Are you looking for ways to bring people together as a more cohesive, collaborative and productive team? In 20+ years of doing this professionally, we’ve found no more effective approach than harnessing the power of play.
TeamBonding didn’t invent this concept. Plato himself was promoting the value of play over 2,000 years ago. But we have developed what we see as the most helpful ways to use play in the name of team building. And we’re still continuing to refine our approach today.
Because we’ve seen first-hand what a growing mountain of evidence confirms – that when people have fun at work, they become:
- More productive
- More creative
- More motivated
- More flexible and resilient
- Better able to meet job demands
What are the most important things for you to know about this fascinating aspect of human behavioral science? First off, when someone is having genuine fun, it’s much easier to tap into the brain’s elusive right hemisphere. That’s the seat of imagination, creativity and intuition, among other things. Long thought to be useful only to artists, writers and musicians, we now understand that right-brain thinking also plays a vital role in the business world.
Do you want your team to be better at problem solving and brainstorming new solutions? The key is to help them engage the right sides of their brains. At TeamBonding, we do that through play. Intentional, strategically organized play.
Let’s look at a few of the benefits.
Play is involving.
The best way to learn new skills is by actually doing things. Research shows that when people just sit and listen to a teacher, they retain only 20% of what they hear. But get them involved in active learning (doing a real job, a simulation, a training game, etc.) and they retain 90% of the information. This has massive implications for us (and for you).
Play is low risk.
Failure is an integral part of the innovation process. Play provides a safe environment for your team to get comfortable exploring, taking risks, trying new ideas and yes, making mistakes. Just think, if Edison had been afraid of failure, he wouldn’t have found over 1,800 ways not to make a light bulb. Marie Curie wouldn’t have given us radium. You can probably think of lots more examples.
Play is great for exploring team dynamics.
Every group has a distinctive personality all its own. As a leader, it’s vitally important for you to understand what makes your own team tick. How does your team communicate? Plan? Make decisions? What are their biggest strengths and liabilities? How do they adapt to change? When you observe your group playing as a team, you’ll have much better answers to all these important questions.
Play promotes self-awareness.
Play gives your team members the chance to view themselves and their teammates in a new light. We hear it again and again: “I had no idea Anna was so creative!” or “Who knew Rashad was that clever?” When a group becomes more aware of themselves and those around them, they can dramatically improve their effectiveness as a team.
Play builds trust.
One of the strongest team dynamics we’ve seen over and over again is the importance of trust.
Giving your team opportunities to practice working together within a play environment is a wonderful way to build a network of trust. This encourages people to thrive and stretch, both as individuals and as a group. It also has a huge impact on general happiness and quality of life.
Play highlights the value of the team.
Many teams we work with are so individually competitive, or have so little experience working as a team, that they actually question the benefits of teamwork. Our fun team exercises give skeptics the opportunity to see that sharing information and responsibilities can bring amazing results. Group play also affords participants an opportunity to discover the strong value of diversity.
Play provides goal-oriented lessons.
We can help you select events designed to focus on:
- Problem solving
- Communication skills
- Working more effectively as a team
- New developments within your organization
- Getting your team better acquainted
- Just about anything else you specify
Each TeamBonding event comes with its own set of specific lessons, skills and experiences.
You can also choose something more physical in nature (like a scavenger hunt) to get people up and moving. These are especially useful as a way to break up sessions or presentations where people are sitting for long periods of time.
How will you harness the power of play?
You may have some ideas already. Or maybe you realize it’s something you want to do, but you’re not sure where to begin. That’s understandable. Just remember, we’re always here to help.
Are you already incorporating the power of play at work? Let us know what you’re up to on Facebook or LinkedIn.