I get asked all the time for team building exercises. And as most of us know, many are quite lackluster or even worse, uber lame. (Though know your team will bond over the lameness of the exercise… “Remember when they made us carve pumpkins in the shape of our logo?”)
So here’s one that is surprisingly successful. Speed dating at work. Except, of course, the intention is not to date – but to learn.
First decide what you want your team members to learn from one another:
- What’s the one thing I could do to be a better co-worker?
- I’m having this work challenge, what would you do?
- What’s your best lesson learned/best practice around X (time management, customer service)?
- What’s the one thing you think you/we/I could do to improve our team/department/organization?
- What’s your biggest workplace challenge and how could the team help?
- Set up 16 chairs (for 16 people) with 8 chairs facing 8 chairs – it’s up to you if you want a table between them. (You can do this same setup with fewer or more people.)
- In addition, you need one person to be the facilitator/timer.
- Have one row stay seated while the other row moves every 7 minutes (use a timer).
- Set the ground rule of no conversation hoggers or hiders.
- Half way through each round yell, “halftime!”
- And then yell “switch!” when it’s time for the moving row to move down a seat.
And here’s the kicker, in this scenario 7 people will not have had a chance to talk to one another (the people in their own row). And they will be curious to know each others’ thoughts as well. So the conversation will continue well beyond the exercise. In essence, you leave them wanting to know more from and about one another – aka real deal teambuilding!!