Collaboration. Along with communication, it’s one of the most important aspects of any productive team. And what’s another common word for collaboration? Teamwork! If everyone on your team isn’t on the same page and working together, it’s not really much of a team, is it?
According to a Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, “Working together and having multifaceted perspectives trumps working alone and often leads to idea propagation.” As one participant in the study put it, “Collaboration is the bundling of experiences. Sharing expertise and being able to leverage the experience of many people gives you diversity and different views. It sums up to more than if you do it on your own.”
In layman’s terms, collaboration is one of the building blocks of success.
“The importance of teamwork is essential in today’s multidisciplinary world,” writes Shada Wehbe. “The need for effective teamwork is critical for any business.”
So, how do you improve teamwork? How do you make sure your team is working together cohesively? How do you foster better collaboration?
Play Helps Drive Collaboration
Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks must have never tried making learning fun. Play is an excellent way to drive lasting change, especially amongst adult learners.
“Play has been found to speed up learning,” says Lynn Barnett, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s also been shown to play (no pun intended) an “essential role in building strong, healthy relationships by bringing people closer together, creating a positive bond, and resolving conflict and disagreements,” writes Lawrence Robinson; Melinda Smith, M.A.; Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.; and Jennifer Shubin.
This is why we believe in making all of our team building programs F-U-N.
Fun Team Building Exercises That Foster Collaboration
“High-functioning teams are what make high-performing companies click,” writes Judith A. Ross, Harvard Business Review.
Our team building programs will help your group learn more about themselves and how to work better as a team. We service the Maryland, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas and can travel out of state as well. We offer both indoor and outdoor options.
Below are a few of our favorite collaboration-boosting team building exercises that get participants out of their comfort zone and into their grow zone. This is when meaningful, lasting change really takes place.
Team members must work together to form – you guessed it – a pipeline. But it is easier said than done. This team building exercise requires a tremendous amount of communication and teamwork, especially for larger groups. The group sets a goal for how many attempts it will take and there is a risk reward tradeoff for achieving goal with fewer attempts.
Brian Gehrdes, Senior Facilitator, runs this program when his group wants to work on collaboration: “Pipeline is great for taking a broad objective and breaking it down into smaller parts so that each team member plays an integral and individual role working towards the solution. It takes each person playing his part just right to reach the end!”
One of our favorite team building exercises – Triangle Traverse – also happens to be one of the best at fostering communication and collaboration as participants use team support to negotiate a wobbly wire. The below videos demonstrate just how much teamwork is required to conquer these exercises.
The High Ropes Challenge Course
While not always a part of our team building programs, the high ropes course can be a tremendous driver of change.
According to researcher Penny Johnson in her article “Four Steps to Effective Collaboration,” it is on the challenge course where “effective collaboration truly occurs.” Participants are “committed to the success of the group” and decisions are made through “open discussions and disagreements are handled openly as a group.” This leads to greater collaboration and, thus, greater teamwork.
One way that we like to use the high ropes course to help drive home this idea of teamwork even further is to handcuff or blindfold participants (or both, as seen below). Now, you’ve added an additional element of communication, collaboration, and trust.
Reach Your Goals
In this exercise, team members must assist each other to reach their goals. In this case, an object placed on the floor. The catch – once a method has been used, it cannot be repeated. How will your team work together to solve this increasingly difficult obstacle? How will you Reach Your Goals?
Schedule Your Team Building Adventure
“Team building is the most important investment you can make for your people,” says Brian Scudamore, O2E Brands founder and CEO.
Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a truly customized team building program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help improve communication, build trust, and better collaboration within your team. We make team building engaging, meaningful and fun! Each exercise is led by one of our experienced facilitators, who will not only help guide your experience, but also tie the lessons back into the workplace.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventures at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.