Team Building. There are literally over 200 games designed for ice breakers for your team to get to know one another. Do you remember anything about the people you work with that you learned during an “ice breaker” exercise? Be honest. I’ll honestly tell you I don’t, and I’ve played these types of games for more than 30 years.
What I do remember are the stories over lunch or at happy hour or the incidental things that occurred during work sessions — the late-night ones especially.
That is why organic interactions build stronger relationships. Think about it. Organic anything equals higher quality. Just look around — produce, clothing, even search engine optimization all yields a better- quality end product — higher nutritive value, breathability/allergy reduction and the admiration of bots respectively.
With the trend toward remote teams, most of your team already knows each other at the cursory level that ice breakers are designed to manifest. Why not use this opportunity to create company culture in a virtual environment?
- Happy Hour
Use that telecon for something fun. Grab some pretzels and the beverage of your choice and just talk to each other about anything other than work. It isn’t a business meeting. Do virtual office tours so you see vacation pics on each other’s desks and that cute painted rock from a co-worker’s child.
- The Team Built Story
This is an easy, progressive option. Start with a sentence on a topic of your choosing then list all the team members in random order in an email. We do find time zone consideration helpful. Sequentially, each team member adds a sentence or two to the base story line then forwards it to the next person on the list to add their contribution.
The most memorable at Vizion was our Ode to Oreos. On the anniversary of Oreo’s invention, we each added a line about a different type or way of consuming an Oreo. It was fun and very telling about the people on the team. Mostly, it just made us all smile.
- Share pics celebrating weird holidays
Every day there is something being celebrated — bacon, sea turtles, awareness of something. Checkiday.com is a great source for finding important and just plain fun things to celebrate. Turn that into a selfie fest and enjoy the ensuing banter. Please keep in mind these pics may show up in a future activity.
- Daily Sharing
Start a daily sharing of something positive and have each team member assigned a day to contribute. Some ideas to consider: gratitude, music theme, your favorite ________. There is a bevy of options. The key is that it is a quick thing to be involved in so as not to disrupt workflow, but to let everyone know they are part of something bigger than their desk and computer.
- Beat This!
Nothing says team like a good competition. People will compete over most anything. All you need to start this is the phrase, “This is the best ________________ ever.” Recently, we had a competition about the best scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It ended rather quickly as we reached consensus on the first try, but we have all worked together for a bit and can be symbiotic without trying. When it comes to music, we are more competitive.
Each of these activities works toward building memories rather than memorizing facts. Memories are what relationships and history are made of because they have emotion attached to them. When you attach an emotion to an activity and/or event, it is a more solid place on which to build.