Tag Archives: Team collaboration

IT Team Building Activities and Game Ideas

IT (information technology) professionals are a unique breed and I’ve been lucky to lead team building activities for some of the best IT teams in the world – Microsoft, Gillette, Kaplan, it’s a long list. Characteristics of IT Teams Here are some characteristics that I have noticed are especially strong in IT teams: customer focus, team-focus, tough-mindedness, drive, vision and conscientiousness. I often get asked by IT team leaders what team building programs are especially effective for IT teams with these characteristics. Before I give my recommendations here are some characteristics of the best, most effective team building activities for IT teams. Five Characteristics of most effective team building activities for IT teams Success is dependent on teams working together Intellectually challenging Strong basis in data Customer service component Clear goal (and it will take a number of steps to get there) And two things that shouldn’t happen: No-one put on the spot individually to perform Nothing too touchy-feely What Team Building Activities I Suggest for IT (and What Has Been Popular with IT teams) Team Quest – Teams complete a customized series of challenges through collaboration and communication. The multi-round aspect with continual improvement and emphasis on team collaboration is perfect for IT Charity Bike Build – Teams build bicycles for underserved children in their area with challenges to complete customized to address (The Charity Bike Build has a strong customer service component) GRPI Team Quest – Explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team building activities. The Goals Roles Process Interpersonal is well researched and step-by-step. Virtual Team Quest – Examine the unique pitfalls virtual teams face and learn how to overcome them in a series of interactive challenges. Many IT teams are communicating virtually more than they are live. Roller Coaster – Innovation rules as you utilize all materials you can access to design and build the world’s most exciting roller coaster. This is a big project that tests resiliency, communication, team collaboration and has a clear goal, also perfect for IT teams. You can find a full menu of team building activities that Quixote Consulting provides here.

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Interpersonal – The I in the GRPI Model

The geese flying south trust each other to spell the lead goose when needed, that the lead goose won’t stay for too long or too short a time, that at a certain point they’ll all need to rest and eat in a safe place before continuing on. And they give each other feedback – you can hear it often. They trust each other and communicate openly. Teams that have successful interpersonal relationships know the individual strengths of members on their team, care about each other as people, make and keep commitments with each other, and take the often difficult actions that establish mutual trust.  The interpersonal relationship piece is an elusive (and often forgotten) part of the GRPI tool. When people do care about each other as people and know that they’re cared about as well, teams become very strong and very durable in the face of adversity. Quixote Consulting’s GRPI Team Quest helps teams explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team building activities.

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GRPI Team Quest: GRPI model and team development tool

The GRPI model is a tool used by teams to increase the effectiveness of their team development, for better project management and many other areas. Developed by Richard Beckhard, the GRPI tool is simple enough to be memorable with enough depth to be useful again and again in a variety of situations. If your team is lost in the weeds, the GRPI model helps team members reconnect with a common purpose and realign with what’s most important for you all. GRPI stands for: Goals Roles Process Interpersonal Quixote Consulting uses action learning to explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team building activities. These team building activities allow teams to go down the GRPI checklist and self-assess their performance. Each of these team building activities is collaborative, with multiple rounds to help teams improve their performance using the GRPI model. All of the activities are also perfect for systems thinking and six sigma ‘lean’ team building. Get a GRPI on your team’s development and go from ‘Good to GRPI’ on the next project your team manages! GRPI Team Activities to Experientially Explore the GRPI Model Some examples of action learning business simulations the GRPI model can be explored experientially are below. On Target Quixote Consulting’s most popular collaborative team building activity In this multi-round activity, the group is separated into smaller groups and given a task: deliver a maximum number of balls into specific buckets within strict time deadlines in the midst of a rapidly changing environment. As the activity progresses, the participants find that they must challenge their own assumptions about competition, problem solving, and “the way it’s always been done,” in order to reach their goals. Innovation, team collaboration and team communication skills are honed in our most popular collaborative team building activity! Picture This You have some of the information but can you communicate what you know? Who will see the big picture? Each person gets images that are part of a larger sequence. Together the group must decipher the sequence and get the images laid out in order without any person seeing anyone else’s images while the clock ticks! Will the group see the big picture in time or will they get bogged down in details…or worse yet, fail to notice a crucial part of the image in time? This complex verbal communication skill builder has a powerful “aha” factor that makes the grand unveiling unforgettable! Make the Connection This puzzling challenge requires the whole group to collaborate and communicate – quickly. Twenty five pieces link in innovative ways. Can you make the connection? This collaborative team building activity challenges groups to communicate with impact, listen actively, foster teamwork and collaboration and get engaged – quickly. Sharing Best Practices: The Big Info Swap Two sub-teams must work to achieve success in two separate activities; however, each team’s success is directly connected to their abilities to share their best practices with the other team. This collaborative team building activity challenges groups to not only collaborate in small groups but actively collaborate and root for other departments in their company. Aces High This giant card game has everyone on the move and communicating quickly. Incredible times are achieved as teams compete head-to-head. The challenge is doubled for a wild finish in a collaborative grand finale! This team building activity challenges groups to realize how compelling and exhilarating it can be to collaborate when given a challenging deadline. Better Get Better In this high-energy, collaborative team building exercise, teams are given a task with a tight deadline. They must develop and improve a solution through successive attempts. As the activity progresses, participants find that they must assign roles, clarify rules, and find ways to improve their scores repeatedly. They also learn from watching other teams, and must decide whether competition or collaboration with others will achieve their goals more effectively. Practical and Applicable At Quixote Consulting, we know how important it is for any new training knowledge to be practical and applicable. That’s why we put such great emphasis on immediate and realistic application. Participants leave with a plan in place for employing their new skills in the coming week and beyond. Energetic and Fun We also know that people respond best to presentations that are energetic, interactive and fun. There is always laughter in the session. And the unique methodologies we employ definitely help – we’ve used the modalities of chocolate and even wine pairing to explore the workshop content. Any of our fun team building programs can be easily combined with this workshop to create that magical mix of meaningful fun. The Best of the Best Quixote Consulting’s research team gathers the latest management and leadership research and sifts through that impressive collection of knowledge and wisdom. We then distill what we’ve found into what is most important, memorable and applicable to you and your team. In short, we do the work so your people can benefit the most. Lasting Impact Participants walk away from the session with practical understanding of how the GRPI model is a tool that can be immediately applied to their individual work situations, as well as a vision of the powerful productivity possible in a team that recognizes and leverages all team members’ strengths using the Goals Roles Process Interpersonal model. We stretch our time together (and your training dollars) by including (optional) pre-workshop assignments, post-event success tools and coaching. Customization We customize key components of the workshop to ensure that you get the right material to the right people at the right time, maximizing the return on your investment. We take into account your unique team situation and your desired outcomes. Results Gain a deep understanding of the powerful GRPI model Learn how to use GRPI as a tool for project management, team development, personal development and more Achieve clarity in team goals, roles, processes and improve interpersonal relationships Explore the GRPI model in a series of interactive business simulations Participate in a brainstorming session using one of your own current business challenges using the GRPI model as a guide Formats Available: Half-Day Workshop One-Day Workshop Two-Day Workshop We also recommend: Individual coaching to maximize the effectiveness of your training investment Fun Team Building events  all of which are designed to explore the training material in an enjoyable, interactive setting Quixote Consulting’s GRPI […]

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Process – The P in the GRPI Model

You hear geese flying south long before you see them. They’re constantly communicating with each other – it’s a very efficient process. I don’t know what they’re communicating, but it clearly works very well. They don’t stop mid-flight to argue about directions, who’s going to make decisions or deal with internal conflict. I’m sure it comes up for them in some manner, but they clearly have an elegant, simple process that allows them to deal with it when it does come up. Standardized processes for teams have the same benefit. Successful teams have clear (and frequent) communication, constructive ways of dealing openly with inevitable conflict, as well as elegant processes for group decision making. Noel Tichy found unclear process to be the third most important cause of group conflict. Quixote Consulting’s GRPI Team Quest helps teams explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team building activities.

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Roles – The R in the GRPI model

The goal is clear for the geese flying south. So are their roles. They each take turns at the front, the most challenging position in the flock. The other geese tuck in behind in each other’s slipstream, drafting each other to conserve strength. The lead goose neither stays too long or too briefly in this lead role. He or she doesn’t worry about perceived authority or hierarchy – if you’re fresh and have energy from resting, you’re going in the front. When you’re tired, you’re getting helped. Clear roles let people on the team know who’s doing what and who is responsible for what. People know for sure who has authority to do what (authority that’s based on expertise and talents, not hierarchy), who’s accountable for completion of specific tasks. Noel Tichy found that this is the next most common cause of group conflict after unclear goals. Quixote Consulting’s GRPI Team Quest helps teams explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team buil

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GRPI Model: An Introduction to the GRPI Tool

The GRPI model is a tool used by teams to increase the effectiveness of their team development, for better project management and many other areas. Developed by Richard Beckhard, the GRPI tool is simple enough to be memorable with enough depth to be useful again and again in a variety of situations. If your team is lost in the weeds, the GRPI model helps team members reconnect with a common purpose and realign with what’s most important for you all. GRPI stands for: Goals Roles Process Interpersonal Goals – The G in the GRPI Model Imagine a flock of geese flying south for the winter. You hear them first and search for them up in the sky. There, high overhead they are in a V formation or long line, heading south in a clear direction. Their goal is clear. They know where they are going. They don’t know what they’ll encounter along the way, but their inner GPS has the destination programmed in. Goals give direction to a team, and to an individual. This is the first step for any successful venture, to have a common target, to know who you are and where you want to go. Noel Tichy also says that unclear goals are the cause of 80% of team conflict. If a goal isn’t clear (and agreed on by everyone on the team), there isn’t much hope of success. Gallup’s Q12 survey of employee engagement begins with: “Do I know what is expected of me at work?” Goals are where it all begins – the first and most important step. Quixote Consulting uses action learning to explore the GRPI model with a series of engaging multi-round team building activities in GRPI Team Quest: GRPI model team development and team building activities.

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What to do when you pause – five possibilities

I’ve been writing about pauses that create a chance for something better to come into your existing work. Here are five possibilities for your pauses. Look at what has happened so far. What are your successes, failures? What do you want to keep doing, what do you want to change? How do you want to redirect your energy? Do something completely different that’s active. Stand up, stretch, breathe deeply. Walk around for a few moments. Find beauty and let it in. This could be a song, an image, a flower, nature, sunlight, anything. Meditate. Follow your breath. Clear out any thoughts – worries, anxieties, brilliant ideas, anything. Just watch your breath coming in and out. Visualize. See the positive outcome you long for. See you in the vision and watch yourself complete all of the steps necessary to get there. In Quixote Consulting’s Team Collaboration Quest, our consultants focus on multi-round team building activities to help teams work better together. Pausing creates a multi-round day.

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The Top Ten easiest places to pause your day (beginnings and endings)

I recently wrote about using strategic pauses to improve your work and life experience. Here are ten of the easiest places to take those pauses, natural breaks in your work. You’ll notice that they’re all either beginning or endings Just before the work day begins (definitely before you open your email account) At the end of the day. Before you break for lunch. Immediately after lunch. At the beginning of the week. At the end of the week. At the beginning of a project At the end of a project At the end of a month, season, year At the beginning of a month, season, year My pauses this week at the beginning of the work day and at the end have been very, very beneficial. Where do you want to take your next pause? In Quixote Consulting’s Team Collaboration Quest, our consultants focus on multi-round team building activities to help teams work better together. Pausing creates a multi-round day.

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Want to get better? – Pause to get to the next level

In Quixote Consulting’s Team Collaboration Quest, our consultants focus on multi-round team building activities to help teams work better together. Teams are challenged to do something better, faster, more accurately. In between each performance round, the team has a chance to learn from their last try, to regroup, to focus on the big picture, on collaboration, on communication and how they can be more effective on their next try. Teams get three to four attempts at each game. In the debrief at the end, the teams invariably point to their planning time as their make or break time. The teams that were able to pause from the action, learn from their past triumphs and failures and improve their big picture were extremely successful compared to their first round. Teams that weren’t able to pause and communicate weren’t successful. The next comment teams usually make in the debrief is that their work isn’t multi-round. They only have one chance to get it right. And, there are lots of other games being played at the same time. How can you get to the next level of success in the face of that? Pause. Just pause a moment, longer if you dare. Pause and consider the big picture, pause to breathe, pause to learn from how you’ve been doing what you have to do. The pause breaks a loop of sameness and introduces the possibility of improvement – of your performance, your mood, your intelligence, your energy. This pause of purpose brings in the possibility of play and passion to your persistence. These strategic pauses shift your mono-activity to a multi-round one. If you want to get better at anything important to you – a work project, interacting with co-workers, articulating your feelings to your mate, connecting with your children, anything, anywhere, any time. The teams we’ve worked with will tell you – if you make whatever you’re doing a multi-round activity you’ll be better off.

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“There’s gonna be a big hootenanny…” Bill Byrne on Collaboration, Music and Having a Top 40 Hit

Bill Byrne is a renaissance man: a lawyer, judge, mayor (of Morgantown, West Virginia) and musician with a Top 40 song. He’s packed a lot of living into his life. He also tells a great story. I caught up with Bill at a Hero’s Journey Foundation weekend retreat where we played a lot of music together. Listen below to learn how Bill was able to move from competition to collaboration in law and politics, what it’s like to have a Top 40 hit as a teenager, what it’s like to be the family musician, and simply enjoying the act of playing music. You can also hear Hootenanny – his Top 40 hit from the summer of 1963 with his band the Glencoves – both the original version (thanks to YouTube) and a special solo acoustic version recorded just for you. The words are also below if you’d like to sing along. Listen and enjoy the Mayor of Morgantown’s musical story! Listen here: The journey from competition to collaboration Bill’s Musical Journey “It’s always brought out a better part of me” – On being the family musician Letting Go of Perfectionism and Just Enjoying the Act of Making Music Hootenanny solo acoustic version Check out the songs on YouTube: Hootenanny Here are two other songs by Bill’s band The Glencoves: It’s Sister Ginny’s Turn to Throw the Bomb Devil’s Waitin’ (On Bald Mountain) Sing Along at Home! Here are the words to The Glencoves Top 40 hit Hootenanny: There’s gonna be a big Hootenanny, hootenanny Everybody’s gonna come along All join in at the Hootenanny, hootenanny Sing a hooting, hollering song Put on your hat Put out the cat Bring a little money Cause you might need that Throw out the blues Kick off your shoes Sing a little, sing a little Make a little love a little Bring a little honey to The hootenanny, hootenanny Everybody’s gonna have a date Hurry hurry, hurry to The hootenanny, hootenanny We don’t wanna be late You get the girls I’ll get the car Bring a banjo and an old guitar Get out the spoons You know the tunes Hey diddle diddle with A fiddle in the middle If you can’t fiddle At the hootenanny, hootenanny Play a little paper and comb Once you get to the Hootenanny, hootenanny You’ll never wanna go home You get the girls I’ll get the car Bring a banjo and an old guitar Get out the spoons You know the tunes Hey diddle diddle with A fiddle in the middle If you can’t fiddle at the Hootenanny, hootenanny Play a little paper and comb Once you get to the Hootenanny, hootenanny You’ll never wanna go home You’ll never wanna go home You’ll never want to go home

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