Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at Run Brain Run! Best wishes to all and hope that tomorrow marks the start to a wonderful holiday season.


Why Team Building?

Event planners, managers, facilitators, or anyone else involved in planning a team building event inevitably face the question asked by C-level execs, comptrollers, or stakeholders:  “Why do team building? What are the benefits, and is it worth the time and money we spend?”

Over the next several weeks, I’ll address this question in a series of blogs focused on the benefits of team building. This week’s blog introduces the topic and gives an overview of the type of benefits we’ll explore in coming entries.

What is team building?

Team building is the process by which individuals in an organization or group learn to work together - as a team - toward a common goal. The key elements of team building are:

  • There is a group of individuals who wish to work together as a team
  • Some aspects of hoped-for teamwork are missing or below expectations of one or more members of the group

Team building goes by many names. Besides team building you might see references to team bonding, morale building, staff cohesiveness, organization building, and many other names. But it all amounts to the same thing:  getting people to work together better than they did before.

Benefits of team building

Team building can provide many benefits, depending on the type of activity you choose and the characteristics of a given group. Matching the type of activity to the group’s needs and background is key to the success of the event. Team composition, size, history, purpose, and current ability to work together all factor in to the type of team building activities that would be optimal for the group.

(Note that highly dysfunctional teams, such as teams that have experienced severe trauma, extensive downsizing, work place violence or harassment may not be ready for team building. In such cases, counseling for highly affected individuals may be a better initial strategy.)

Nearly all team building activities strive to deliver at least some of the following benefits:

  • Improved morale.
  • Better communication
  • Increased staff participation in organization activities
  • Empowers staff to take initiative and make decisions
  • Increased sense of ownership
  • Better team unity/cohesiveness
  • Reduced conflict and better conflict management
  • Trust
  • Increased productivity

Next week:  How Team Building Improves Morale


Rewarded and Revived

Our Freewheel game is rewarding enough as is. There's nary a dry eye in the house when the kids roll away on their own bikes, but now our customer, their guests and our team have been rewarded and revived again when we got this large thank you from the Boys & Girls Club.

Thank You Card from the Boys & Girls Club

You're welcome, kids! Enjoy the bikes.


Great Game at the Market

Great Search Party game yesterday at Pike Place Market with some of the wonderful folks of Starbucks. Our big discovery... not as easy as you might think to get a job application in downtown Seattle. Thanks again to all the teams yesterday for giving their all!


CSR: The Joy of Giving

People often ask me, “Why do you love team building so much?”

My answers vary and often include:

  • It’s fun
  • It’s both creative and analytical, allowing me to use both (left and right) sides of my brain
  • It’s people-oriented
  • It’s gratifying to help organizations work together and communicate better
  • It beats digging ditches, flipping burgers, mopping floors and picking crops (and I can attest personally to each of those)
  • The pay is awesome... er, better than digging ditches, etc. etc.

But all of those reasons pale in comparison to the joy experienced at a CSR event.

Case in point:  a few weeks ago, we conducted a Freewheel event for a fairly large group - over 200 senior staff and managers from around the world competing to build 22 bikes.

For over four hours these intermingled groups patched and inflated tires (not the ones deployed on the bikes, thank goodness), attached seats and wheels and safety lights, tightened and tested and adjusted fittings.

We threw in enough silly side activities (things like balloon hats and team cheers) to get the entire group laughing while competing like Olympic athletes. The bike, it seemed, was just an excuse to give them some tangible task to complete, a physical representation of their day’s effort.

We announced the competition’s winners, and the participants all contributed good-sportsmanlike applause. Good for them, good for us, we’re a team now.

Then came the surprise.

We brought in 22 children. One per bike.

No, they hadn’t been told they were getting bikes.

No, the participants hadn’t been told that they would get to meet the beneficiaries of their day’s labor. That they’d get to help adjust the seats and handlebars to fit that child, to attach the helmet to that child’s head and give them their first push on the child’s maiden ride on their very first new bike.

The look of surprise on the participants’ faces was surpassed only by the joy on the faces of the children.

There is no sweeter moment - and no better reason to do team building.


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