There is nothing that brings a team closer together than having a team-building event. And it doesn't have to be a once-a-year thing.
In the market I was in last week, we held our annual Castanet.net and TheTango.net 6th Annual Olympics. Last year was quite the show and this year was even better. If focus follows fun, then we should have another revenue record-setting year at this $4 million annual revenue hyper-local Internet juggernaut.
TheTango.net was newly added to the mix, and it is topping 25,000 unique visitors weekly after just six months. Castanet.net, of course, is "King Kong" relative to other local websites throughout the world, in a market of 200,000 people with 300,000 unique visitors per week. It reaches the entire province of British Columbia and then some.
It really is true that the team that plays together works together -- and works harder for each other to accomplish the company goals. It's a unique bond that is created if done properly. Following are some of the things we did last Thursday in our all-day Olympics - some that you might want to try and some you just might want to leave in the water, depending on your market and how freely your people roll.
I could tell things were going to quickly get competitive when the "Ryder Hard" team, co-captained by Troy Ryder and named after him, had drawn a rather questionable slogan on the back of their uniforms -- and they were real uniforms! This had totally broken all Olympic committee by-laws and a formal protest was filed with the Olympic committee to no avail. The games had to go on. The "Ryder Hard" team was in red and Rob Balsdon, who co-captained the white team, came up with the name "Deliverance" in paying homage to the movie and to the people of the Ozarks. Don't ask me how that happened. I was out in the field making sales calls with reps when that name came down. The Deliverance team had cut-off shorts and cut-off tank tops, hats, war paint, boots, and just about any other clothing item you could put on that didn't hinder movements. Oh yeah, we had physical games.
Each team had nine members. The office turned into a co-ed lockerroom starting at 9 a.m. as everybody changed into their uniforms and then the writing and taunting started on the uniforms themselves.
We had five events with a break for lunch. Our first event of the day was dodge ball. If you want to get some people's frustration out early, then this is the team-building event for that. We played the best out of three and Ryder Hard swept us (I was on team Deliverance). We played all of our games outside at Waterfront Park in downtown Kelowna, B.C. with a fenced-in area for the dodge ball. We used semi-big, covered, nerf dodge balls because we didn't want anybody to lose an eye or anything. Fortunately, Deliverance came out unscathed except for our egos.
We then played PIG basketball where each team had to line up two people to play a game of basketball to PIG. Not as exciting as me having to catch a little pig (not kidding) at last year's Ozark Games, though exciting enough. Oh, did I forget to mention there was a mental-challenge contest? It seems one team was not involved and lost points - hmmm, I wonder what happened here?
We had a great team/group lunch and then played a form of miniature golf on concrete stairs. Because we were in Canada, we had to play the national sport of hockey in one form or another, so we played on the basketball court with sticks and nets and balls -- each member played to sudden death. Oh, did I mention the liquor was flowing at lunch, so things kind of loosened up a bit (no pun intended) and you might see a video go viral by Rob Balsdon in front of the big white sail in downtown Kelowna -- it's called the money dance. Something tells me he has done that dance before. Just saying.
The score was tied up going into the final event which was sand volleyball on the water's edge of Lake Okanagan. Best out of three and team Ryder Hard won. There was then a victory celebration in the water and it seemed like some people came out of the water not quite as they were attired when they went in.
We handed out gold and silver medals and real money to the winning ($150.00) and runner-up ($100.00) teams. We gave out $500.00 cash and a trophy to the MVP player, and $250.00 and a trophy to the most dedicated player. We, for fun, we played a game of wet-sand volleyball for some. Group pictures were shot.
What came out of it? Our new fiscal year starts in September at this property. It was a great way to clean the slate and bring everybody together. And we had some new team members we'd hired in the past year and the day helped blend them into our culture. Needless to say, the next day the office looked like an infirmary ward, but we survived. It's going to be hard to top this one!
Always remember, focus follows fun! If you and your group are having fun, they will work together and make money together. That's just the way it works.