – by flying a Jumbo Jet!
    Here’s a very novel suggestion. Bourne Training recently started to offer a team building exercise based on the use of aircraft flight simulators (located at Heathrow and Gatwick). The exercise is demanding, rewarding and requires the very highest standard of teamworking skills. Participants are supplied with comprehensive briefing documentation designed to challenge their initiative and call on their communication, negotiating, planning and decision making skills. Following the briefing and planning stages of the event the participants are split into small teams (usually of 3)and are then expected to “fly” a jet between 2 major international airports. A full debrief and discussion takes place – hopefully after a successful touchdown!
    The exercise is incredibly realistic and has all the advantages and excitement of an outdoor course without the need for any physical exertion or risk.
    A participant from a major UK bank commented after one course, “I went into this hardly know some members of the team – and came out feeling as though they were all long lost friends”.


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