Adventura has over 20 years experience in corporate facilitation and training development. We’d like to share our knowledge to help you create stronger team dynamics. 

Recreational vs Developmental Team Building

What is the difference between recreational and developmental team building?

Recreational team building, commonly referred to as morale events, can take many forms. For instance, having drinks together, going bowling, and attending a holiday party are events that take teams away from their task for a short time in order to provide them a chance to relax and blow off steam. Morale events connect people, which in turn creates feelings of “togetherness” or “community” that are often short lived, because the event lacks a direct connection to a team’s existence.

Experience-based Training and Development (Teaming) is about providing team members with a facilitated experience where collaboration, creative thinking, reflection and dialog are paired with activities that simulate pressure on the team dynamic in order for members to gain insight into the maintenance of healthy team dynamics. Appropriate activities are: professionally facilitated workshops.

The Art of Play

People love to play.  It can have a profound impact on our relationships, ourselves, and our ability to relate to others. Using our imaginations, creatively thinking, exploring what we think and feel through play is as natural as breathing. Play makes us feel good, it helps us deepen our connectivity to each other and strengthens sense of self in the process. It offers us a chance to practice being.

At Adventura, we help people actively explore and share their unique ways of seeing the world – while having a whole lot of fun in the process.

Corporate Adventure Training – By Simon Priest

This document, is a robust presentation of Corporate Adventure Training, it’s applications, effects, and integrity. It is by no means “light” reading. That being said, venture on if you really want to understand the cornerstone of Experience-based Training and Development.

The DEEP Document – The Definition, Ethics and Exemplary Practices of Experiential Training and Development. 

Initiative Background

The Definition, Ethics and Exemplary Practices of Experiential Training and Development (DEEP ETD) Initiative began as the outgrowth of a number of conversations that took place in late 1996 and early 1997. Bill Proudman drafted and submitted the initial proposal in the early summer of 1997 to Ellerie Brownfain, chair of the Experienced-Based Training and Development (EBTD) Professional Group Leadership Council of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE). The Initiative was designed to:

1. Create a common working definition of Experiential Training and Development (ETD) that can be used by clients, providers and practitioners, the AEE’s EBTD Professional Group, and others in the industry to better define the breadth and scope of the field.

2. Establish ethical guidelines for ETD practitioners.

3. Define exemplary practices of ETD services for providers and practitioners

Teambuilding or Recreation in Business Meetings?

A Strategic Approach to Organizational Development

By Scott Chreist, Adventura Consulting

The lines between business meetings, recreational entertainment, and teambuilding have blurred greatly over the last 20 years. Offsite meetings tend to focus on the business component in the morning, followed by lunch, and entertainment in the afternoon or evening. While most believe work should come before play, this sequence is not the most effective strategy in ensuring peak team dynamics and performance. Here is why:

Teambuilding has become a collective term for various types of activities used to enhance social relations, organizational principles, and as a tool for organizational development. Teambuilding should be divided into two primary categories: Recreational Entertainment and Experience-based Training and Development. The key is to identify the objectives of bringing the team together. By doing this, the appropriate mechanisms of support emerge.

Recreational Entertainment is about playing together to create social bonds, learning about the character of ones’ peers, and fostering a sense of community through shared experiences that have minimal direct connectivity to business objectives.

Experience-based Training and Development is about providing team members with a facilitated experience where collaboration, creative thinking, reflection and dialog are paired with activities that simulate pressure on the team dynamic in order for members to gain insight into the maintenance of healthy team dynamics.

Most meeting agendas include “teambuilding” as a luxury reward. The truth is, professional teambuilding should be one of the highest priorities of any organization interested in fostering healthy internal dynamics.

Given this knowledge, what is the best strategy for offsite meetings?

Determine your objective(s)

  • If the goal is to present information and socialize, the traditional format is effective: coffee, presentation, lunch, recreate and wrap-up.
  • If the objective is asking members to provide input, strategize, or collaborate, begin your meetings with teambuilding. Doing so will result in higher engagement, deeper creative collaboration, and greater participant investment.
  • If developing team dynamics is the primary objective, integrate a training regimen specific to your team.

Once you’ve determined your objectives:

  • Engage a specialist to facilitate the participant experience throughout the entire offsite timeline.
  • Convey what you’d like the meeting or event to accomplish, and how it relates to developing effective team dynamics.
  • Ensure attendance. There are few greater negative impacts to team dynamics than having individuals fail to respect the investment everyone else is making by not being present and on-time. To help ensure attendance, promote the event in advance, including teasers about the benefits and key takeaways attendees may glean by attending.
  • Sequence the timeline. Staging the experience is an oft overlooked element of meeting plans. In many instances, the timeline of an offsite meeting is cobbled together. Proper sequencing of offsite meetings can foster peak engagement, deeper connectivity, meaningful collaboration, and healthier team dynamics.

If you’ve determined the best use of time and resources is to combine your business meeting with a team activity, frontload the meeting with team activity, and follow it with the business components. Make use of the energy it creates. Let it lubricate the connectivity between members. Participants will be energized, full of fresh ideas, and knowledge. Their minds will be focused on creative thinking and ripe for collaboration.

Tempting as it may be to follow the traditional corporate meeting format, thinking strategically about your goals and objectives will deliver a better outcome. Save your organization time and money by being proactive about your organizational development.

Scott Chreist is founder and director at Adventura Consulting, which specializes in EBTD programs for a wide range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses.

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