Do you have FUN at work?

I don’t always have fun at work, in fact, I already know this morning’s tasks will not be fun. I am required to be outside in the early morning, rain or shine, and freeze my bum off while a group of four of us attempt to repair and then deconstruct a giant awning and kiosk. And once it is in pieces transport it via giant box truck to its’ new home. Not my usual cozy morning with coffee and a laptop. I have been dreading this day for weeks. The task will not be fun. What will hopefully be some fun is spending a few hours with 3 people I enjoy being around for their own unique reasons. I really do feel like my co-workers today are a great team, and we will do well at the task mainly because we all want to.  We know each other well and can appreciate that I should probably be the person on the ladder and taking photos, while someone else should be operating the power tools. And it won’t be terribly miserable. Only partially, because of the cold.

If you need a little team boost in knowing what is good, special, and unique about one another, try a Search Party in Portland for your next team building event. Leave knowing who should forever be the group scribe and cheerleader. And have fun while you are at it. Believe me, those are important jobs to have on every team.

Find out more about Search Parties:


Great New Holiday Option: Operation Care Kit

It's already that time of year. Time to plan the company's Holiday Party.

This year, you want it to be fun, but meaningful. Memorable - but not for the bad karaoke or, ahem, those other "incidents" we no longer officially discuss in the office.

You want a way to connect your team together as a group - and connect it to the world at large. A way for your company to be socially responsible - to give back a little.

Why not Operation Care Kit?

Available just in time for the holidays, Operation Care Kit immerses your team into high-energy team-building fun - and gives back to the world in a very special way.

In Operation Care Kit, your teams compete to assemble care packages for men and women serving overseas in uniform, vigilantly defending our freedoms and interests from enemy attack, far from home and family.

Sometimes the troops can feel a little bit forgotten, so far from home. They don't get to spend the holidays or birthdays with their families and friends. They don't get a big Thanksgiving dinner - they get MRE's, harsh conditions, and maybe the occasional letter from home.

Regardless of your point of view on their mission, it's important to remember that going into harm's way wasn't the first choice of our soldiers. They're there because, due to situations out of their control, we need them there.

Let's show them that we remember and appreciate their service on our behalf. Get your office mates together, have a little fun - and make the world a better place.

Operation Care Kit might just be the perfect add-on to this year's company party - one that makes it memorable for good reasons, rather than... (oh, you remember the embarrassing stuff from last year. We don't need to remind you.)


Comfort, Panic, Stretch - the three "zones" of team building

Sometimes games that work well for individuals don't work well for team building.

The reason is that individuals react to certain games differently - and the reaction to the game, before it even starts, can make all the difference.

Outdoor adventure specialist Karl Rohnke once suggested that people react to situations three different ways - Comfort, Stretch, and Panic.

The "Comfort" zone occurs when a game is highly familiar and doesn't require much exercise of either brain or body. On a trivial level, think Tic-Tac-Toe, hopscotch, or Go Fish.

Team building is difficult in the "comfort" zone because the team is given no challenge, nothing to overcome - nothing to bond them. Ho-hum, let's move on.

The "Panic" zone occurs when a game is well out of reach of many - or, at least, feels that way. High levels of skill are required that are not common, or individuals feel confronted with the risk of bodily harm. Even if no physical danger is present, the game risks emotional trauma to the least prepared. Zip lines, go kart races, and rope courses fall into this category.

Team building cannot occur in the "panic" zone because individuals are too consumed with self-preservation. There is no reach-out, no room for self-sacrifice.

The Stretch ZoneThe "Stretch" zone contains some elements of familiarity and other elements of the unknown. The unknown elements can be solved by tools, skills and knowledge readily on hand by most members of a group. Puzzles, riddles, and search games fall into this category.

Teambuilding is optimized in the "Stretch" zone because the team is presented with challenges during which they feel both comfortable and rewarded with reaching out to assist each other and do not feel they are placed at personal risk for doing so. Any particular skill not possessed by one will most likely be mastered by another. Moreover, even team failure on any one count does not spell disaster. But successes built by mutual dependence reinforce strong team behavior.

Reference:  "Why Good Games Fail,"


Where do you build your team? Three consideratoins

Where do you build your team?

In your office, with ringing phones and pinging laptops? In a bowling alley? Suspended by cables over whitewater rapids?

How can you improve communication, trust, rapport, and esprit de corps with all those distractions pulling focus away from team bonding?

We suggest instead that team building works best when:

  1. The environment keeps the focus on building your team rather than the next deadline, the next pitcher of pale fizzy lager, or surviving a 500 foot fall
  2. The activity keeps teams focused on and communicating with each other rather than responding to client emails, picking up the next spare or wondering if the cable will hold
  3. The activity is fun for everyone, not just the guy most adept at picking up the 7-10 split or the gal who can rappel sheer cliffs blindfolded… or no one at all

Keep this in mind when you’re searching for ideas for your next team outing.


Team Dynamics That Get Results

Team dynamics is the constant sharing and movement of information and power to achieve a common goal and are influenced by many factors. It is the motivating and driving forces that propel a team toward its goal and mission and to complete an assignment or task. Here are a few team dynamics that get results:

  • identify a leader as teams must have leadership
  • determine roles and responsibilities for each member of the team
  • define goals and objectives
  • create an agenda and procedures to manage time
  • determine needs and necessary tools to complete tasks
  • resolve conflict efficiently and quickly

As a manager,  the more you know about a team's dynamics, the better chance you have of helping them work effectively toward team goals.


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