Stuck in a Rut? Build Club Bonds through Team Building Lions know what Aristotle meant when he said that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Club members rely on one another to carry out stellar service projects, pull off prosperous fundraisers and run efficient meetings. When a Lions team is at its best, it’s an unstoppable force. But it’s not unusual for some bumps in the road to arise, creating challenges for club members to stay connected, feel valued or communicate effectively. At times like these, Lions may want to have an arsenal of team building activities to draw from to boost club morale and productivity. Many Lions have experienced team building activities, perhaps at a forum, convention or retreat. Team building activities are sometimes silly, sometimes difficult, but always put participants a little out of their comfort zones with the goals of improving problem solving, communication, leadership or other team-related qualities. While team building will at a minimum be fun to engage in, there are a few things to keep in mind to create a lasting and meaningful impact on club dynamics. Know Your Goal “Before starting any team building activity, you have to identify your goals. Success comes from your goals,” says Leslie G. Ungar, founder and president of Electric Impulse Communications, Inc. (www.electricimpulse.com). Ungar, who has worked with organizations across the country, says that groups must have a clear idea of what the team building is intended to improve or change. “A team building activity cannot change anything itself. But with attainable goals and an honest eye on your group’s strengths and weaknesses, team building can make a weak area stronger, or a strong area even stronger,” says Ungar. Choose the Right Activity Whether the goal is enhancing communication, decisionmaking or attitudes, the activity should be strategic to that aim. “What does your group need to do more of? Do they need to strengthen leadership? Do they need to be able to disagree while remaining friendly? Choose activities that will match the specific needs of the group,” says Ungar. Also remember to consider the group’s comfort levels and capabilities. “A physical activity may not be fun for everyone. You have to make sure that the activity is inclusive and fun for all,” Ungar points out. Make it Count At the conclusion of an activity, give time for discussion. This reflection gives the group the opportunity to process their experience as well as apply what they learned to everyday club functioning. “When members feel that there is a safe environment in which to participate, they will share ideas. Everyone should share in assessing success and offering feedback for moving forward,” says Ungar. What happens after that is up to the club. Unger adds, “The good news is that it’s just an exercise. The bad news is that it’s just an exercise. It won’t necessarily change anything long term, but it can be a foundation for change.” –Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt Team Building: Try It To improve communication: Blind Numerical Order Blindfold all the participants. Whisper a number to each of them (do not allow other participants to hear). Once every participant has a number, instruct them to arrange themselves in numerical order without speaking or the use of sight. To improve teamwork: Human Machines Have small groups create machines out of humans by imitating the appearance and action of the machine. Examples include becoming a blender, lawn mower, copy machine or washing machine. To build trust and communication skills: Back-to-Back Drawing Divide the group into pairs sitting back-to-back. Give one person in each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person a pencil and paper. Have the people holding the pictures give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape. After they've finished, ask each pair to compare their original shape with the actual drawing and discuss.
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