Corporate Team Building Examples: Seven Lessons about Togetherness
What team building methods do you have in place? Use these team building examples to develop or innovate your team!
One of the prime requirements of productive co-existence is collaboration or the ability to function in teams. In nature, such collaboration is not always obvious (e.g., how the eagles need mountains to plant their nests and bees need the nectar of plants to make honey).
In the corporate world, the business of sports is a big money spinner in both the so-called individual sports and team sports. People spend considerable chunks of their income watching sports teams either in sporting arenas or on television. These teams cut across a variety of sports such as soccer, American football, basketball, hockey, cricket and baseball. Yet, business organizations in non-sporting industries, never seem to wonder what makes a great sports team tick and the lessons that can be applied to corporate teams. Indeed, organizations can learn a lot from sports teams.
Corporate Team Building Examples: Seven Lessons about Togetherness
Team Building Examples: The Meaning of Together
A fundamental success factor of sports teams is a three-syllable word, to-ge-ther. The word ‘together’ conveys several messages in it various definitions, all of which speak of team spirit. Consider the various definitions. First of all, it is an adverb indicating that people are with one another, or that something is done with another person or other people, or by joint effort. Other meanings include with others, interacting with one another, by joint effort, into contact, collectively and in integrated coherent structure. A team is a number of persons associated together in work or activity. Therefore, a team involves being together.
Team Building Examples: What Sports Teams Do Together
I have identified seven activities which sports teams do together from which organisations can derive applications. I call them the Seven Lessons of Together:
Team Building Examples: #1 - Traveling Together
Sports teams are required to travel to away venues to compete. In such times, the teams go together in a coach or an airplane. They meet at a single location and travel together. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big star or a small star. Everybody gets on the bus! This removes fences that corporate teams might face. Organisations need to travel more frequently together on emotional, physical and mental journeys.
Team Building Examples: #2 - Rooming Together
Sports teams also room together when traveling. When they are not traveling, they share the same dressing room and changing facilities. Team spirit is strengthened as individuals become personally and physically exposed to each other. Their vulnerabilities and physiques are known to each other which translate to covering for one another in the field of play especially if some are playing with injuries. Although some companies have attempted a form of rooming together with open offices, it still does not have the same intimacy as sports players sharing rooms.
Team Building Examples: #3 - Sharing Victory Together
A point earned, a touchdown, a home run, a goal scored, a ball placed in the basketball net are all points of victory which members of the team share. Which player earns the point matters less to the team members because victory and its benefits are shared experiences. This might explain the joint celebration with a team mate who does the final act. Organisations should learn how to share victory across board more frequently and innovatively.
Team Building Examples: #4 - Training Together
No matter how good a player is, he or she cannot be isolated from the rest of the team in training. Some players might need extra exercises to focus on particular objectives but these will mostly be done in the presence of other players. Corporate teams may not have the advantage of training together but they have to engineer activities which give a semblance of training together. Training courses, retreats, away-days, productive meetings and similar assemblies can be valuable tools for replicating sports teams.
Team Building Examples: #5 - Dressing Together
Wearing uniforms is a non-negotiable part of being in sports teams. Even top players are never so good that they will be excluded from wearing team jerseys. Jerseys are always the same colour for each person even though numbers and names may provide identification. Dressing creates a sense of togetherness and sameness which tears off many human barriers.
Team Building Examples: #6 - Celebrating Together
All sports teams celebrate together. They never exclude any member of the team from celebrations, even those that are not directly involved in games are invited to join. Celebrations reinforce performance as well as desired behaviour. Lack of celebration delivers the impression that all events are of equal significance. Celebration doesn’t have to be ‘big bang’. Sports teams understand that celebration is not only about victories but about progress.
Team Building Examples: #7 - Losing Together
Even the best sports teams sometimes lose games they are expected to win. Sports people realise that although losing is painful, it does not bring an end to the team. Instead, it serves as a learning tool. While emotions may run high and tears may drop from sporting eyes, the back pats and embraces convey messages of hope for future victories. As in sports, organisational reality is that winning is not an everyday affair. There will be down times but they are shared similarly to the victories.
Team Building Examples: Closing Thoughts
These lessons from sports teams are more than just a list. They are actionable ideas (in addition to the recommendations) which organisations can adapt to their operating mechanisms and culture. The closer organisations mirror sports teams, the more collaborative and productive they will become. Over to you, CEOs and HR Executives!
‘Weyinmi Jemide is the Chief Client Officer of Weyinmi Jemide LLP based in Lagos, Nigeria. He influences people and organisations through coaching, training and group facilitation. He also develops leaders while helping organisations strengthen the link between leadership, strategy and culture. He is a Certified Master Coach from the Behavioral Coaching Institute of Australia and a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®. He is also the author of Proverbial Business, a series of insights on business and life based on the Book of Proverbs. He combines his professional work with serving as a Pastor of The Redeemed Christian Church of God.