Team Building Workshops that Actually Build Teams

Oct 30, 2020

We talk a lot about team building at Timed Out.  We’ve discussed why team dynamics are more important for corporate success than at any point in history.  We’ve shared how our CLIC tools create feedback and insights – transforming a fun escape room into a team performance lab.  In addition, we’ve alluded to our use of CliftonStrengths, both as part of our team building workshops, as well as to coach and develop our own team members. But without a doubt, our team building workshops create the most impact by combining all these elements.  As a result, we thought we’d share how we structure our workshops and why it creates results.

While each team building workshop is designed specifically for each client and team, we follow a general pattern for most.  First, we’ll start with each individual on the team – a focus on self.  Next, we’ll pivot to the individuals across the team – a focus on colleagues.  Finally, we’ll examine the overall group – a focus on the team.  As a result, we’ll share a little detail on each level of analysis.

“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.”

Timed Out Escape Room - Charlotte, North Carolina - Individual Strengths

Embracing and Discussing Individual Strengths is Foundational to Team Building

Our team building workshops typically start with a focus on self.  We start here because we have to understand who we are as individuals to appreciate our roles and value in the context of the team.  The “self” process actually begins before the event, as each participant completes Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment. For context, I’ve been personally using Gallup’s strength-based assessment for nearly 20 years.  From this experience, I have found the tools to provide insights that both resonate and are actionable.  The CliftonStrengths results provides the individual with their specific top talent themes – such as communication, analytical, or relator. The combination of these themes is highly individualistic and personalized.  In fact, the chances of two people sharing the same top-five themes in the same order is 1 in more than 33 million!  As a result, I hear a consistent response to these results: “This gets me!”.

By completing the assessment, each team member picks up a framework and common language about their own personal “wiring”.  To build on this during our team building workshops, we’ll usually lead the team through some fun exercises.  Team members will speak about their talent themes and overall results.  They will compare how different people react to scenarios and situations.  Ultimately, we pursue the goal to build individual appreciation of one’s own talents and uniqueness within the team.

“To succeed as a team is to hold all of the members accountable for their expertise.”

Timed Out Escape Room - Charlotte, North Carolina - Colleagues

Appreciating a Colleague’s Strengths can lead to Respect and Partnering

“Self”-focus naturally transitions into a focus on colleagues, as team members discuss and share their results.  The focus on colleagues shifts to evaluate similarities and differences among team members.  We’ll examine which talent themes are shared by team members, and if those themes manifest the same in different people.  We’ll share examples of experiences and behaviors in which colleague’s themes shine through.  Similar to “self”, we’ll aim to establish an awareness an appreciation of the varied talents of co-workers, and how talents interplay.

Often, we’ll wrap up the “colleague” segment with a focus on partnerships.  We’ll discuss existing partnerships, and delve into different partnership models.  We’ll consider both effective and challenged partnerships within the team, and discuss how the team might improve them.

“Players win games, teams win championships.”

Timed Out Escape Room - Charlotte, North Carolina - TeamDNA

Past Successes Point to a Team’s Talent and its DNA

The partnering and collaboration exercises during the “colleague” segment create the foundation for looking at the broader team.  As we transition to “team”, we’ll discuss how and where the team has experienced past success.  We will use tools that provide an insightful view of the collective strengths of the team.  The team will define who, at its core, it really is – the team’s DNA.  We’ll then look at the key missions and goals of the team within the context of that DNA.  The team will examine how they drive their best performance, and where they struggle – as well as identify how to improve those areas.

“The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.”

After the “team” segment, we typically pivot to the escape room.  Depending on the specific goals of the team, or the team’s leader, there may be additional guidance given to the team.  For instance, there may be specific partnerships that they want to emphasize in the room, or a broad goal to focus on communication.  With this context – and individual and colleague talent themes – in mind, the team will take on an escape room.  Upon completion, the team debriefs using our CLIC tool/process to share observations, provide feedback and glean insights.  Final wrap up for the team building workshop follows this – driven by the original goals for the day.

Whew!  These are busy days!

So what did the team “build” in the team building workshop?

  • Appreciation individual talents and unique strengths
  • Awareness of the strengths of other team members
  • Improved respect for – and appreciation of differences between – team members
  • Partnership models and opportunities within the team, and potentially with other teams
  • Appreciation of team DNA, and implications for how the team delivers its goals and objectives
  • Experience, through practice and feedback, of targeted tools and behaviors to improve teaming
  • Defined take aways and tools to create lasting impact

Contact us to learn more – we’d welcome the opportunity to develop a program the help you build your team!  I personally lead all of our teaming sessions – call me at 704/302.6364 to discuss your specific needs.

Quote Attribution:
“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.” – Wally ‘Famous’ Amos
“To succeed as a team is to hold all of the members accountable for their expertise.” – Mitchell Caplan, CEO E*Trade Group
“Players win games, teams win championships.” – Bill Taylor
“The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” – Alan Saporta