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7 Unique Team Building Ideas

7 Unique Team Building Ideas

Whether you’ve got a HR budget itching to be spent, or a modest team in need of a midwinter boost, there are many marvellous methods to support effective team building. Simple innovations can make a big difference, whilst grand gestures can make for a memorable and motivating adventure.

Take a look at our top 7 tried-and-tested solutions to support a happy and healthy work environment.

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Small ideas for big impact

1. Disco afternoon

Build a Spotify playlist over the week, sourcing everyone’s music taste into an eclectic reflection of your office culture. Then, when Friday afternoon arrives and the weekend rolls into view, a thoroughly unique (yet work-appropriate) disco can see your team through to 5pm. Music can be a borderless space – you’ll be surprised how quickly people can bond over something as simple as a favourite song or band.

2. Start a book group

Unite like-minded people with this super simple but remarkably effective way of building a community conversation.

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Select fortnightly themes, bring food and enjoy the chat – it’s the perfect Friday afternoon primer for the weekend ahead, and ideal for encouraging better communication across teams. But if reading isn’t your team’s thing, try knitting, board games or fantasy football – you’re sure to find something that your team have in common.

3. Make a difference

Community volunteering can bring your business into the heart of its community, building local relationships that can be of mutual benefit far into the future. Wherever you’re based, there are youth and community schemes that are in real need of support from corporate partners, through the volunteering of time and practical help – a worthwhile and bonding task for team members to undertake together.

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Getting out and about

4. Try a new sport together

You take on big challenges together every week, so why not try something totally new as a team? Quidditch started out on the college campuses of America, but is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as a fast-paced and tactical sport with a healthy dose of wit and magic on top. For something a little more traditionally ‘cool’, head for an indoor skatepark or trampoline centre to catch some air in a number of thrilling ways. For newbies or experts, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy a bit of competition and comedy.

5. Create a mystery

Murder mystery parties have long been a popular staple of dinner parties – so why not broaden the scope and enjoy a murder mystery day in the office? This is your chance to construct a hilarious mystery, packed with workplace in-jokes and costumed cameos from senior staff. Split your team into detective duos and challenge them to find the clues and crack the case – it’s great for collaboration, a change of pace and a guaranteed giggle.

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6. Jailbreak!

48 hours to get as far away from the office as possible – without spending a single penny! Fundraising for charity is a great way to bring teams together, and a Jailbreak weekend unites team members in a truly unique hitchhiking adventure. Encourage teams to raise sponsorship money for every mile they get away from the office – maybe even offer a prize to the team who makes it the furthest!

7. Plan your Summer Summit

Whatever your budget, find a getaway suitable for your team at the apex of the year. Mix creative, energetic discussion and team building sessions with relaxing social activity. It’s all about breaking up the 9 to 5 and giving the team a chance to connect and collaborate in a new environment, free of the usual patterns and constraints. Whether it’s just a weekend away, or longer, let your team enjoy the sunshine and build those all-important bridges for long-term success.

Featured photo credit: ‘Team Building and Leadership Favorites 2012’ by Michael Cardus via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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