Team building games
Team building games
Homo sapiens originated in Africa some 200,000 years ago. The modern human has a highly developed brain with the capacity for abstract reasoning, language and problem solving. It has been proved by DNA that all humans have a common ancestry. What has this got to do with team building? Well just as humans have a set of common ancestors, so do team building games! All the team building games which you can find on the internet (and goodness knows there is a plethora of them) have a common ancestry in team games developed by the military.
These games could therefore be described as the archetypes of team building games. In their stripped down form I have heard them described as "very 70's" which is an unfair criticism. These team building games are classic and as such they will never age. These games will always be effective tools for team development. Of course fashionable developments within team theory will come and go. But the archetypal team games will always be current because they are basic experiential problem solving tools. Dress them up in whatever story line or form but behind every team game are the original games. Even the names of some of these original games show their military background, such as Minefield and Bridge Build.
There is something very pleasing about these early team games, they are simple, reliable and get the job done. I have also often said that there is a similarity, with some of these basic team challenges that involve more imagination that kit, to children getting endless fun and pleasure playing with a couple of old cardboard boxes long after the expensive plastic toys that they contained have broken. We like to think of it as substance over style. Without the confusion of style, it is possible to get straight to the nub of the matter. These classic games are perfect vehicles for a facilitator to observe how a team tackles the challenge.
The facilitator will then discuss with the team how they thought they performed and what they would do differently, how they could improve their team performance. The facilitator's role is to facilitate the teams perceptions as to their performance and provide them with an understanding that can then be applied to the workplace. During most events it important to address only a few issues and not to overwhelm the participants, a few points well made are worth a lot more than a mass of information later forgotten. The benefits that can be obtained from these team building games is in the experiential nature of the games as compared to purely classroom and theoretical information, in the words of a Chinese proverb: