There are some things you--thankfully--grow out of (e.g., Lunchables, acne, open obsession with boy bands), but in the business world, there is still one area where channeling your inner child is required: team-building exercises.
Some are recipes for disaster. HowStuffWorks lists a few doozies topped by "Wordless Noise Games," where, in one variation, people are asked to make the sounds of a specific type of car or truck to find a partner or group doing the same. If used as an ice breaker, you can kiss a good first impression bye-bye.Others are more original but lead to even less desirable results. Take, for instance, a "camaraderie-building" (a.k.a. spanking) exercise gone horribly wrong.
However, it is possible to host team-building events that are genuinely fun, and during a time we all need a little more joy in our lives, I wouldn't underestimate what an outing can do to improve inter-office relations. A brief trawl on the Web turns up companies offering everything from laser tag to surfing, and it's hard not to feel a little jealous of people who've completed some of TeamBonding's distinctive programs, which include building mini-golf courses, investigating crime scenes, and engaging in ice sculpture competitions.
But I am not ashamed to admit that what captured my attention most was a program offered by Pump It Up, the "The Inflatable Party Zone," involving obstacle courses, slides and even whacking bats--and lots of bouncing. Best of all, it's a franchise with more than 200 locations around the United States, so the odds are good that there's one within driving distance of your business. (I would add that there is a Pump It Up location less than three miles away from Entrepreneur's own office.)
Although corporations are the biggest spenders when it comes to promoting teamwork through these kinds of events, it doesn't mean that small businesses can't and shouldn't do the same, especially when fewer people make things more affordable.
Human resources and management experts unanimously agree, particularly now, that business owners would do well to boost morale and treat their employees right. Hear, hear. And what better way to motivate your team than a fun-filled day of inflatable bouncy castles?
It's certainly more effective than this method: