Team building done properly

I’ve done plenty of team building days and exercises with me being in the Army for the best part of 7 years. These are generally ok because typically you live with your colleagues and if you get annoyed or frustrated its quite ok to swear loudly and even have a fight if need be! Joking aside (I wasn’t), team building can be a chore and cringe-worthy, in fact, it can be a damn fearful thing when thinking you need to do silly tasks in front of your superiors and other colleagues. I get that, and over the 3 years we’ve been in business, we’ve mostly done random fun activities, like axe throwing, bowling, go-karting or Go-Ape followed by food and drink of course!

The trouble is as the team grows (we’re now 25 strong and growing) we need to be a bit more creative, and now with our Head of Talent, Briony, onboard she took it upon her self to organise ours too much of my delight.

As I mentioned earlier, too often companies organise team-building experiences without putting real thought into how they'll translate to better results, or they use them as a replacement for more meaningful work on communication or co-operation issues.

As a result, these experiences can be largely annoying to employees and - the opposite of raising morale - they can actually lower morale, especially if they're a response to deep-rooted, problematic team dynamics that require more serious solutions.

Real team building isn't about one or two events per year. Instead, it's about how a team runs, day to day.

How do we do it at Tillo?

From a communication PoV, we always have a full company meeting every Monday, this is mostly for Gareth and I to stand up and talk about what we’re up to and reiterate our vision but also what we're working on. It also gives us a chance to share our recruitment plans, exciting meetings & new opportunities coming through and generally, any other things on our mind that we feel are important to share with the company. We’ve always done this, literally from the start when there was only a couple of us, and we shall continue this until it feels right to change it up. Other teams in the business break off and have their standups or meetings as necessary but naturally, as you scale you don’t have as much airtime with everyone, so it’s nice to see everyone together for 30mins or so.

We also do a company lunch every month. Again, gives the whole team a chance to catch up over lunch and drinks.

We then do a company away days every quarter. The main objective here is to take time out to enjoy an experience but as a company. We’re not looking to force our team to do stupid nonsensical tasks for the sake of it.

This away was definitely one to remember. Two people per team had to download the Wild Goose Adventure App and enter the special code. Once done, we had to pick an elite team name, and obviously take a selfie :)

Brighton adventure collage

So here’s what happened afterwards;-

11am - We gathered everyone together. Before this everyone could check emails, set OOO etc. We then got everyone into their teams and handed out 2 envelopes to each team.

  • Envelope 1 - was a lunch budget and there was £10, £20, £40 and £60 in each envelope and picked at random. Each team will need to use the money to get the best lunch they can possibly get - so the £10 team will need to negotiate hard! Each team will also need to decide when to eat and how long they take over it as the game is timed so lunch may take time away from completing tasks.
  • Envelope 2 - Was a time penalty - nothing/ 5 mins/10 mins/15 mins and will decide who leaves the office first.

11.30am - First team leaves the office

12pm - Start the game

12.30 - Message will remind teams about their lunch budget and remind them to submit a photo with the best lunch getting most points.

14.00 - Finish

The activity is a game app so each team will download it onto their mobile. It has a map of Brighton showing 15 hotspots each team needs to head to complete a challenge or answer a question. They can be done in any order. We started the game at 12pm so the team that leaves first has the advantage of being in Brighton nearest to the game area. The last hotspot, the finishing point, is the Twisted Lemon (cocktail bar) in the Laines. During the game, you can see a live scoreboard to see which team is winning but this switches off with 20 mins to go so the winner will be announced when we are all together. The map also shows where other teams are (sabotage).

Brighton adventure collage 2

I’m not going to lie it was great fun. We were running/biking/uber’ing, bus’ing round Brighton to get to the location points where questions were asked about certain landmarks, Google may have been used a bit…

Each question answered right, or each task completed was rewarded with points. Tasks included, photo-bombing people, showing off your ballroom dancing, you get the idea. You had to capture this in the app and submit it to the app’s HQ for reviewing where our task leader would award extra points for the best lunches, optical illusions and so on.

Brighton adventure Scoreboard

We ended up in a cocktail bar at 14:00 where we regrouped and had some much-needed R&R over drinks on Brighton’s fine and very sunny seafront. After a few hours in the sunshine and getting our top up of vitamin D, we headed to Pho for dinner.

Brighton adventure group bar Brighton group beach

Well done to everyone in the team, and Briony for organising everything, moreover it was a shame we couldn’t have “every” team member present due to holidays and sickness. Until next time, move fast and stay low - you make a harder target.