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Team Building - Activity of the Month
February 2011, Moon Ball
2/1/2011 4:09:22 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

action, competition

There is just something fun about knocking a beach ball around with other people. It is really a natural engager.

You can use that natural attraction for a simple yet powerful team building activity – Moon Ball.
Objective – the objective you give the participants is simple. Challenge them to hit the ball to other member with the goal of obtaining the maximum hits possible without the ball hitting the ground, Arrange the folks with plenty of space so that they can move without running into each other.
  • If in-doors, be cautious about obstacles in the room that might be hazards, or which might be damaged in the exercise.
  • If out-of-doors, select a space free of tripping hazards, etc.
Monitor the dynamics to keep it getting out-of-control, allowing people to do things that might be unsafe. (People do tend to get into this game and the sense of competition sometimes tries to take over.)
Keep tracks of the number of "hits" for each round. Encourage the team to think of ways to improve their process.
Additional challenge – insist that everyone has opportunities to strike the ball. This forces the team to consciously think about how to be inclusive of all members.
Celebrate as records are broken round-to-round.
Processing / debrief:
It is a simple activity, but important lessons can emerge. Cast the net of questions widely at first, beginning with what they actually did in the exercise:
Ask:    How did you begin? 
How were your results?
In what ways were you surprised with your progress?
What things seemed to help you score more?
What things made it difficult?
How did you communicate?
How did you try to make intentional improvement?
How was your sense of competition – trying to break your records?
Turn the corner to work issues.
Ask:     What are areas in your real work where improvements in outcomes are important?
When do things get competitive at work?
What are your thoughts on competition at work?
When is in an asset?
When is it not?

Ask:     What did it take to get everyone included?
How did you accomplish it?
When was it difficult?
Again, turn the corner to work issues.
Ask:     At your work, when is it important to have the whole team engaged and involved?
How do you accomplish that?
Ask:     It seemed like you enjoyed celebrating when you scored a new record. Why?

When is celebration important with work projects?
How do you do that where you work?
March 2010 - Noodle Relay

This is another low-level initiative that can be done just about anywhere. This is a great activity to get a group moving. It does generate a real sense of competition. If you are not wanting the group to compete, you may not want this activity on your agenda. However, if you want to stimulate discussion about the pros and cons of competition, this will definitely set the stage by creating competition. 

The props are simple. Use swimming pool noodles that have been cut to half-length. You need approximately as many half-noodles as you have team members. 
Break the group into team of from five to ten members.
You have probably seen relays where the team members have to move/run together with a balloon sandwiched between every two members. This relay is similar. Rather than the balloon, you use the noodle. I like this for a couple of reasons:
  • Members are a little farther apart, which is safer. There is less chance of people stepping on each others heals and tripping.
  • Members are a little farther apart, which is more comfortable if you have both genders participating in the relay.
 Set up the relay with the following rules/instructions: 
  • The first member goes to the pylon and returns
  • The next leg involves the first member plus a second team member. They must go to the pylon and back while keeping a noodle held between their bodies lengthwise.
  •  No hands are allowed to keep the noodle in place.
  • Each additional leg adds a member and a noodle so that you have a chain of members that are moving with noodles held between their bodies. (Again, no hands are allowed.)
 Obviously, as the length of the chain of team members grows, so does the complexity.
This activity is a lot of fun, but is can also lead to some productive learning and discussion.
  • Pylons or similar markers for you start and finish lines
  • Half-length swimming pool noodles
  • Be concerned with groups trying to run to fast, creating a hazardous situatio
  • You can control group speed with a couple of additional rules if necessary
  • Walking fast is allowed. Running is not allowed.
  • You may not lift your feet from the floor/ground. (This forces team members to slide their feet, preventing running.)
  • Make sure your area is free of tripping hazards.
Teamwork is required
  • How did you organize?
  • How did teamwork evolve as you continued the exercise?
  • How was teamwork important to success?
Competition, both positive and negative, is a great processing topic
  • Describe the sense of competitiveness that occurred.
  • When is competition important in our work?
  • Does competition ever hurt our effort at work?  Describe how
Learning skills together is a great processing possibility
  • How did you learn together as a team?
  • When, in your real work, is learning together important?
  • How can you enhance learning within your team?
Cooperation and support for each other
  • How were your levels of cooperation as you went?
  • How do you build and nurtured cooperation and support in your team?
Communication and developing a successful process
  • Describe your communication processes.
  • How did success in communication help you to create a successful process in the relay?
  • What kinds of communication challenges to you face as a team at work?

This is a fun, yet powerful activity.  It can be done indoors or out. 



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