Those benefits extend beyond some good exercise and mental clarity. Sports can strengthen bonds and even redefine communication patterns. “The great thing about teambuilding through physical activities with businesses, organizations, charitable groups, and others is that it engages our physical selves and causes us to think creatively,” said Leah Braun, Principal of Harney Business Group. “It’s a well-documented fact that physical movement is good for our brains. We get re-energized and ready to learn more and think outside of the box. Many people think that adults, unlike children, can sit and listen or talk for hours on end. The truth is that adults need stimulation and movement nearly as much as children. It can also address the multiple learning styles that are present within the population. Physical teambuilding can be really fun too.”
If you’re picturing your group of accountants or sales team and discounting the idea as a good one “for someone else” - you should reconsider according to Braun. “Any group can benefit from physical teambuilding. A skilled facilitator and a willingness to get involved are the key ingredients to successful team-development through sports. The teambuilding should tie into the agenda; not distract from it, unless the intent is simply to have fun or for a mental break. Groups that have long agendas, difficult topics, or need to get into problem-solving mode can really benefit from teambuilding.”
Stumped on how or what sports to utilize in your meeting? The possibilities are endless, but the best place to start is with your team and your goals for them. Identify what skills your attendees would most benefit from.
Encourage Strategy Making
Flag Football | Soccer | Paintball
These sports require strategy and planning. They get groups talking, assigning roles, and working through challenges. These allow the players to recognize each other’s strengths and adjust their efforts accordingly.
Create Cohesion & Communication
Dodgeball requires virtually no equipment (but a ball of course), however its format naturally puts everyone on the same level dodging (literally) challenges and protecting each other. In the end, the goal is not an individual one, but the survival of the whole team. This is especially good for groups that usually work in a rigid management structure without much overlap or collaboration. It encourages interaction between those that might not connect in their natural roles.
Develop Leadership Skills
Baseball and softball are unique. They are team sports that put people in starkly defined individual roles. They really allow players to shine on their own while benefiting the overall team. This is true at bat or on the field. Each individual is, to some degree, entirely “on their own,” but they have to work together within those roles. These lessons naturally extend to most modern office environments.
If we’ve convinced you to give sports a try at your next meeting or conference, utilize the Chamber or CVB in the community you’re planning within for help in identifying locations or facilities and places to rent the necessary equipment. Be sure you warn your attendees, so they can come prepared with proper clothing and items. No one wants to find out they are about to play dodgeball in stilettos or an expensive suit.
Experts recommend putting sports early in the agenda to set a fresh tone amongst attendees. Even those teams that have worked together for a long time will benefit from the shift. Sports put everyone into a new context and better prepared to connect on a different level throughout the rest of the conference. For teams with less experience together, the casually competitive atmosphere will get people talking, reduce the anxiety of meeting strangers, and reset people’s perceptions and expectations of one another. “Teambuilding allows team members to get to know one another in a different light. It can truly deepen and strengthen relationships,” encourages Braun.
Harney Business Group provides powerful, customized consulting, training, and coaching to small and medium sized businesses and organizations to help them reach the next level.
Leah Braun, Principal of Harney Business Group, leads successful coaching and training sessions throughout the Black Hills area. She has coached many clients through a variety of professional and personal issues. She conducts numerous seminars and retreats in topics ranging from customer service to work-and-life balance. She retired at the rank of Master Sergeant after 22 years of military service, where Leah began to hone her passion for working with people and helping groups get to the next level. While in the military, Leah earned a teaching degree and a MS in administrative studies with an emphasis in counseling. Leah is a Certified Professional Coach, credentialed through the International Coach Federation.