Increasing the cohesion and problem-solving abilities of your team is crucial for the upkeep of morale, and for the long-term benefit of your organisation. Team-building exercises help to foster loyalty to both a team and a manager, and are also just a great way to take work away from the office, and the office away from work!
With this in mind, we at Mad Max Adventures have created what we call the SPIRE method. It’s our cast-iron method for building a great team, and will ensure that your corporate team-building adventure results in an improved working culture and, more importantly, a good time.
What is the SPIRE method?
The SPIRE method is our five point plan for building a great team-building event and for fostering a good culture of morale. It works, unsurprisingly, on the basis of five principles.
- Setting the tone,
- Planning your objectives,
- Involving everyone,
- Reaching for new goals,
- Ending on a High.
Setting the Tone
The tone of your corporate activity is absolutely vital. Let’s be clear: if your team don’t know why they’re there, or what the objectives are, or how they are going to reach them, then there is no way that your team-building event will be effective. There are probably many different approaches you can take to a corporate away day, but for the purposes of this method, we are going to look at two major components of team building.
‘Problem solving’ team building
Problem solving should be the trademark of any great team, and it’s really important to cultivate this skill in all of the members of your organisation. It goes without saying that problem solving together fosters a great sense of commonality and can strengthens bonds which can then be transferred back into the workplace. Problem solving also engenders creativity, and makes employees think in a more lateral way than they may do in a normal working environment.
‘Fun’ team building
Creating a fun environment is arguably the second most important facet of any team-building exercise. As you will see from the examples below, the use of fun and play can mean that the mind gets a break, and has the chance to see things from a new perspective. Ultimately, a sense of fun breaks down barriers, differences and hierarchies and ensures that, even if it’s for a short period of time, everyone is on the same playing field.
Planning your objectives
What do you want to do?
If your corporate away day doesn’t have a clearly delineated goal, then what’s the point in having it? Words like “team-work” and “strategy” will quickly come to have very little meaning if you haven’t got a objective. You need to make sure your goals can also be realistically achieved in the time you’ve set aside for your retreat. It’s hopefully common sense to point out that if the time you’ve appointed to spend at your corporate retreat is not enough to accommodate your list of objectives, then your list needs trimming.
Who do you want to invite?
Your goal should therefore drive your invitation list. For example, if you want to run a day where you are fostering greater understanding of how different departments work, then you will need to invite people from all departments.
If you have successfully planned the objectives of your corporate away day, then the next step is to ensure that everyone else knows the objectives, and to make sure they are encouraged to involve themselves in all the activities.
Involve ‘Peripheral’ players
As we discussed in the previous section, the best way to get the best out of your day is to involve as many departments and employees as is necessary to ensure a collaborative environment. If you want the best facilitators for your corporate away day, is there anyone else from other parts of your organisation that you can recruit?
Involve your team
This might seem like the most obvious point, but it is surprising how many organisations can end up forgetting it when it comes to team-building and team building activities. People will be more emotionally invested in a process that they own. If they have a vested interest in developing their own learning, then your team are more likely to enjoy the resulting activities. Team games are a great resource, especially if you remember the key principles that they should always reflect your company’s culture.
Reaching for new goals
Everyone will go into a team-building event with ideas about what they want to get out of it and how they think it will benefit them. It is important that a team-building event keeps everyone evaluating why they are there and what they want from an event. If the lessons of the team-building exercise are to be carried back into the working world, then your event needs to be one where evaluation is constantly taking place.
Some questions to ask as you attempt to use the findings of your away day to move forward.
- What have we learned?
- Does our team share the same objectives going forward?
- What can we take from this event that could serve us in the long-term?
Encourage a culture where people try to apply what they have learned on the away day. Ideas can include writing down a list of objectives or new behaviours. Ask employees to write little postcards to their “future selves”.
End on a high
The final step is to get your employees in a position wherein they feel like they can confide in each other, and feedback on their day. Ending your team building day on a high can include any number of different things.
- Rewarding the organisers – a lovely thoughtful gift to say thank you to everyone who has organised the event will always be appreciated. Make sure it is a public presentation at the end of the event.
- Use photographs and video to make sure there is a visual record of the day
- Take everyone out for a drink, or a meal to end the team-building event and consolidate the gains that have been made over the course of your time together. End on a relaxed and informal note.
The SPIRE method is our way of covering all the fundamentals of your team building event. If you want to make sure that you are really looking after everyone within your organisation and creating a more cohesive working environment, then you need to make sure that everyone has a voice, everyone can have fun, and everyone has a goal to take back to work with them.
Good luck, and happy team building!