Building a Strong Team
With the recent slight downturn in the economy, many companies are having to review ways to economically boost morale and therefore are planning more focused events for their employees, clients and constituents. To help build strong relationships or teams, whether internally or with outside clients, many companies are leaning towards events that feature activities that keep attendees entertained, motivated and engaged.

However, building a team is not always easy and participation levels vary. Many people want to stand in the back and wait for the first motivated individual to take that first step and then slowly but surely the rest will follow. To help alleviate the problem of participation, planners always want to make sure when putting together activities, there is a strong management participation and encouragement. Another strong motivator is the use of prizes and incentives rewarded at the end of an activity. Of course money is a strong motivator but other prizes such as gift cards and certificates will do the trick.

Team building has really evolved into fun activities such as treasure hunts, spy schools, rope courses and activities where all the players come together to build something, solve a problem and generally have a lot of fun doing it. Some new and innovative ideas are having teams do performance activities, American Idol style, or try their hand at ballroom dancing, a la Dancing with the Stars, where the stars are key players in the company. Another great activity is an amazing race style, which combines both physical and mental components.

Other activities that will surely garner participation are golf tournaments and the new rage, poker tournaments. These types of events may not engage as much traditional team building as other activities but there are ways to make them more team-oriented.

A lot of companies are foregoing giving prizes and using the money saved to sponsor an activity to help a non-profit. Attendees are asked to help participate in a goodwill activity such as building dollhouses or putting together bicycles for needy and less fortunate children. The companies provide all the materials necessary and invite the attendees to participate in teams and help put the toys together. This is a great team building activity because at the end of the day people can really feel like they have made a difference.

A larger task to tackle, and many larger companies are taking this on, is to participate in a home building activity such as Habitat for Humanity. These activities leave attendees and the companies sponsoring them with a great feeling of accomplishment and in some cases can help generate public relations for the activity and subsequently the company.

Whether it is for the love of prizes or to create that warm feeling of doing something great for others, team building activities are a great way to boost company morale. No matter the activity, they are always one of the best ways to help build a strong, motivated and highly self-esteemed group.

Deborah Elias, CSEP, CMP, is President of Elias Events, LLC www.eliasevents.com

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