Bring up “team-building” or “ice-breakers” or “team-bonding” and you’ll hear groans from your audience or staff. There’s nothing more dreaded than team-building exercises that add no value to your work or your life and seems forced and really not that enjoyable. We suggest you break out of the dreaded team-building exercise and give your team members memorable experiences where they can enjoy themselves, have time to get to know their associates and learn how to better communicate and collaborate.
Here are three ideas for effective “team-building” in Roanoke VA (although keep in mind we don’t really like the phrase “team-building).
Hunt for clues and sing songs on an Urban Scavenger Hunt
Mike Brown, from Westrock, wanted a team-building exercise that could bring together a diverse corporate team made up of staff from among 13 global locations. “I wanted the team to get to know each other, have fun, break out of the boring classroom presentations, and get some fresh air and exercise,” he said. “The Urban Scavenger Hunt did all of that and more!”
Tour Roanoke helped Mike break the team into competitive and diverse groups and then set them loose on the Star City of the South. Working under time constraints, participants spanned the city looking for clues and interacting with Roanoke’s friendly citizens.
“Normally quiet introverts danced and sang,” Mike said. “Younger employees saw their more seasoned managers on equal footing. After the event, we found that our teams had more open conversations across our vast geographic lines. But most of all, each participant participated in the success of their scavenger teams. Young, old, we had to work together to accomplish fun tasks. I would recommend the Urban Scavenger Hunt for any group activity.”
Get out of the conference room! Get outside.
In Virginia’s Blue Ridge, we don’t stay inside if we can help it. With mountains and rivers minutes away from Downtown Roanoke, why would we hold meetings indoors?
When the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE) held its annual meeting in Roanoke, Tracie Grady, the event’s organizer, wanted an activity that would get her members moving and sharing ideas. “We also wanted them to learn something about Roanoke and the region,” she said.
Working with Tour Roanoke, they planned a group hike up Mill Mountain to see Roanoke’s famous neon star. Along the way, participants learned fascinating historical details about Roanoke, its history, and growth.
Looking over the Roanoke Valley, Tracie said her members connected with each other. “The tour offered a non-traditional “ice-breaker,” she said. “After the event was over, they shared this memorable experience.
The members who participated still keep in touch and continue to share ideas and help each other serve their organizations.”
During the warmer months Tour Roanoke can also combine kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, or biking with craft beer and food to create a unique team adventure.
Break bread and share ideas
Sharing a table and a meal makes it easy for team members – from the quietest to the most outspoken – to collaborate and build camaraderie.
Mark Ellis at Rainbow Forest Church sent his administrative staff on a Roanoke Food & Cultural Tour. “Our team works hard throughout the year,” he said. “We wanted to give them an afternoon away from the office. We wanted them to have fun and create some team memories.”
Tour Roanoke planned a walking tour of Roanoke’s iconic and hidden culinary gems. “They experienced a variety of restaurants. The tour was paced so our team members could take their time and enjoy the city,” Mark said. “The team learned about Roanoke’s history. Some had lived here their entire lives and even they learned some cool facts about our history.”
For Mark’s team, the three hours away from the office brought the team closer together. “They came back from the tour closer,” he said. “They are communicating at a deeper level and I think that because they got to know each other better, they trust each other more. It’s made the atmosphere in the office fun and enjoyable.”