Best offsite team building exercise?

Last month’s Running Diary was about a team building exercise I really enjoyed because I thought it presented a group of people with a microcosm of the kinds of problems you see during a regular project schedule. I wondered what kinds of experiences other people may have similarly enjoyed, so I put the question to LinkedIn users:

What is the best team building you’ve seen done during an offsite, where your group is sequestered away from normal operations for a few days to focus on a particular task?

I got suggestions you might guess or maybe have experienced yourself ranging from the pure fun (go carting from my high school friend Jason Bruce) to the traditional (ropes course from another high school friend Jennifer Hawkins). Others were intriguing, like this one from Rich DiGirolamo:

The best team exercise I ever experienced was a two hour, three town scavenger hunt; where one of the teams (purposely) included three people who we knew were going to butt heads if not kill each other; and they did. While some would think it was a disaster, the truth is everything that had wanted to be said finally was said. No more assumptions. No more dancing around. No more political correctness. All the cards were on the table.

My Dad runs an in house scavenger hunt for the family at Christmas every year, so that one made me smile. My favorite, though, came from Paul Gruenther:

I think the best team building opportunities involve community service. It allows a group to work as a cohesive team to solve a real life problem and provide tangible results with an intrinsic paycheck.

In Jacksonville Florida, the Housing Partnership of Northeast Florida recruits volunteer teams to build wheelchair ramps. This challenges a team to set a goal, divide into functional units, work on a real world challenge, deliver tangible results and observe the customer satisfaction. The residual benefits of this sort of team building are incredible.

Doing something together that helps others and reminds you all that you have it pretty good. You can’t get too much better than that.


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