Team Building Tips for Success

Earlier I wrote about our experience with Corporate Champions Vancouver and how it’s helped us to become better teammates at work. Click to read We Are The Champions! A Teamwork Success Story.

I thought I’d share some more specific ideas about factors to consider when embarking on your own team challenges.

Creation
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-!
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! The Outline.
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! (Can you see it yet?)
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-!  Here We Are!
C-R-E-A-T-I-O-N-! Here We Are!

In The Beginning: Team Success Tips from Year 1

In our first year, we had decent participation, some good teambuilding, and some great times together. My recommendations for when you’re starting out are…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!!

We should have practiced more as a team.

It wasn’t so much that we needed to have practiced more to win (although that’s true too), it’s more that additional practice would have brought us closer together, forming new bonds as teammates and enabling us to identify more as a unit.

2. Consider Lifestyle

We should have thought more carefully about the events we chose.

We were so excited to get going with the program that we didn’t really weigh all our options. It sounds obvious, but if one of your goals is participation, it’s so important to consider your people and the multiple facets of their lives outside work.

The way Corporate Champions is set up, there are opportunities to enter your company teams in a number of different sporting activities – basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc.

When we made our selections, we were thinking about participation in the sense that we tried to pick the sports that the majority of people would enjoy, and where as many people as possible could participate.

What we also should have considered are factors, like:

  • The venues available to us to practice each sport
  • The times of day the events would take place
  • The days of the week the events would take place

As we discovered, these ‘lifestyle’ factors have great impact on participation levels.

Examples of some important questions to ask yourselves as part of an organizing team:

  • How many of your people have kids?
  • Do they need to be picked up after school, and do they have weekend commitments that involve their parents?
Creation Sports
Creation BC Soccer, Table Tennis and Volleyball teams hard at work.

Rolling Right Along: Team Success Tips from Year 2

In our second year, more people signed up and we saw even better teambuilding, even amongst people who don’t usually work together. The additional people enrolled and the familiarity with the events added a level of comfort and engagement that made this possible. And we definitely had fun. All I really have to say about keeping things going is that you should…

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!See the tip from Year 1 above… We still needed to practice some more!

Coming Together: Team Success Tips from Year 3

It’s June 2012 and we’ve just wrapped up our third year…our most successful year so far.

The number of participants doubled from last year. For some newcomers, this was their first time participating in any Creation event!

Part of the kudos has to go to CCV for including new sports like badminton and table tennis in their selection, increasing the variety of interests represented. But we’d learned from our first two years. Here are the lessons we learned:

1. Encourage LeadershipThis year we established team captains for each of our different sports. Our captains took on the responsibility of scheduling practices and motivating their teams.

2. Be Accomodating

We tried as best we could to be considerate of people’s personal schedules, with some practices during business hours and some after. We were also proactive in helping people remember to coordinate activities – we sent out emails and put up posters detailing events and timetables.

Creation Corporate Champions
We Are Creation Technologies!

3. Unite Under One Banner!

There’s a reason that the team uniform and brand indentity figures prominently in sports psychology. It’s an important element in forming team cohesion.

We ordered team jerseys with our company logo.

We decided on a theme – to be the best we can be, while having fun!

As a team, it’s very powerful when you can rally behind one common goal, and know that your teammates will be there to support you.

What have been your best experiences competing together as part of a team? What did you learn, or how were you changed afterward?

We Are The Champions! A Teamwork Success Story

We Are The Champions
Champions at Last! The Creation—BC Ping Pong Team celebrating their victory

As a company Creation has always believed in the importance of both engagement and teamwork, and know that there’s a big connection between the two.

As part of the People & Culture team, I’m always looking for ways to get people to feel connected to Creation, to each other, to our performance results, and so on. We need to know, is our philosophy of “work hard, play hard” alive and vibrant?

A few years back, I got a call from Corporate Champions Vancouver. At the time, we were looking for creative ways to enhance our Wellness program in BC…and still are, by the way, if anyone has any good ideas!

They’re a company that, (from their website):

“…hosts sporting events and tournaments that focus on team building and employee engagement while providing opportunities to connect and network. Our mandate is to help organizations big and small benefit from the power of sport.”

Sounds great, right?

I really liked Corporate Champions’ mandate to get companies to realize how they can benefit from the power of sport – something that can often be overlooked in a corporate setting. This program looked like it could fulfill our needs on a number of levels – health and wellness, engagement and teamwork.

Another big draw was that I got the call shortly after the exhilarating Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Like so many people, I’d been inspired by watching the athletes and their determination and ability. The thought of taking home a “gold medal” was too tempting to resist!

We decided to take the plunge. We entered into the Corporate Champions Vancouver Summer Games, a tournament that today has 35 companies and over 1,300 participants competing.

 

Creation Technologies & Corporate Champions Vancouver Summer Games 2012

The program has really enabled us to come together as a team, helping us build trust, forge stronger relationships, and form cohesive teams.

This was our third year participating in the Games, and it’s been our best year yet. The events just wrapped up last weekend, and we’re really proud of our accomplishments.

We achieved competitive success, placing in the top 3 teams in 3 of the sports we joined.

More importantly, we also achieved pride in ourselves and teambuilding success.

Being Good Sports
Being Good Sports: One of our Creation—BC soccer teams hard at play

It’s been great seeing people come to work wearing their medals, or seeing them hanging proudly at their workstations. I’ve loved listening to everyone share their stories and hear what a great time people had at the games this year.

Returning to the question of whether our “work hard, play hard” mindset is alive and vibrant, the answer’s yes!

We’re really looking forward to next year! Maybe we should start practicing now…


Are you in a leadership role, looking for ways to engage your people?

Or are you part of a team, and looking for ways to build relationships to make it stronger?

Or maybe you just want to have some fun at work!

Here are some things to think about as you consider team challenge activities.

 

Tip #1: Tie the events into your day-to-day programs and initiatives.

Whether it be wellness, health & safety or teambuilding activities, use programs you already have in place as the foundation for a team challenge. Build on the initial theme as a motivator, and tie in the competitive aspect.

Tip #2: Ask the experts.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to team challenges.

Consider partnering with a company like Corporate Champion Vancouver or any organization that has a simple approach to building a team. Their core expertise is in developing programs and events that provide a positive experience, and most often these organizations have optimized a model that works for a broad number of people.

Partnering externally also provides your people an opportunity to network and interact with others outside the organization, which can be a great learning experience and a way to make new friends.

Tip #3: Get aligned.

Like with any new program, you’ll want to evaluate how impactful it will be for your team, whether you have the budget, and one of the biggest questions – will people actually participate?

Pat On The Back
Pat On The Back: Members of our Creation—BC Bowling Team prepping for the next round!

Just make sure that the activities and any partner organizations align with your company’s culture, and that the environment is always encouraging and fun!

The advantage of using sport or any other universal language to get people to rally behind a goal is that it’s a great bridge between people of different ages, cultures, demographics, genders, and roles within the company.


What kinds of team building activities have you organized or taken part in? What have you liked, and what have you disliked? What tips can you give to a company looking to participate in their own team challenges?

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