Team bonding activities are NOT overrated – if they are done right, of course.
I was inspired by my mentor. Four years ago, he shared with me how impactful it was for him to get uber-personal with his executive team. At each quarterly meeting, they would do an article share on rotation: everyone on the team had a chance to pick an article that inspired them, challenged them, or resonated with them, on any level – and it didn’t have to be business-related. In fact, it was encouraged to find and share an article about a more personal topic or theme. The goal? To share a part of you that you might not have the chance to highlight on the daily at the office.
I was motivated to get some genuine bonding flowing amongst my team so I decided to start this practice. Three years later, I am proud to say it has become a well-loved ritual at the office. Each week, on rotation we gather and share our thoughts and take-aways about the article distributed (all articles are to be read the night before – a must so everyone has the time to read, review and jot down some key notes). It’s an opportune moment for us to connect, bond and share, but also to disconnect from our daily grind and give that part of our psyches focused exclusively on work a little break.
Some might think this crossed personal boundaries at the office (at first I also pondered this). On the contrary: the article share activity has fundamentally brought our team a sense of cohesiveness which essentially breeds more alignment. More alignment means more productivity. For us, getting “personal” with our thoughts and take-aways from an article didn’t mean team members “crossing boundaries” with each other; instead, everyone was just more authentic and real – and that made all the difference in our overall alignment as a team.
Interested in starting a team-bonding activity like ours? Here are some pointers:
- Involve teams and employees from various departments
- Does NOT have to be costly (ie. Above example of the “Article share”)
- Set a consistent timeline (predictable and recurring – set in stone and unwavering in commitment)
- Make the activity align with a company value (ie. Pronexia value: transparency)
- If your organization is small, include everyone (ie. Not just the executive/management team)
- Have fun with it! If it stops being fun, drop it and find another activity to create alignment and bonding
Moranne Elarar – Founder, Pronexia
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