Teamwork

Try these Teamwork Games at Your Holiday Party

gamers_June2013_webThe holidays are upon us, complete with office treats and parties. This time of year is also a great opportunity to build camaraderie with your co-workers, as well as build unity, strengthen morale, and decrease stress in the office.

Our friends at RefreshLeadership.com put together a list of four teamwork games to play at your next company holiday party, so take a look and tell us which one is your favorite in the comments below!

Office Celebrity
The game Celebrity is great for parties, but this play off of this classic is bound to break any barriers between coworkers and lead to knowing one another better. When workers know more about each other, they tend to work better together!

  1. Break your office into two teams.
  2. Write everyone’s name on separate pieces of paper and place them in a bowl.
  3. Round One: The first team has one member get up and pull a name from the bowl. He or she tries to get their team to guess which worker it is by giving characteristics of that person. After the team guesses it, another name is chosen and so on until a minute has passed. After one minute, the second team picks one member to try and get their team to guess as many names as possible during a minute. This goes on, switching teams and rotating players until all of the names have been guessed. Replace all names back into the bowl. Keep a tally of how many names each team correctly guessed.
  4. Round Two: Same as round one, but each moderator can only use ONE word to describe each name drawn.
  5. Round Three: Same as the previous rounds, but each moderator can’t use words to describe drawn names, but instead must act them out. The team with the most correct names tallied after three rounds wins!

Two Truths, One Lie
Another great way to see how well everyone knows each other is by playing Two Truths, One Lie. This is a fun game that will help team members find out more about one another.

  1. Have your team members bring chairs and sit in a circle.
  2. Tell each person to think of two truths about themselves and one lie.
  3. Have a starting person tell the three stories. It’s best to have the truths be something about them that no one else would know.
  4. After the person says the two truths and lie to the group, have the rest of the team discuss and try and come to a consensus on which story is the lie.
  5. Have the person reveal which is the lie, and then have the next person go.

Trivia
Trivia is one of the most simple to set up and most enjoyable. From history to current events to business questions, engaging in a simple game of trivia will sharpen minds and encourage teamwork and office competition.

  1. Split your employees into teams of three to six people.
  2. Choose three rounds of topics (i.e., World History, Art and Music, Movies, etc.).
  3. Ask five questions involving the first topic. After each question, have a member of each team silently write down an answer on a piece of paper with their team name and turn it in to the trivia moderator.
  4. After each round, give the answers to questions so the teams can keep a tally of how they’re doing.
  5. After three rounds, the team with the most right answers wins. (You may need to have a “lightning round” for a tie breaker.)

Office Scavenger Hunt
One great way to loosen up a stiff work day is to have an office-wide scavenger hunt! Although you could just have a simple search-and-find checklist, this is a great opportunity to engage workers by simple problem solving.

  1. Create an in-depth series of clues with each clue leading to a different one. (This works best in riddles, like “The best way to cure a case of Monday morning tiredness to get you ready for the day.” And then hide the next clue by your office coffee maker.)
  2. Break your office into three to five teams, giving each one the first clue.
  3. Set a time frame for the office to complete the scavenger hunt.
  4. As each team finds the next clue by figuring out where the previous clue was directing them, encourage teams to involve each person during the problem solving process.

This is a competition after all, so offer a prize for the first team that finishes the hunt.

What teamwork games do you play at your holiday parties? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Better Together: Teamwork Games

better_together_teamwork_games_webWe all know that teamwork is vital to the success of a business, but building teamwork takes effort.

According to a recent article by Six Sigma, an online business institute, “Business teamwork is important because it enables companies to achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Companies set goals and these goals cannot be achieved by one person. Members of a business need to work as a team. Put simply, teamwork is the collective performance of different individuals skilled at different activities in order to fulfill a group goal or objective.”

To help you better your teamwork skills and have a little fun, we’ve put together a list of game ideas that will inspire and encourage employees. Try these at your next team building exercise.

The Game of Questions
This is a great game for companies trying to address a problem. As few as 10 people are split into two groups. One team stands in a circle facing out while the other team creates a larger circle around them facing in.

The inner circle asks a question of the person opposite them in the other team. The employee has 30 seconds to answer. After, the person in the outer circle asks the same question. The inner circle then moves clockwise one space while the outer circle moves counter clockwise.

Continue the questions until everyone has answered. Questions could include:

  • “What is your greatest strength?”
  • “What kind of management style works best for you?”
  • “What is your definition of success?”

Tower of Cards
In this game, employees gather in groups of two to five members. Each group receives a pack of cards and a pair of scissors. The teams have to build the best and tallest tower using only the cards and scissors. This game is designed to help with team bonding and creativity.

Dodge the Traps
Try this teambuilding game to increase trust and communication with employees on your team. In a large area, place “traps” around haphazardly. Items for your traps may include balls, bottles, or cones.

In teams of two, blindfold one team member from each team. The other member must speak to the blindfolded employee to try to lead them around the traps in his or her path.

Building Blocks
Create a fictional problem like a brain teaser, design challenge, or riddle. Have team members write their solution or idea on a large sheet of paper. Once one person puts down an idea, pass the paper to the person on the left and have them use the idea to build another solution. As the paper continues around, see what the results are. This game allows people to understand and appreciate the value of everyone’s ideas.

Team building games work and are an excellent way to get employees to connect and work more effectively with each other. What are some of your favorite team building games? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Peak Performer’s Life: Here’s How to Build Trust

walterbond_webBuilding trust is an important part of any relationship—personal or professional. Trust and integrity isn’t about being perfect; but rather, owning up to responsibilities and mistakes, and treating others the same way you would want to be treated. This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond continues his discussion on integrity—how building trust, doing the right thing, and treating others well builds your integrity.

According to Walter:

“I believe you know people who always make excuses, always justify, and try to explain their mistakes away. And here’s why they do it—they are really under pressure to be perfect.”

 

How do you own up to your mistakes? What have you done to show that despite your imperfections, you are dedicated to integrity? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each week for a new message from Walter Bond.

 

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

 

Safety Month 2014: Two Communication Tools

SafetyMonth_June2014_webJune is National Safety Month, and this year the theme from The National Safety Council is “Safety: it takes all of us.” The message is focused on continuous risk reduction.  With that in mind, this is a good time to focus on working as a team to improve safety.

How do our actions impact our co-workers’ safety? How can we inspire or inform our co-workers in working safely? A commitment to continuous risk reduction means asking these questions, speaking up, and working together to take care of safety issues in the workplace. Here are two communication opportunities you can participate in to promote a safe workplace.

  1. Communicating About Near Miss Incidents
    Near miss reporting is a way to recognize hazards before they lead to an injury. A near miss is something that could have led to an accident, but the person was “lucky” not to have been in the wrong place. By reporting near misses and communicating with your co-workers, you can begin to eliminate risks. If everyone understands the preventative goal behind discussing these incidents with one another, this communication strategy can be a good way to prevent future accidents.
  2. Mentor Others
    Another way to continue this year’s theme of “Safety: it takes all of us” in the workplace is by being a mentor.  If you have a group who has learned to look at near misses and take care of risks, have an ongoing plan to share what that group has learned with the team and new employees.  Assign mentor employees to watch new employees perform risky activities, and explain the history of safe practices. Promote everyone’s participation in the group’s safety culture. In the end, the development of this culture of recognizing and eliminating hazards together is the strongest way to continuously reduce the risks associated with the workplace.

Safety Month is every June in the U.S., and serves as an annual reminder to focus on safety prevention and best practices. For more tips on staying safe at work, check out our special section of the Movin’ On Up Blog.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

3 Ways Gamers are Revolutionizing the Work Place

gamers_June2013_webSome people think that video games are simply child’s play but according to a recent AP-AOL Games poll shows, 40% of American adults play video games, and according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) reports nearly 70% are between the ages of 18 and 35. So, it is safe to say many Gen Xers and Millennials in the workplace likely spend their off hours in front of a gaming console or computer.

Video games of the 21st century are expansive and intricate, have a broad spectrum of themes and objectives, and have graphics so realistic that it’s almost a direct reflection of reality. Not only is it entertainment but if you look closely playing them can lead to some beneficial traits for the work place. Here are a few skills that can be gained from picking up a controller.

Leadership
Games often require strategy and teamwork to accomplish objectives or win competitive matches, especially those that pit two teams of six live players against each other. As the other team changes tactics many gamers step up and communicate the change and devise a solution. Or in the instance Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing games (MMORPG) the leader is often established as a leader of a group of players. These individuals direct sometimes more than 150 people to complete quests or battles. Communication, critical thinking, and planning can all be gained from this type of play.

Teamwork
Each leader needs a team that works together effectively. Working together like a well-oiled machine can make or break the outcome of a match or battle. And, since gaming isn’t strictly limited to one region, a player often works with a diverse group of people from other ethnicities and cultures causing them to work through common barriers that global organizations encounter every day. Learning how to play well with others digitally can easily translate to working better with co-workers in the office.

Communication
Gamers are innately physically disconnected from those that they play with. They are separated by miles and are limited usually to verbal communication. Despite this assumed constraint gamers actually excel at effectively communicating through a microphone. Being an adept communicator on the phone and interpersonally can be crucial in the advancement of your career.
These are only a few of the learning opportunities offered to gamers. If you’re a gamer and have learned skills that have allowed you to take command of your career, let us know by commenting below.

Ways to Be A Team Player

Be a Team PlayerI’m fortunate enough to witness teamwork at its best during our annual company conferences. Most jobs require teamwork of some form, whether it’s on a routine basis or just for special projects. In any matter, when a project requires more than one person, it can be a task that is more complicated, time-sensitive, or an extreme undertaking – all of which can make things more stressful. Here are some ways to keep your cool and be a true asset when teamwork is required.

Don’t Ask Why
If you’ve been asked to do something as a team member, as long as it’s not breaking any laws or hurting the company, it’s best just to buckle down and get the job done. Maybe you don’t think moving boxes from one side of the room seems efficient, or you don’t understand why you have to clean up the conference room just because of a top client is visiting. But at this stage of the game you are there to help not to give your opinion. If you’re in the discussion phase of a project, it may be appropriate to offer your thoughts. But if you can sense that the mood of the moment is more “Roll up your sleeves and get to work,” then follow that lead and don’t waste time with “why?”

Don’t Be too Proud
Sure, your typical job assignment might be answering the phone, assembling parts, or invoicing clients, but you are part of a business that has a lot more activity. As long as there aren’t any safety concerns or job description violations, don’t be too proud to go beyond your regular duties to help out. Maybe you need to mop the entryway before a client tour, or perhaps you need to break down boxes and take them to the dumpster to give the team more room to work. Whatever it is, if you see something that needs to be done, and you can help, pitch in and help – that’s teamwork.

Don’t Brag
People notice a team working together, I’ve rarely experienced a time when a great team project wasn’t acknowledged at some point. However, when deadlines are looming there may not be time for accolades. You don’t want to be the only person on the team bragging about your effort to go above and beyond. The point of teamwork is everyone working together; it’s not about one individual contributing more or less than the others. If you try to steal the accomplishments of the team to shine more light on yourself, your opportunities to serve on the team may be less frequent.

Teamwork can be fun, and sometimes special team projects offer a break from your normal duties. Some of my best memories and accomplishments have been while serving on a team, so when someone asks for your help, see it as the opportunity it is.

Share your stories with us when you’ve experienced teamwork at best in the comments section below.

Dealing with Criticism at Work

Dealing With CriticismIt’s inevitable. No matter what you say or do, someone will disagree with you and give you criticism. If you want to grow your responsibilities, develop your skills, and be ready for management, you are going to face criticism. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, “If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.”

Facing criticism can impact not only your work life, but also your everyday life. It can add stress to your increasing workflow, distract you from your important duties, and bleed into your thoughts after work – if you let it. If you don’t handle criticism effectively, it can potentially derail your career.

While you can’t prevent criticism, you can control your reaction so a possible negative situation can be turned into a positive one. Not all criticism is bad and it isn’t always personal. It’s a chance for someone to provide feedback that’s valuable to your career goals. Here is a simple process to handle criticism and improve your career.

Don’t Get Defensive
Whenever we are criticized, generally our first reaction is to shoot down any opposition. It’s easy to take personally and can make you feel like you’ve been put in a corner. Before you quickly rise to defend yourself, give your managers or co-workers the opportunity to express their opinion. They have different perspectives and can see things you don’t. They might have a reasonable point that could get lost if you’re too busy trying to defend yourself.

Pull away from the situation. Treat it like you were observing someone else’s life. This will help you determine whether you are being overly sensitive or if whoever is criticizing you is just being hateful. Being open to the feedback will help you stay cool, calm, and collected. The calmer you are, the more rational you will be, which will help you make better decisions.

Search Your Feelings. You Know Them to be True
Stress and pressure can build when you don’t acknowledge what’s bothering you. Your feelings are a key part of your work performance. By ignoring feelings, you create a larger problem to deal with later. By accepting and then expressing them, you’ll be able to deal more effectively with issues from the start. When you understand how you feel, you can work with your supervisors and co-workers to communicate feedback in a way that is more acceptable and clear to avoid hurting feelings.

Rather than hiding emotions, notice them as they arise without judging yourself or blaming others for making you upset. Find out what your feelings are saying. What are the feelings asking you to do? What new choices can you make to help yourself feel at peace about the criticism? Getting to the bottom of your emotions can help you know the best ways you receive information and feedback and how you can better communicate it.

There’s a Nugget of Gold in There Somewhere
One of the simplest ways prospectors extracted gold during the 19th century was by panning for the valued metal. It was a cheap and easy process dating back to ancient Rome where gravel is scooped into a pan, gently agitated in water, and then the gold sinks to the bottom of the pan. Just as a gold prospector would have to sift through a large number of minerals to find the pieces of gold, you should sift through all criticism of you or your work and determine which ones are worth implementing.

Even if the feedback was conveyed in a less than nice manner, there could be some truth to what is being said to you. You don’t have to be the only deciding factor. If criticism is given from a co-worker, take the feedback to your boss, a mentor, or industry peers to see if it’s valid. You don’t have to make changes from all criticism, but always work to understand them and determine which ones could actually help you.

Get Out There and Grow
Now that you know what feedback is useful, it’s time to implement it. If you’re unsure, discuss it with the person who criticized you to see how you can best apply their ideas. It can build a stronger working relationship when you are showing effort to change your ways and asking for feedback to make those changes. If criticism is coming from your boss, it’s a great opportunity to display your maturity by working to change negative feedback instead of blowing it out of proportion. This way your manager will be more trusting of you and will be more open to giving you honest quality feedback, which will make you a better employee.

Don’t think of criticism as an attack. While you may have to deal with difficult co-workers, most of the time, feedback is meant to be constructive. It’s up to you as to which criticism is useful and which to ignore. If you really can’t handle criticism and really want to avoid it at all costs, you can follow the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s advice, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”