A strong team is like a well-oiled machine. Everybody has their tasks, the expertise to do them well, and if you’re lucky, the synchronicity to do it all together. However, Rome was not built in a day and your all-star team won’t become strong overnight.
A well-known psychologist, Bruce Tuckman, came up with a general framework for how great teams come together. You may know this framework by the phrase “forming, storming, norming, and performing.” Each of these represents a critical step in a group coming together to become a high-achieving team.
To learn more about how team-building works and get some great ideas, keep reading below! Plus… We’ve included a bonus list of 21 events for team building at the end!
How to Grow a Strong Team with Events
Understanding how this framework works is helpful for team building. During the forming phase, the team is assembled, but they may not know how they fit together or how to work with each other. They may set general boundaries or adhere to everyday social guidelines. The storming stage isn’t necessarily about fighting, but more about seeing how they fit with those boundaries and challenging them. During the norming step, the team has overcome most of the challenges and disagreements from the storming stage. They have also reached an understanding of how they fit together. This prepares them for the final phase, performing. During the performing phase, they become a strong team that meets its goals.
We highly recommend exploring team building events at all stages of this process. Here’s why and how:
During the forming phase, most of the team may not know each other yet or know how they fit in with each other. Search for icebreakers and team-building activities that give them a chance to meet each other and talk beyond the “Oh hi! I’m [person] and I’m so excited to be here.” It also helps them build rapport and get to know each other before the storming stage.
During this stage, it’s important to focus on what they have in common outside the office. Start with activities that encourage them to introduce themselves and mingle. Salt and Pepper is one of our favorites!
While this stage isn’t necessarily about fighting and arguing, sometimes this does happen. During this stage, it’s important to focus on problem-solving skills and building cohesiveness. Look for ways they can build something together. For example, you could try the ever-popular marshmallow and spaghetti tower game. In this activity, each team is given marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti and tries to construct a tower.
You can also have the team collaborate to solve the office’s problems. You can write down some general issues in the office, such as “the line to the coffee machine is too long in the morning,” “too much back and forth emails with easy-to-answer questions,” or “no one takes initiative to fill the printer with paper and ink.” Then, separate the team into small groups and give them a few problems to come up with solutions to. Finally, have everyone come together and discuss the solutions.
Everyone is a lot more comfortable at this stage and they begin to establish a set of “norms” for working together. During this stage, the idiosyncrasies of different coworkers become less frustrating and more considered “quirks.”
Team-building events Events like trivia about the office, guess who of the office, and workplace jeopardy are great ways to develop fun inside jokes and encourage friendly office banter when your employees reach the norming stage.
The performing stage comes after the norming stage. Everyone knows each other and gets along great. There are very few disagreements in the office and any criticism is constructive. There’s a strong synergy between employees and they’re achieving their goals and hitting major milestones.
During this stage, team building activities strengthen their bond and ability to work together. It also provides a much-needed break from their day-to-day work! Game nights, themed-gatherings, community service, and more are great for team building.
21 Times to Consider a Team Building Retreat
Here are some of our ideas of when you should plan team building events for your employees:
- Introduce A New Team Member
- Introduce A New Department
- Introduce New Managers Or Leadership
- Introduce A New Position
- Employee Retreats
- Holiday Parties
- New Year Parties
- 1, 5, 10th Anniversaries Of Company
- 1, 5, 10th Anniversary Of Team Working Together
- Major Work Anniversaries For Leadership
- Celebrating A Major Goal
- Celebrating Major Milestones
- Major Project Completions
- Employee Appreciation
- National Bosses Day
During Hard Times:
- When Employees Struggle To Communicate
- When Cliques Start To Form (Make sure to split them up during activities)
Major Company/System Changes:
- Before And After Company Mergers
- Before And After Company Acquisitions
- When A New Chief-leadership Role Is Named
Bonus Tip for Team Building Activities
Here is our final tip for great team building activities… Do it in an interesting location. Hosting team-building exercises in the office keeps them in their work-mode mindset. Get your team out of the office and immerse them in an environment that’s new to them.
And what environment could be newer and exciting than a newly remodeled cruise boat? With Lake Coeur d’Alene cruises, you can rent out a newly remodeled cruise boat to explore beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene, enjoy a delicious meal with our dinner cruises, and create a bond that will unify your team once you return to the office.