Ask the team members to brainstorm a list of provocative questions they would like to have each other answer (and that they would be willing to answer). Write these down in front of the group.
Have them screen the list to delete those in questionable taste, and select the 2-3 that everyone feels most comfortable with.
Proceed to have each team member provide answers to the questions.
Explain that skills are portable and every member of the team is bringing a briefcase or box full of knowledge and skills to the team. This next activity will help us to discover individual strengths that will make us a productive team.
Distribute 3 x 5 cards.
Ask participants to write their names on the cards and below their names list two specialties or skills that they bring to the team, e.g., knowledge of statistical process control, organizational skills, or proposal writing.
When participants complete the cards, have them pin, tape, or hold the cards up in front of them as they circulate in the room, allowing others to engage them in exploratory conversations about the items.
This activity illustrates that there is always something new team members can learn about each other that will increase rapport and make the team members aware of each other's strengths and applicable experiences.
The Joy of Six
Prepare a series of short sayings (e.g., "The customer is number one") and make 6 copies of each. Ideally, the messages should relate either to the central topics of the meeting or else to currently important themes or issues in the organization, such as "Coping with Change".
Make single copies of 1-5 other messages. Place each of the sayings in and individual (unmarked) envelope, seal the enveloped, and mix them up. Give one envelope to each member.
Instruct members to open their envelopes, read the messages, circulate around the room, introduce themselves, and repeat the message (softly). When an individual finds someone else with the same message, they are to team up. Tell them to continue this search and introductory process, staying in growing clusters, until they are all in teams of 6 persons (i.e., experiencing the "joy of six").
When all but the "loners" are in groups of six, act surprised and then lead the team in the following discussion:
- How does it feel to not be accepted into a group or team? Does this ever happen in your jobs? Is this intentional?
- How did it feel when you found someone with the same message?
- Whys didn't those persons already in a team reach out to the excluded persons? How do organizational policies, or our own self-interests, prevent us from including others?
- What can we do to include other "in the loop"?
- What lessons does this have for team building?
What's our Name? Logo? Slogan?
Lead the team in brainstorming ideas for a team name. Limit the time allowed to 5 minutes. Upon completion of the game, save the name (and logo and slogan, if developed) and attempt to use it consciously at work in the future.
Newstrom, J., & Scannell. E. (1998) The Big Book of Team Building Games. England: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company