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What are some good team-building exercises?

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Quick Answer

Team building exercises such as Two Truths and a Lie or The Life Highlights Game improve communications; Picture Piece or The Great Egg Drop"develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. Tag Team fosters adaptability, and Minefield builds trust.

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What are some good team-building exercises?
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Full Answer

Two Truths and a Lie is often used as an ice-breaker and requires participants to write down three things about themselves, one of which is untrue. The objective of the exercise is to share and obtain information while trying to convince other participants that a lie is actually true. The Life Highlights game begins with a private, roughly one-minute long silent review of life highlights and then continues with an instruction to identify the most important 30-second segment of that life. The facilitator asks each participant to share his best 30 seconds, which allows the rest of the group to learn about their team mates.

Picture Piece involves dividing an individual image into as many pieces as there are participants and then giving instructions to each participant to re-create his piece five times larger. At the end of the exercise, all the pieces are re-assembled, illustrating the challenge associated with working individually or in departments toward a common organizational goal.

The Great Egg Drop is a classic high-school physics problem requiring participants to create a container that protects an egg from an 8-foot drop. Two or more teams create a container, and then before dropping their egg, they present reasons why their solution should work. Only then do they drop their egg, which increases their stakes and encourages effective planning and teamwork.

The Tag Team game begins with each team member inventorying his strengths individually and then continues with the team building an ideal team member out of the best features of each individual. It helps team members realize they are stronger as group than as individuals and helps them adapt to challenging situations by collaborating.

Minefield involves blindfolding one player and then placing imaginary "mines" on a flat surface where the first player is standing. The other team members must then guide the blindfolded player to safety just by using words. Clear communication and trust are critical to successful performance.

Finally, all effective team-building exercises start with a clear objective and must be aligned to the goals leaders want the team to achieve, according to US News & World Report. Any activity planning should also take into account the attitudes, capabilities and desires of the team members. Unstructured or unplanned exercises can be time-wasters at best and counter-productive at worst. Aiming higher than simply "having fun" leads to more effective team-building and longer-lasting effects.

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