How to create your own teambuilding exercise

goal setting activityHaven’t you found yourself in a situation when you needed a certain type of exercise to cover a certain need or expectation in order to reach your teambuilding objectives but you couldn’t find one in your source books? The only solution is to develop your own activity.

There isn’t a special recipe or assured way to create a teambuilding exercise as this process demands a high level of creative thinking through brainstorming or other methods. Nevertheless, some tips may be provided to ease the process of creating your own exercise.

Before creating your own activity make sure you have assessed correctly and understand the skill, attitude or competency that is needed to be developed during the course of the exercises. For example, you have assessed there is a lack in self esteem and confidence in your group. It doesn’t matter if your group consists of managers or students, because confidence is needed even in climbing a rock. Therefore, you may organize a series of rope activities with different levels of difficulty, which run from the easiest to the most risky that will raise the level of self esteem and confidence in your participants.

The most common activity relates to team coordination and understanding, the same as a military strategy, when different teams have to work together for the same goal, without knowing what the other is doing. Paint ball may prove too hard for some groups. If you analyze the situation deeper, you may observe a similar process in playing chess, but instead of having 2 people play, have 2 teams play against each other. Each team could represent the chess figures; you only have to create the board. 16 people will start fighting over a strategy on how to win, but unless they play as one, failure is inevitable. This situation forces them to listen and coordinate their steps. As each team advances with their strategy, each group will have to change and adapt their moves to the context in a matter of seconds. Create a debriefing plan suited for the rate of difficulty of this exercise as many conclusions are to be drawn from it.

Try to find inspiration in everything, even on the streets or nature. If for example you must prepare a communication exercise, you may ask two groups of 10 people to form parallel lines. Thinks is too easy? Why don’t you blindfold them and see how it goes.

Usually trainers arrange outdoor activities with a high risk of difficulty or military style and don’t take advantage of the indoor experience. As a result, the main point of learning is forgotten in the process because the participants will focus on the fun parts. Don’t allow an exercise to lose its main purpose and for participants’ attention to wander off for more than 10% of the teambuilding.

Take extra precautions if you are designing an activity for outdoor that includes physical effort. Only experienced, certified trainers should engage in these types of activities and even they cannot ensure sufficient safety for all.


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