Let’s have a little bit of fun today. Those of you in the office aren’t likely excited about being there anyway, so why not brighten things up a bit?
Gather your team together and try a team building activity or two. They’re fun, and your team will be learning to work together without even realizing it!
The helium stick exercise is one of my favorites. Gather your team put them in two lines facing each other. Have them hold out their arms and extend their index fingers. Take a lightweight rod (wood or metal is fine) and place it across their extended index fingers.
The trick is to get the team to work together to move the stick from the horizontal to vertical position and then lower it to the ground. They must do so without anyone ever removing their fingers from the rod. For some reason, most groups participating in this exercise tend to raise the stick before they lower it. Make sure to point out this trick if it occurs. If anyone moves their finger (or adds extra fingers) from the stick the game has to start over again!
This is a true trust exercise. Take some of the old fashioned spring-load mouse traps and set them on a table. Participants will work in teams of two. One person must be blindfolded and extend his open hand. The other team member (aka the coach) will lower the blindfolded person’s hand until it is hover one inch above the set mouse trap.
Once the hand is in position the coach will count down from three to one, at which point the blindfolded person must very quickly slam his hand down on top of the mouse trap. If he slams his hand quickly the mousetrap won’t be able to snap because the hand is holding it down. Remove the blindfold and allow the individual to see he is not hurt. Just as quickly as he slammed the mousetrap he should raise his hand. The mousetrap will snap and he’ll be free and clear.
Don’t participate in any trust or team building exercises your team isn’t ready for. If they’re grumbling, complaining, or showing a lack of willingness to participate it might be best to avoid games like Mouse Trap and lean towards safer alternatives.
Always end on a positive note and let your employees feel good about what they’ve accomplished. Make sure there is open dialogue and that they have an opportunity to discuss what they’ve learned.
Otherwise, just relax and have some fun!
Originally published: 26 December, 2008
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