I’ve already said I’m not a fan of team building exercises that have no real content, such as “share your favorite color”. I don’t care what your favorite color is! Instead, team building exercises should really engage people to learn more about each other for purposes of working better together, gaining insights into intents, leveraging each other’s strengths and helping support each other to grow.
We recently did an exercise that really started from dinner conversations. The first dinner, I figured let’s play a little game where we all go around and answer a question. (Note: this was not an icebreaker or team building. This was just a dinner with four people that hadn’t seen each other in a while.) I asked “In the last month, what’s the moment you are most proud of?”. We answered, we appreciated, we laughed. Conversations continued. A couple of nights later, my teammate said, let’s do the question thing again and asked “What’s the opening sentence that would suck you into a conversation?”. Great conversation ensued.
The next day, we were at our offsite meeting. We were discussing what exercise we could do that would help us learn what we felt were strengths and weaknesses. We tossed out a few ideas but then one person said, “actually the question from last night gave me great insight into each of us. Maybe we just do that again with everyone.” So we did. We all answered that question, which didn’t take long but then we could dive a little deeper into why that was the hook for you. Then we followed it up with “In my work process, I often dread doing?” Again, we all answered and dove a little into each answer.
We learned so much without much pressure or stress. This was a true team building exercise without being about team building. The safety in the room was high. The conversations were the right level of depth. We didn’t have to justify why or why not. We just owned that this is the high and low for me today. Out of the two days of topics, this conversation is the one that stuck with me.
How might you leverage these questions?