In this article, we are going to share with you some tips and pointers that will help you in planning your next team building event. Planning forms a vital part in the overall success of a team building event, and we will guide you through a couple of points that need to be considered when the event is in the planning phase. We will look at issues such as the objectives of the event, the participants, time frames, budgets, location, selecting teams, choosing a theme and assessment of the success of an event.
What is the objective of the team building event?
It is essential to clearly establish the objectives for your team building event right from the start. Ask yourself why is your company doing team building and what is the company hoping to accomplish with the event? What are the expectations of the participants? Make sure that everybody has the same goal in mind from the outset. The following are some possible objectives:
- Breaking down barriers
- Identifying leadership qualities
- Improving communication and teamwork
- Highlighting diversity and honing specific skills within a team
- Promoting professional business relationships
- Creating respect for different personalities and cultures
- Identifying the dynamics and behaviour traits of high performing teams
- Identify current strengths and weaknesses of your teams
In order to successfully plan a team building event any current strengths and weaknesses of the participating teams need to be considered. Find out if there is unresolved conflicts between certain people or is there certain groups of people who need to get to know each other better. Is there members who tend to focus on their own achievements or is there members who are opposed to change? Consider whether there are issues of poor communication within the company and does the company need an overall morale boost.
Profiles of team members
Next you need to take a look at the profiles of the team members who will be attending the team building event. Things such as age range, gender mix and backgrounds of participants should be considered in planning the event. The team building activities at the event has to be suitable for all the team members and issues such as the physical condition and dietary requirements of participants need to be taken into consideration.
What is the budget?
The budget available for the team building event will have a strong influence on your choice of venue, food and beverage as well as the duration of the event and the type of event that you are planning. It is, therefore, very crucial for you to get an indication of the budget at a decidedly early stage of planning. The size of the budget will dictate whether all aspects of the team building will have to be handled in-house or if it will be possible to outsource some or all of the elements of the event. If it all possible, it is advisable to outsource the team building facilitation component of the event as you would like all your colleagues to be available to participate in the event. An established team building company will have the experience of knowing what works and what does not.
Time Frame of Event
Here, you need to find out when the event will take place and the length of the event. A decision will have to be made whether the event will take place in working hours or over a weekend or public holiday. When looking at a date outside working hours, the family commitments of participants need to be taken in to consideration. Furthermore, you will need to decide whether it will be a full day or half day event, or will the event take place over a 2 or 3 days.
Likes and dislikes of participants
When planning the team building activities of the event you have to take the likes and dislikes of the participants in to consideration. What do the team members prefer doing, are they the indoor kind or the outdoor adventurous types or a mixture of the two? This information can be collected by taking polls among the team members or by looking at past team building activities.
Choosing a venue for the event
Getting the right venue for your team building event is crucial as this can have a powerful effect on the atmosphere of the event. When looking for a venue you also need to consider the accessibility of the venue as well as the set-up and layout. Find out if the venue has any contingency plans for adverse weather in case of outdoor events.
When you look at selecting teams for the event consider mixing departments, geographical regions, management levels or placing people that do not get on well together in one team. It is also a good opportunity to identify leadership qualities by giving junior members leadership roles. Alternatively you can leave it up to the facilitators to select the teams on the day of the event; the facilitator will monitor the participants before the event to see where he can break up existing groups.
Choosing a theme
Make your event interesting by choosing a theme for it. Your venue, organisers, activities and music can then be chosen to complement this theme. Your content and objectives can be driven by this theme. For example, an archery event can be planned along with the theme of “hitting the target”, emphasising the importance of accuracy and correct decision making.
Assessing the success of the event
In order for a team building event to be considered successful there has to be some way to measure the success of the event. When planning your event it is essential to know how are going to measure this. Will the event be successful because it was enjoyable or because people got to know each other better? Feedback forms, surveys and observation reports are some of the effective ways to measure the success of the team building event.
Make sure your team building event is a success by giving yourself enough time to plan for it. For a small to medium size event of up to 80 participants, two to three months should be enough, but you will need to give yourself up to six months to plan for events for over 80 participants. Make sure there is a healthy balance between fun and learning; team building should never be just about fun but should also not be overly serious.