If you stopped by Thinker Ventures during the afternoon on July 31, all you found were no lights and a locked door.
We weren’t in a huge client meeting, there were no issues with the building, and it wasn’t a holiday. No. We were in Brodhead, Wisconsin, tearing around the Sugar River Raceway in a team-building exercise.
When a supervisor brings up team building, it usually elicits a few groans and eye-rolls. But research shows that it’s actually one of the best investments a company can make in its people. An effective team-building exercise increases employee engagement, builds collaboration, encourages conflict, mitigates conflict and builds trust.
If you want your day away to play as a team to not feel like a terrible episode of The Office, there are a couple rules to follow:
Go kart racing was the idea of Thinker’s project manager, Jaclyn Kolodziej, who grew up in Wisconsin and was familiar with Sugar River Raceway. I’d suggested kayaking in Galena, Illinois. The go karts were an inspired idea. We spent an afternoon trying to figure out together how to navigate the track more effectively while off the track and running each other into the grass while on the track.
Snack Nation has a list of “39 Insanely Fun Team Building Activities for Work,” and Go Kart Racing was No. 3. Others on the list worth trying – at least ones I’d like to try:
These are some of Snack Nation’s suggestions. There also is paintball or a mini-putting tournament, skydiving indoors or outdoors, or competing as a team in Tough Mudder running races. In some cities, you can find companies that will allow you to repel from skyscrapers.
The key is to find something that’s a little, but not too, exciting – and roll with it.