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Jane Hodgson

Grahame Robb Associates Ltd

Management Development Trainer

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Team Building with a difference


I have been asked to source a team building day, but not the kind that has you lighting fires in the woods, drumming or archery. My boss thinks these are a bit 'wooly' and isn't convinced they would add real value. Specifically he wants something that focuses on personality profiles and group dynamics, with the notion that the better the team understands each other, the better they'll work together. Anyone got any pointers?

26 Responses

  1. Comedy

    Hi Jane,

    How about a "whose line is it anyway" style gameshow/ quiz to get personalities flowing, with whole team elements, smaller group parts and solo slots as per the television show.


  2. Give SDI a try.

    I’d suggest using Strengths Deployment Inventory (SDI) which is a fantastic tool for identifying what motivates people & how this affects how we communicate. I rate it above some of the other profiling tools you can use for teambuilding events because you can map the whole team on to a visual triangle so you can immediately identify the differences between the team. 

    SDI also argues that an individual’s profile changes when they are in conflict with someone which is a real added insight. 

    I use SDI with teams quite frequently to great effect, let me know if you want any further info. on it.



    [email protected]

  3. oldie but goodie…

    Hi Jane

    This has always worked for my delegates;

    Before the event get them each to do a Belbin team roles questionnaire…they can do this as they arrive if you want to keep it "on-the-day"

    1. Get them to do one of the "ranking survival exercises"; NASA, Desert survival, Lost At Sea.  Video* it.

    2 Debrief the survival exercise.

    3. Introduce the team roles theory

    4. Get them to score their team roles questionnaires.

    5. Watch and analyse the video looking for examples of the team roles behaviours.

    6. Discuss the team roles profile of the team and what this may mean in the real world and therefore what actions does the team need to take to succeed.


    *if video isn’t an option you need to observe and make notes

    I hope this helps

    Rus (if you want a special cake for the teambuilding day)

     (PS some comentators see firestarting/drumming.archery as teambonding rather than teambuilding….but lets not be pedantic!)

  4. Team Building Ideas

    Hi Jane

    The team building events I deliver have a focus on helping people understand themselves and others and where they compliment and conflict as well. I have always found this has had a huge impact on working relationships.

    I would also recommend Belbin Team Roles as a fantastic tool. It is easily understood and explained and I find people grasp it quickly. Behaviours that link to the roles are easily spotted and commented on either by an observer or by using video playback. The Belbin profiles can be completed online and the reports are very accurate. Meredith Belbin also has some interesting information around what constitutes a team as well. 

    An alternative would be Myers Briggs MBTI although individuals types are best identified through a one to one session before the team building event.

    There is also the forming, storming, norming model which can be used to help explain team dynamics and I have an activity that goes with this that can demonstrate the stages of the model quickly. Its called the helium stick game. Contact me if you would like the information.

    With regards to activities, there are some great ones available which are enjoyable whilst providing the behaviours you need to provide feedback. The website has team building information and games on it.

    If you would like to get in touch with some further details about the event, numbers of delegates attending the team building, whether it is a discreet management group or not, desired outcomes etc, I would be happy to recommend some suitable activities and provide further information on them.

    My contact details are:

    Tel: 01508 539908

    email: [email protected]


  5. Be careful if considering Belbin and other such tools

    A word of caution on specifically Belbin, and no doubt other protected instruments.

    Unless you have paid your appropriate licenses and so on Belbin’s lawyers will come after you with very sharp teeth.

    So, even an innocent, well intentioned use may get you into serious bother.

    Andrew Gibbons

  6. Using Tools


    I would add to my earlier comment and support Andrews, that any tool, such as Belbin, needs to be used in accordance with copywrite and by someone knowledgeable and experienced enough to wield it. Belbin have successfully prosecuted companies who have used Belbin Team Roles without using the official version publicised and adminstered through them.

    I and my business partner are Belbin Accredited, however if you are not and would like to use Belbin I would visit their website where they clearly show the options for using it and costs involved. The team at Belbin are very helpful and will make it user friendly for anyone wanting to access Belbin Reports. They will want to ensure you are using it appropriately and effectively, however this does not mean you have to be Belbin Team Roles accredited.

    MBTI requires you to be qualified to administer this.

    I hope this helps.


  7. Team Building

    Hi Jane

    There are any number of options for team building the don’t involve "walking on hot coals" etc.  My instinct would be to go for something based on "The Apprentice".  It can be designed for one or more teams, have your "Nick and Margaret" observers and if possible video for feedback.  2 days is preferrable so that you can do your diagnostics(eg MBTI) and set the scene, then the exercise(s) and then ensure you have a full half day for feedback/reflection and action planning (this is the bit that most people miss out and is the most valuable for making improvements and gaining commitment to change).  You could also schedule a half day follow up say 6 weeks after to see what has changed.

    If you want facilitation/design, please get in touch.


    Good Luck






  8. Team building with a difference

    Hi Jane, So its a no to "fires in the woods, drumming or archery" as yor boss thinks these are a "bit wooly and isn’t convinced they would add real value"

    Jane whatever type of event you end up choosing, there are some good suggestions in the thread already like SDI, you may still end up with a "wooly" result unless you have a clear outcome for the event. I am not sure about the drumming but I have seen excellent team events using various elements of woodland activites and have experienced some very poor sessions based on personality types. 

    A  few good qustions to ask as you commission for the event:

    1. What will every attendee do differently aftter the event?

    2. What will every attendee see differently aftter the event?

    3. What will every attendee say differently aftter the event?

    4. What actions will they take to maitain momentum to change from the event? 

    5. What experiences do the attendees need to have for them to identify the changes they need to make?  

    Good luck.





  9. The Myers Briggs instrument has proven to be very useful in expl


    Hello!  I do not know what instruments you are familiar with/licensed to use but the Myers Briggs is a very good instrument for creating insight in teams and helping team members to better understand each other. Get in touch if you would like more information.


    Kind regards




  10. Teambuilding Sessions

     Hi Jane,

    My company is called Teambuilding Solutions and we specialise in using behaviour analysis tools together with experiential learning activities to help bring the tools ‘to life’.

    I’m an accredited facilitator with both Belbin and SDI and can vouch for the credibility of both. When it comes to choosing one over the other, it comes down to the dynamics of the team. Belbin is excellent for a small team that works closely together. SDI is a personal development tool (with the added advantage of it giving you what’s called your Conflict Sequence). This is better for teams that are large or don’t work together on a day to day basis. 

    We run 2 types of workshops, a one day introduction session  (half a day of theory and profiles backed up by experiential activities for the second half of the day.) And a two day workshop which goes into greater depth and is also backed up by activities.

    We have two great problem solving type activities that fit perfectly into these workshops. The Great Pyramid Build and The Krypton Maze. Both are fun and have physical elements to them and you can see more on them on our website

    Krypton Maze –

    Pyramid Build –

    Please let me know if you would like any further information and good luck with the event!

    Tel 07887 985859

    [email protected]


  11. PRISM Pyschological Profiling Tool

    Hi Jane,

    I read your question and the responses with interest.  I see the same old ideas coming out which quite frankly have been used for many years with varying success. 

    I think Nick has hit the nail on the head when he says that before deciding what the solution is, you need to fully understand the reasons for the team build.  Do you know what your boss is expecting to see change as a result of the day?  How will he expect people to behave differently following the investment? And more importantly how will the changes be sustainable. 

    So many companies offer great fun events but they are unable to embed the changes and within weeks the teams go from excited to dysfunctional as they realise that nothing is really going to change.  In these situations, the team will have seen the prospect of a better future through the team day, but as time progresses engagement will fall overall, as they do not see the changes becoming embedded in the culture of the team.

    I focus on the desired outcome (immediately and longer term) before starting to pull together an outline for a team day.  The tools used will then depend on the needs identified, although one I have found very useful for developing individuals and teams is called PRISM.  This tool is based on recent developments in Neuroscience and looks at behaviours both visible to colleagues and the hidden underlying behaviours, which makes it a very powerful tool.

    To see more, go to my website links below:

    Hope this helps


  12. Teambuilding With A difference


    We have experience of conducting and providing for many team events looking at not just personality behaviour but also the values and motivators which drive that behaviour.

    This is best carried out with pre event assessment which produces jaw dropping personal and team reports. These are very comprehensive and often provide revelation for the readers which results in profound behaviour change and dramatic team development.

    You (and or your boss) can try this personal assessment free of charge at:
    How You tick
    you will be amazed at the results. If you wish to use this approach you can become certified to deliver Free OF Charge!

    Ken Buist – [email protected]

  13. High Energy Teams

    Hi Jane,


    I’d like to echo Nick’s comments about clarifying objectives before going any further. I often find myself supporting consultants who have been asked to deliver "some teambuilding" without having been offered any perspective on the demands of the team. We do have a framework that we use to provide a backdrop to a teambuilding event in order to maximise their impact and investment- we call this the High Energy Teams model.


    We offer a suite of tools to provide multiple, complementary perspectives on high energy teamworking as well as individual development. Our flagship product, the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile, combines a measure of preferences at work with an extensively-researched model of critical work activities that occur in High Performing Teams. The Team Management Profile has been used widely to forge and sustain teams as part of team building events; and offers a practical toolkit for the whole team as well as a sustainable investment in their individual development.


    If you’re interested in discovering more about our approach or would like to be linked-up with an Accredited practioner, please feel free to visit or contact me directly at [email protected] .


    – Mark

  14. Creative Team Building

    Hi Jane,

    I think this is the first response I’ve submitted in which I am  offering my own business as an option. We have delivered a range of unique team build events, all essentially underpinned in understanding vision, communication, interaction across teams and identifying why people act in the way they do.

    I suspect you have had many excellent ideas so any idea is good as long as the individual, team and business benefit. Sometimes, team building can be put over as a bit of a jolly and that should not always be the case.

    For my business, we have held team build events in real live television studios where managers developed their own in-house 5 minute video. We have also taken over a recording studio and made a brilliant single with one group – nobody could play an instrument. We have worked with teh Wildlife Trust and ran team days working on copicing, doormouse hunts, munchjack deer counts or building educational areas.

    I would also urge you to look at community based team building projects – clearing a piece of land, painting a community building room, working with students with learning difficulties etc. Finally, do think of a project involving The Princes Trust as well.

    Good luck,


    Skills Channel TV

  15. Helping or self-marketing?

    Am I alone in thinking that there has been a shift in the balance lately across many threads in favour of marketing oneself over genuine helping?


    Andrew Gibbons

  16. Did I miss the point of Janes’ post???

     The type of day required by Janes’ brief suggests that she needs an outside Accredited facilitator with experience of team development. Are we not helping her by suggesting what we can do to help fulfil that brief?

  17. The helping/over-marketing conundrum

    I guess I was suggesting that there is a point where help takes second place to the opportunity to promote our specific products and services. I have, for instance,  been surprised of late to see hyper links to specific commercial future events.

    It’s about balance. In  my view that balance has swung some way towards the promotion of services and away just a little from helping – not by any means confined to this thread.

    I suppose you reads your contribution, you makes your conclusion.

    Andrew Gibbons

  18. questioners could signal what is wanted

    Maybe questioners could indicate of they are specifically looking for commercial solutions and suppliers in their question or there could be another TAB "sell me your wares"?



  19. A different day

    I organised an awayday (well away afternoon) for staff, board and volunteers recently –  Breaking away from our usual buffet and games format.

    We didn’t do anything directly work related. 

    We went for a really lovely two course lunch at a local restaurant. (Who provided menus etc in advance – and name /place cards according to a pre-provided seating plan drawn up to make sure everyone was on a table with people they didn’t usuqally work with. (This cost £10 per head for 2 courses, vegetables and a drink – wine/tea/coffee/soft drink)

    Then we went to our local independent cinema and watched a really interesting archive film about our city. (This cost £100).

    Then we talked to each other some more.

    97% of those attending said it was the best event of this type they’d been on and they learnt more about their colleagues and their work – and their interests outside work etc. than on any other awayday.

    So for around £600 – we had a fantastic event – that’s still reflected in the much better inter-team working that’s developed since then.

    My advice is – forget all the usual stuff and give people an opportunity to relate to each other in a relaxed environment.  (A really good lunch helps too).







  20. Wow!

    Dear Ken,

    Just clicked on the link you provided and completed the survey. Cannot believe I can get such a detailed 50-page analysis report for free! I recognise the first part as DiSC.

    Very impressive!



  21. The helping/over-marketing conundrum

    Dear Andrew

    I understand your viewpoint but have to say that I have enjoyed reading all the comments put up so far for this thread and learned a lot in the process! I have saved websites and contact details of people who I could work with in the future should the need arise. For me, it has been helpful that people and companies are discussing their wares.



  22. Differing perceptions and motives

    Yes, it is an indefinable line that moves from being helpful to promoting inappropriately.

    I smile to myself when I see posts and thread starters that whatever their apparent headline seem to me at least to be more ‘look at me and what I am doing’.

    It’s the overtly commercial that caused my comment – where a passing reference to the true issue provides a platform for obvious marketing.

    Andrew Gobbons    …joking, only joking!


  23. Hi Jane

    Two questionnaires/exercises worth considering are the Team Effectivenes Survey (TES) and the NASA Moon Survival Task.   The TES enables team members to profile themselves and their colleagues in terms of The Johari Window model, i.e. openness and willingness to listen and encourage a two-way flow of information, suggestions feelings and reactions.   It gives each person immediate feedback on how they are seen by their collegues in a non-threatening way.   Also very useful if you use The Johari Window in other parts of your interpersonal skills training or coaching.

    The NASA Moon Survival TAsk is a group exercise in concensus building and problem solving.   It mesures the quality of group decisions versus individual’s solutions, team member’s styles and the effect individuals have on the group and vice-versa.   It’s also fun to take part in and can be made competitive one grouo against another.

    Both exercises are available through Chartwell Learning & Development: or

    You can contact me [email protected]

    Good Luck,



  24. Help at a price…or help for free?

    Interestingly, cued by the most recent contribution to this thread, I put "moon survival task" into google and found the very same activities referred to within the telometrics catalogue linked to above for free – as well as a host of other free domain team activites.

    I guess this suggests that google can be your friend, and that a lot of paid for material is in the free domain – aware always of those items whose authors rightly protect against unauthorised use.

    Andrew Gibbons

  25. Team Building Activity

    We develop our own activities to fit into our development programmes as well as to run for individual work groups in the business. Last year I decided to revamp our team building module to include Team Communication (linking to DISC / Colours behavioural profiling), Belbin Team Roles and also team development (Tuckman). To demonstrate this, I had a treasure hunt in mind for the team aruond Southampton and bought a ‘Make Your Own O Poly’ set (from online stores, all good games shops and some poor ones!) for around £20 which allows you to build your own monopoly board of sites you wish. We linked it into our Values (Chance & Community Chest) and got them to run round the city visiting sites to gain clues to a certain phrase which translated into a combination to a safe (and subsequent goodies). We’ve run it quite a few times now and it’s worked really well demonstraing how a team builds and then falls apart with lack of communication, how individuals rise and fall within the team itself and generally picking up in a day what happens over time with teams.


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Jane Hodgson

Management Development Trainer

Read more from Jane Hodgson

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