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Seb Anthony

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Team building / training in Istanbul – ideas?


Hi all,

I'm designing a team building treasure hunt/adventure game to take place in Istanbul and incorporating the history and culture of the city - Emporer Constantine, the temples and palaces, the Ottoman empire etc. We have a team of expert local guides there who can take part too, giving clues etc.

There are two simple objectives; give participants a fun and rewarding time, and get people working as teams rather than by themselves, which is what happens in the office. I'll be mixing the teams up between challenges and allocating points per team which will be shared between team members. Individual points will be tracked over the whole event. I do not want fixed teams competing against each other, in fact there are some challenges where teams have to co-operate with each other.

I have a few ideas already, and I'm always open to your creativity. What do you suggest?

peter freeth

3 Responses

  1. Use blindfolds!
    Peter, I have run an exercise for Managers which focussed on communication and trust, amongst other things. The way it works is to have people in pairs, one of whom is blindfolded (get blindfolds from The Training Shop, on line) and one of whom is the ‘leader’. The leader has to guide the follower on a specific route, collecting things on the way (we used numbered post-it notes)to the final destination.

    Instructions have to be verbal, no physical contact is allowed and no peeking!

    The debrief afterwards is focussed on how people felt whilst blindfolded (vulnerable etc) and how well the leader guides and supports the follower through the process.

    Hope this helps, good luck!

  2. Think about principles

    Can I suggest that you work up from basic principles to help you identify appropriate exercises? In reality you will not create true teams in the context you describe, but will be aiming to create co-operating groups, a step towards true teams. The distinction is important because true teams know each others’ strengths and weaknesses, are open to each other and have mutual trust. You are really only working towards such a state. What you need to do is to identify some of the charactersitics of true teams you want people to become aware of and to develop, and use the exercises to focus on these.

    Probably the most important principle is about mutuality (a sense of common respect and understanding), but short term teams will tend to move in the opposite direction because the sense of having to complete a task to win will encourage some to dominate and others to become resentful. Therefore you should think about exercises that require all group members to play an active part – forcing them to work co-operatively.

    Secondly, you might also think about creating a base group to which each individual’s scores are added to build a common score. That way you force everyone into a conflict whereby beating other temporary teams reduces the base team’s score, but by not competing they reduce their own. The result is likely to be that teams will strive to maximise the scores of all base teams, uniting them against a common enemy – you, as the ringmaster. At the end, they will have found that even when they seem to be competing they actually win best by co-operating – an important lesson for any organisation intent on building strong relationships with suppliers and customers.

  3. What a great gig! Some ideas:
    Hi there,

    What a fantastic contract! Istanbul is a fantastic city overloaded with things to fit into your adventure exercise. Taxis are cheap and plentiful, and places like the cisterns are wonderfully interesting – you could incorporate a money earning element which allowed teams to raise enough to buy their taxi fare and admittance to the next location; what about getting them to buy postcards / souvenirs of everywhere they achieve a visit to, in order to make a big advert for Istanbul at the end of the day to display to their colleagues. They could raise money to buy lunch at the riverside ‘fish sandwich’ boats. The options are endless.

    I would take a bit of time to ensure the safety of your group though, and ensure you don’t lose any to the markets and winding streets, make sure you have groundrules of travelling in minimum pairs, check in times, contingencies etc, and don’t use places like the mosques for exercises inside (sorry, I’m sure it’s obvious!)

    Also, I noted your scoring system, and wondered of you’d accounted for them not focusing on their individual performance (as you’re tracking those scores) as you are trying to avoid their current habit of working individually.

    Have great fun.



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