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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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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Synergy Race

Synergy Race – the flagship “Amazing Race” type team building activity by änergy

There is something about the age-old game of “treasure hunt”, that compels people to move from one location to another, to “hunt” for a certain item, thereby completing a task.

The American broadcasting television network, CBS certainly knows a thing or two about this thrill, as they have made that childhood game into a reality TV series, popularly known as The Amazing Race. Currently at 22 seasons, and counting, this is one game that builds on the excitement of hunting, doing activities and completing a race.

Many variations have spunned out from this interactive game, and various countries have adopted it and localised the activity for themselves. In the team building community, this is one of our flagship programs, where we have done 400+ races and counting for the past 10 years.

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While the concept is similar to the TV show, over here at änergy, the activites are not as death-defying as walking across a tightrope, swimming with crocodlies…or was that from Fear Factor? But to encourage team work and a sense of achievement, we have come up with activities that promotes participation from the team, which are mid-intensity and is suitable for anyone who is able to go to work on a daily basis. Meaning, if going to work is the most physical activity that you do on a regular basis, then the Synergy Race is for you and your colleagues!

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Over the past 10 years, we have re-worked this team building activity and have customized races to suit our client’s needs and objectives. One example, is incorporating cultural elements to the race, which is a popular choice for companies who have visiting counterparts from other countries. Not only will the foreign participants get to sight-see in the midst of the race, there are cultural activities such as consuming a local snack, playing a local game, singing a local song that they can do to get a glimpse of local cultures in whichever country the race is held in.

Regardless of the weather, except when there are lightning flashes and howling winds, the activity  can still be carried out, as the stations will be located at sheltered areas and each person will be given a piece of poncho each to keep dry. Of course, we have seen participants dashing through the rain in enthusiasm as nothing could deter them from completing the race.

The Synergy Race program is suitable for groups as small as 10 pax or less, to as large a group as 200 pax. Do enquire with us to find out more! write to us at enquiryATsingaporeteambuildingDOTcom.

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Ultimate Roadster

Ultimate Roadster

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A sports car?  A go-kart? A swanky sedan? It’s all up to your imagination when it comes to our Ultimate Roadster teambuilding activity. Employing the use of ordinary materials such as carton boxes, teams are given the task to construct from scratch a really mobile kart!

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Recently, this team building activity was conducted in Xiamen, China for a group of 300+ pax. The event was held indoors, and a large ballroom was cleared of furniture to accommodate the activity. It was a blast as the event kicked off with mass games, and the whole group of 300+ were divided up into 3 smaller groups and the atmosphere was electric as competition abounded with cheers and applause and some playful jeering at each other filled the air.

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When the Ultimate Roadster activity was introduced, everyone was listening intently to the instructions, and once the materials were given out, the task was underway! Over a course of 2 hrs, the task was further challenged when surprise tasks were introduced to up the excitement and to bring the teams beyond what they thought they could achieve initially.

When all was taped down and secured, the karts were ready to go and a mini race-track was created in the middle of the ballroom for the Ultimate Roadster race! Teams revved up their engines with their legs, and once the horn was sounded, the karts ploughed through the room and the fastest kart emerged victorious!

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Ultimate Roadster, a structure building activity that encourages teams to strategize, plan and build towards a common goal together, is one team building activity that can be done indoors, or outdoors with a large clearing space. This activity is suitable for groups as small as 10 pax and as large as 300 pax.

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.