Team Building Is a Challenge With Regular Meetings
Training sessions and team building activities that involve and engage attendees are a challenge when your group meets regularly. Your participants have different levels of knowledge and need. Additionally, management team members have different numbers of reporting staff members and the professionalism and experience of their reporting employees ranges widely.
Yet, for team building and training, regular meetings ensure that the employees will transfer the training information or the sense of team to the workplace. Regular meetings also ensure that efforts to apply the training are reviewed and shared. They also build a cohesive sense of belonging to a team in the minds of your participants.
A Team Building Activity Enables Participants to Share Experience and Knowledge
Here's a simple team-building activity that creates excitement during a regularly scheduled team building and training session. This team-building activity allows your participants to share their accumulated knowledge and wisdom with the other participants. During this team building activity, the facilitator steps aside and the participants take center stage with their knowledge and expertise.
With a group of twenty-four, this team building activity will take approximately an hour and a half. So, this team building activity works well as the focus of a single team building session that is part of a regularly scheduled meeting or as a stand-alone team building session.
This team-building activity is also useful as a part of a day-long or multiple-day team building event when it is used in combination with other discussions, activities, and ice breakers.
This team-building activity is appropriate as the main event in a team-building session that lasts a couple of hours.
If your group is smaller than the example, you can adjust your length of time figures down depending on the number of participants.
Steps in Sharing Management Wisdom: A Team Building Activity
1. Divide the meeting participants into groups of four people. For this team building activity, you will want to assign groups based on years of management experience. This will allow you to have team members with various years of management experience participating in each group. So, start by asking your participants to raise their hands if they have more than ten years of management experience. Assign each of these participants to their own table.
If you have more than you need to divide the meeting attendees into groups of four, place the manager who has the least experience at the table with the manager who has the most. Then, ask how many participants have five or more years of experience managing people and assign them to the tables of the more experienced managers.
Finally, ask how many managers have fewer than five years of experience and assign them to the groups with the more experienced managers. This method of assigning participants to groups so that you create various levels of experience within each group is integral to the success of this team building activity.
Do not use a numbering off method or a self-selection method to organize these groups; your results will suffer from the lack of diversity. Indeed, if you know the attendees, as you assign by levels of experience, avoid putting departmental coworkers in the same group.
2. Tell the newly formed groups that their assignment is to look back over their work careers and determine the ten most important pieces of wisdom they have learned about managing people.
The following example is from the author's accumulated knowledge gained while running team building activities: Don't ever expect any individual to wholeheartedly support and own any way of doing things that he or she had no part in creating or developing. At best, you will only obtain buy-in. Use this example or pull an example from your own accumulated wisdom, but do share an example.
3. Provide the time needed by the participants to think about and jot down ideas before you ask them to share their wisdom with their small group. Coming up with ten pieces of knowledge, that group members want to share and feel comfortable sharing, generally, takes twenty to thirty minutes. You will know when most participants are ready for the next step when the level of noise in the room increases as participants chat with each other.
Once participants have had a chance to think about their accumulated wisdom, ask them to share them with their small group. You will want to ask that each person share one at a time. They share their first; then, each person shares their second, and then, each shares their third. Tell the small group members to look for common themes and similarities in the pieces of wisdom shared.
Tell the groups that each person will be asked to share several of their words of wisdom with the whole large group upon completion of the small group exercise if they are comfortable doing so.
4. Debrief the team building activity by asking the group how they reacted to the words of wisdom, both telling their own and hearing those of coworkers. What commonalities and differences struck them during the team building activity?
Continue to debrief the activity by asking the large group whether participants noticed themes in the wisdom shared. When the discussion is finished, ask the participants if they have anything they'd like to add to the discussion before moving on with the rest of the session or ending the team building session.
Variations for Sharing Wisdom: A Team Building Activity
You can assign non-management or mixed groups to come up with various types of wisdom gleaned through working. An example might be: Come up with the ten most important pieces of wisdom you've learned about how to work effectively with people.
A second example: Come up with the ten most important factors you've learned about working effectively with their boss, or any boss.
Finally, you can reduce the amount of time required for this team building activity by reducing the number of pieces of wisdom the group needs to come up with to share. Don't ask for less than three though, for an effective team building session. If you do reduce the team building activity by this number you may want to give the assignment as: think about your career and be prepared to share your three most important pieces of management wisdom.