How to Plan a Team Building Event

Over the years, team building activities has been on a rise and more and more corporate companies are seeing the benefits of bringing a team together to bond, mull over common objectives and have a sense of togetherness as they strive towards their goals.

In the previous posts, we have listed down ideas, venues and some of the team building activities that are incorporated into a team building session. In this post, to help you plan for a team building program, we’d like to list down some pointers, as a form of a checklist to help you along. You may have gone through many years of team building sessions, or it may be the first time you’re planning for one, but we think it’s a good idea to  go through some mandatory pointers in the form of the 5 Ws and 1 H, but we’ll ask them in this order,

  1. Why
  2. Who
  3. When 
  4. Where 
  5. What
  6. How

1) Why – Setting objectives

mission vision

The birth of a company team building program starts off with the question Why. Why do you want a team building session? Why is there a need? There are various reasons for a team building session, which ranges between “just for fun team bonding”, to “resolving conflict” and everything in between from “addressing change management” to “improve communication”, and we have also assisted groups in conceiving their company’s mission and vision statements, and formulating core values together with the management team.

Know the reasons behind the cause for a team building session, be it a celebratory gathering to reward the team for the past months achievements, or a platform to bring across a point of improvement, the team building session would be a meaningful one having met it’s objectives.

2) Who – Who are the participants?

Whether you come from a large Multi-National Company (MNC) with various departments, or a SME with a growing number of employees, or a small local business, the common denominator in all businesses is that they’re run by human resources!. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, an American online store acquired by Amazon, has much to say about happy employees resulting in happy customers and in turn, making a better brand out of your company. You can take a look at an interview by Time magazine with Mr Hsieh on Youtube.

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Company team building, of course, takes time, and in some companies where daily production is required, stopping production for a period of time might not be wise, but rather, team building in teams or departments might be a more feasible option. We have done team building sessions for an entire company, and more commonly, on a department by department basis.

Take a look at the various departments, managerial team that make up the company, and make an assessment if a team building session would be helpful. More often than not, the answer is yes.

Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.- Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

3) When – Fixing a date

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There are many phases a company goes through in a year, and different departments have different deadlines to meet. For example, the Finance department may be the busiest during year-end or March/April when the financial year closes, the Sales team may have a certain month to close, and it may seem difficult to plan a common date, but we have seen it happen where various departments compromise on their own deadlines and schedules to meet together for a greater purpose in building the team up.

One of the learning values that come out of team building is little reminders that though each department is uniquely different, we help teams realize that they ultimately represent the same company, so a give-and-take approach especially in scheduling time to meet is a good start to experiencing that.

Fridays are popular days, to have an “off” day and carry out a team building session. The weekend after would set the mood and quickly relax the participants and get them to enjoy the day better. Sessions can range from a half day where it starts either from morning till lunch, or after lunch till evening, or an entire day from morning till evening. We believe in “replacing” a typical work day with a team building session, rather than having the workers fork out an extra day from their off days to gather, as a form of reward. Sometimes, team building sessions are part of many days-long conferences, and question most people ask if the session is to be held before or after the conference. A kick-off team building session can set the tone for the days of formal meetings ahead, and a closing team building session can wrap-up and bring the team back together after having gone through a week of meetings. Opinions differ, and we’re open to discuss about this with you.

If the budget allows, you might want to consider having an overseas retreat. We have gone to neighbouring places like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and our Hong Kong office have explored parts of Hong Kong and China as requested by our clients.

4) Where – Deciding on the location

A company team building event can take place anywhere, from within the office premise, an outdoor park, a hotel function room, a club house. These are matter of preferences, and once the deciding committee comes to a consensus, there are various venues to consider right here in Singapore, or if you’d like, overseas.

Many hotels and club houses, are equipped to cater for business meetings and seminars. Most of them know the importance of such meetings and have dedicated Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) teams to assist groups on their needs.

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You can check out some suggested venues listed in this blog here :

http://www.singaporeteambuilding.com/blog/category/team-building/team-building-venues/

5) What – What kind of activities? What to include?

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Now that you have decided that you want a team building session for your group, now what? What do you expect? And what is there to do?

This is a matter of suitability, preferences and feasibility. As much as we hope that everyone is able to enjoy the same activities, we also know that people are wired differently. Decide on the non-negotiables, for example, the objectives of the team building, and the rest can be tweaked along, after giving much thought and some compromising on everyone’s part.

  • Would an outdoor program fit the majority?
  • What if it rains?
  • What is the physical fitness of the general group, would something sporty or low-key be better?
  • Any special-aided participants involved?
  • Should we cater for meals?
  • Should there be a dinner gathering?
  • How are people going to get to the venue? Do we provide transport for them?

These are some of the questions that you may want to ask as you decide on the type of programs. Anergy has list of programs that have been designed so that the majority of the group, if not all, is able to participate and enjoy the activities together.

6) How – How to get this going?

Planning a team building session is not an easy process, which is why, anergy fun engineers are dedicated specialists in providing services just for your team building needs.

Of course, there is much fulfillment in the creation of your own team building activities, from start to end, but we understand the constraints of ideas, and limitations as there are primary job functions which you need to fulfill on a daily basis.

If you’re toying with the idea of a team building session, but don’t know where to start, do drop us a note at enquiryATsingaporeteambuildingDOTcom and our friendly team building specialists are on hand to assist you.

We wish you all the best in your upcoming team building session!

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Cross-Boarders – Dealing With People

Some games never grow old. Remember the classic game of Monopoly? That is one age-old game that has spanned across generations and into many variations for young, old and cartoon enthusiasts, and even a Singapore version! Well, this shows that board games are highly favored by children and adults alike.

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As team building specialists, we believe in the use of games, and in our years of “playing”, we discovered a highly interesting board game. While we were playing it leisurely, we realized its potential as a team building game, as it comprises of different elements and many twists! The game is similar to Monopoly in that it’s a board game, otherwise, the whole game requires a lot more energy, wit and movement. It involves closing of deals, and a lot of interaction among the players involved to get that deal that you want. The twist is that anyone, at any point, can  take over in leading that round, and that changes the dynamics suddenly, introducing lots of thrills and bargaining, and laughter! This board game encourages players to form alliances, or allow them to bargain aggressively (after all, it’s just a game!), as each player strives to bring in the highest earnings from the deals.

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learning values

  • taking initiative to get involved
  • taking care of less vocal colleagues
  • being fair in our dealings
  • to give and take in a team environment
  • the importance of building trust

The game usually starts off with everyone seated, but about 5 minutes into the game, it is normal for the players to be standing up (possibly, to show more determination to win the deals), and walking around.

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This game is good for a min of 3 pax to as large a group of 100 pax at the same time. It is useful to show how each individuals work with each other in a fun, non-threatening board game.

Want to know more? Do drop us a note today at enquiryATsingaporeteambuildingDOTcom

Paramount Conquest – indoor team building activity

Right here in sunny Singapore, oh wait, make that rainy, oh wait, well.. you get what I mean. As the weather fluctuates between hot & wet and pretty much it in our tropical island, we have had many requests for team building activities that can be held indoors, and yet active enough to get participants on their feet. We at änergy understand this need and we’d like to cater to that need and meet your objectives of a fruitful team building activities session with learning values to take away.

Let me introduce Paramount Conquest, which is our best-selling indoor team building program. Our senior trainer developed this game to involve everyone with a few objectives in mind. This game may be done indoors, but it is a fast-paced decision making game that has roles for everyone to fill, and participate. In a nutshell, this game simulates a mountaineering expedition to the top of the mountain, which we call Mount Olympus, and to get back to the base within the stipulate time frame (survival time frame we call it), with as much money collected at the top of the mountain.

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Within the game, there are various obstacles that the mountaineers have to brave, such as different daily weather, bandits and managing their own resources that will sustain them through the expedition. Elements of chance, prudent planning and team dynamics come into play on this exhilarating journey. the winning team is determined by the amount of resources harvested at the end of the journey – that is, if they manage to make it back in time! As part of the game, there will be surprises thrown in to thwart the team’s initial planning, but we have facilitators on hand to keep the team on the move and to assist any doubts the team might have.

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After conducting this activity over the past 10 years, our facilitators and trainer have anticipated all kind of responses and team dynamics, and we’re pleased to say that this is one activity that is suitable for all genre of people and age groups and I personally would recommend this game if you have not tried it yourself. We have customised this activity for a certain cosmetic company, and instead of “cash”, the objective was to collect pearls. Do let us know if you have specific objectives, and we can help to tweak the game to fit you perfectly.

At the end of the activity, a debrief will be conducted for all the teams to expound on the learning points behind the game

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learning values:

  • planning is vital for success   
  • importance of time management and optimal resource allocation
  • every team member plays a crucial role, and teamwork is vital in order to advance
  • delegation is essential to be effective
  • members should learn to take initiative, be proactive and be able to cover each other’s duties
  • heeding the advice of predecessors

Do talk to us to find out more at enquiryATsingaporeteambuildingDOTcom today!

Indoor Team Building in Sanya

You should know by now, that Sanya is the only tropical coastal tourist city in China. The city is becoming well known as the place of sun, sea, beautiful beaches, warm climate, hot springs and a host of other ideal tourist features. Sanya enjoys warm weather and sunshine year-round and unobstructed views of the South China Sea.

What’s the best thing to do in Sanya? It is to relax. Yalong Bay is a major tourist beach located east of Sanya City. Regarded as the best beach in Hainan Province, many internationally-operated hotels have been constructed in Yalong Bay.

Early last year, we had an event at Sanya Marriott Yalong Bay Resort & Spa, one of the most premier beach resort in the vicinity. Are we going to talk about the beauitful beach or the friendly hotel staff who welcomed us with surprise souvenir seashell necklaces? Not in this entry. Since we have already mentioned the outdoor activities that can be conducted at overseas venues, let’s now talk about the indoor activities! We’ll show you, life can be as fun without the sun, sea and sand!

Brains, Brawn & Bucks
Participants were grouped into teams and sat at their respective round tables, eagerly waiting for instructions. Most of them did not know what was going to take place during the next two hours. Upon hearing that it is going to be a game show and “money” can be earned, the energy levels of the seated working adults surge. The boisterous crowd quietened down when instructions were flashed on the screen, and paid fuller attention, noting down the instructional content.

What was the first question going to be? Everyone waited in excitement and stared intently at the screen. There you go, first question – a test on sense of smell! Boxes containing unknown “objects” were being passed around,  in a neat order, so that everyone at the table would get a chance to decipher the identity of the smell.  No loud discussions were heard, in fear of being overhead by the “competitors” at the other tables. When answers were confirmed through whispers, the teams wrote down their answers and flashed the whiteboards confidently. After 35 questions, which test the logical, mathematical, artistic, kinesthetic and linguistic skills of the participants, the highest score was announced! Without a doubt, the team which held the most amount of “money” was the ultimate winner. It was really a fun and engaging day!

This game show-style team building activity is adapted from Dr. Howard Gardner’s theory on multiple intelligence. engage learners so we can get serious messages across. It aims to bring out the fact that multiple learning styles exist and many different approaches can be taken to ensure that your team mates are learning deeply. For instance, if you are making a presentation via Microsoft PowerPoint, which has strong emphasis on linguistic and spacial learning, it might not suit people who are kinesthetic learners.

This activity emphasizes the fact that people are all intelligent in different areas, and also helps develop mutual respect among participants, which is a crucial ingredient of teamwork. If you’re looking at an activity which promotes team work and healthy competition, topped up with light-hearted atmosphere and 100% entertainment value, this is the game for you! It is able support group sizes of up to 300 pax and is ideal for ice-breaking, dinner & dance and team bonding purposes! If you aren’t convinced, please feel free to email us at enquiry@singaporeteambuilding.com! And no, we will not reveal the quiz questions.

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Outdoor Team Building in Sanya

If you have visited all of our neighbouring countries and you’re running out of ideas for your retreat, why not consider Sanya? It only takes 3.5 hours to get there from Singapore! Located in the southermost tip of Hainan Province, China’s only tropical island, Sanya has emerged as a popular tourist destination, also serving as the training site of the Chinese national beach volleyball team. Needless to say, this city is definitely ideal for outdoor team building activities (especially at the beach)!

Raft Play!
We conducted this outdoor team building activity at the private bay of Mandarin Oriental Sanya, for a group size of 80+ pax. The participants were divided into 8 teams, each given the task of building one raft with limited resources (i.e. cardboard boxes, tapes, strings) given. Some participants were skeptical of the objective and wondered if the task of supporting two adults on cardboard boxes was possible. The raft needs to float at least 2 persons with oars, from one shoreline to another. However, with only a limited time frame of 1.5 hours, the teams had no time for hesitation and got on to drawing out their plan.

After endless efforts of attaching the carton boxes to one another under the sun, to their surprise, the physically drained-out teams were told to combine their half-done rafts. Upon hearing this, despite being covered in perspiration and reluctance, the participants quickly dragged their rafts closer to each other and discussed on the new structure.

The whistle blew in the midst of decoration work. Leaving behind the rolls of tapes and balls of strings, teams brought their rafts down to the sea to race to get to the other end. Volunteers were mostly ladies, as they were afraid that the heavier men would sink the rafts, which would lead to disqualification. Full of apprehension, the petite men and ladies got on to the rafts and started rowing. Watching the rafts moving smoothly over a distance of at least 5 metres, the other participants standing on the beach, were beaming with both excitement and relief. They did make it after all.

Raft play, is an activity which challenges participants mentally, as well as physically. It encourages good teamwork and planning, quick implementation of ideas and sharing of resources. It is suitable for group sizes ranging from 10 to 300.

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Captain’s Relay
This activity was conducted at the function room of Mandarin Oriental Sanya, but it can also be conducted at the beach area, if you would prefer the companion of the sun, sea and sand. All you need is a large clearing area. You don’t even need to bring along your slippers, if the sand is very soft and friendly to touch. In a sunny island like, Singapore, we always recommend sun block lotion for our participants, change of clothes, as well as lots of water the night before.

Again, in teams, participants would compete against each other in a series of short games. Scores will be computed for every activity to determine the winner, and the winning team is determined by the highest number of points earned.

The assortment of existing activities to choose from are:
(a)   Flip It
(b)   Balloon Raid
(c)   Human Centipede
(d)   Sponge Relay
(e)   Blind Squares
(f)    Ping Pong Panic

The above activities require coordination, teamwork, communication , planning, strategy and  encouragement. We can control how physical the games are by choosing the types of challenges played. Depending on the fitness level of the participants and the weather, ample
breaks will be given. It is suitable for group sizes ranging from 10 to 250.

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Ideas for Team Building

Preparing team building games for adults is not easy, the task has to be complex enough for them to be interested and the rules have to be clear. If you are cracking your head trying to figure out team building ideas for your up coming meeting as an ice breaker or team building activity, here are some ideas that you may consider.

Do note that if you are not experienced in conducting groups activities for adults, do round up a few friends and get them to try it out for you so that you have a good sense of how it will work out and if you need to make any adjustments to the instructions. It will also give you an idea of stuff that you may not think of when preparing for the event.

You may also want to read our article on Optimal approach to organising team building for adults

1. Tallest Tower
The materials required for this indoor team building game is simple – a packet of marsh mallows for each team and disposable wooden skewers (or satay stick as we affectionately call them in South East Asia). The rule is to built the tallest tower with ONLY the given materials in a given time, say 30mins. Teams will be graded based on height and aesthetics.

A similar game can be done by using some sheets from magazines, newspaper and drinking straws as materials.

2. Do You Know…
This activity is great as an indoor team game especially if you have space constraints. Prepare a set of general knowledge questions of varied genre. People love to solve questions. Have some of them in multiple choices and some as “true or false” questions. This will give them a fighting chance even if they have no clue at all about the topic.

If you have new colleagues in the group, you can also find out some interesting facts about them beforehand and include them as questions to the rest of the group. For example, “which of the following people do you think was a president’s scholar?” (then list the new colleagues’ names as multiple choice answers). Or “Who do you think can play the violin?”. Adding these questions will help the group get to know the new colleagues.

You probably need about 20 or so questions for a 30 minutes segment but do prepare a few more in advance, you can always skip them if there is not enough time to finish all the questions.

3. Celebrity Bingo
This activity will require some pre-work. You will need to send out a list of questions to each of the meeting participant and also compile the results and keep them handy so you can mark the answer scripts.

It does like this. You print out questions about individuals in a grid say 9 by 9 or 15 by 15. Participants are suppose to go around the room to try and get the person who is described in the box to sign in that box. This activity will get participants get to know some interesting fact about a few other people and it will get the conversation going. Some questions you may use are, “who keep 2 pet turtles as pets?”, “who stays with his parents?” and “who runs 5km every day”.

The winner is the person who can form the longest connect boxes on the grid either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. You will have to take note that the participants can ONLY sign in the box according to the answers that they have sent to you, or this will not work properly.

4. Back to School Games
Yes, believe it or not, we have conducting “back to school” team building activities for our corporate clients. Here are some ideas for indoor team building if you have an informal group:

a) Paper Toss
I remember an iPhone app called “paper toss” that was top games download for quite a while some time back. I believe at that time it was mostly adults who were playing this game. Real paper toss can be quite interesting if you get the different team members to take turns to toss. You can also have a few levels of difficulty by varying the distance.

b) Chalk Pyramid
Using chalk as material, teams are supposed to build a wall that is as tall as possible in 10mins.

c) Five Stones
This is a classic popular with girls and some boys who like to hangout with girls in primary school. The “five stones” are actually little bean bags in pyramid shape with about 3cm sides. the five stones are stacked nicely and held on the palm of the hand, tossed upwards and balanced on the back of the hand, then toss up a second time to be caught by a downward catch. The score is the number of stones caught.

d) Spot the difference
You can either make your own changes to a selected picture (which can be more interesting if it is a picture of the team). If you wish to make your own changes, you can use graphic editing software like “Paint” or “Adobe Photoshop Elements”, or any other graphic editing tools that comes bundled with your computer or laptop. Do remember save the picture as a new file before you start to edit.

e) Sport Stacking
This sport is also known as cup stacking or speed stacking. Participants will need to and unstack the cups in particular sequences. Using only plastic cups, you could get participants to try their hand at Sport Stacking. The actual competition uses 12 cups but you could do a simplified one that uses maybe only 6 cups. If you are interested in this game, you can find a demo on Youtube easily.

Facilitating team building games takes practice and if you keep doing it, you will get better at it, as with everything else.