Is your team successful and effective? In order to answer this question, you will need to define what a successful and effective team should look like. More CEOs and HR managers than you can imagine are unable to take this first step toward improving their team’s performance. Years of team building planning have shown us that a high-performing team is composed of people whose skills complement one another and that are enthusiastic about working together towards a shared goal, that they care about personally, as well as professionally. Taking the professional skills as given, our job consists in cultivating that kind of enthusiasm and mutual trust that allows every team member to focus their efforts to further the whole team’s progress. This is where we come in. Programs like the one we are going to show you in this post are meant to encourage mutual trust and an open, honest approach within a team of professionals, working towards the company’s goals.
Team Building on Lake Garda: the facility
The great lakes of Northern Italy present unique opportunities for team building programs. There are plenty of state-of-the-art facilities, as well as spectacular outdoor sites that allow the professional team building planner to get creative. For this project with our client ICT, we chose Lake Garda, a favourite tourist destination of both domestic and international tourists. Our briefing called for a complex experience, incorporating elements of team building and incentive travel, as well as leaving time for a corporate meeting. For this purpose, we selected a beautiful lakeside facility in Acquaviva del Garda. Not only the hotel we chose had a magnificent spa and a well-equipped meeting room, it was also surrounded by a vast garden, that we were able to use for some of our activities. A handy planning tip: when your chosen activities are designed for the outdoors, be sure to have a back-up plan to put into place in case of bad weather. Always ask your facility manager to reserve indoor space for your team building program, even if you are not going to use it.
Team Building activities
We decided to make the best use possible of both the lake and our chosen hotel, by organising a Carton Boat Race, a “pub quiz” and a whole day of outdoor games in the hotel grounds. For the boat race, we moved to Lido Campitello, one of the many marinas that dot the shores of Lake Garda. We equipped our team with the basic materials needed for this exercise and they had a fantastic time assembling their cardboard vessels and challenging each other to stay afloat for as long as possible. Luckily, it was a warm and sunny day, which meant we had no need to fall back on plan-B. Back at the hotel, we used the meeting room for our “pub quiz”. Each table was equipped with a keypad that could be used to answer questions posed by a presenter and projected on screen. Finally, we went back outdoors for a new round of intensely physical, engaging and insanely funny activities. Our clients got to play “bubble football”, try their hand at the “snake challenge” – a game that requires participants to complete tasks while blindfolded – and also play a game of our devising called The Vase, that requires the participants to transport a set amount of water from one place to another with obviously inadequate tools.
If you are thinking you might feel silly carrying water around in a funnel or trying to paddle through a lake on a cardboard boat, let us stop you right there: that is exactly the point. Being able to let your hair down and take yourself and your peers a little less seriously than usual and, most of all, having a lot of fun in the process, is actually what makes team building effective. The emotional connections between team members strengthen, as they work towards a shared goal that is obviously as silly as it is tricky to achieve. Such connections, once formed, alter the interactions in a professional environment, fostering the kind of personal engagement that drives outstanding and long-lasting results.