EPIC Company Retreat Team Building
A well curated and expertly executed team building event can be just the highlight experience that your team needs to get connected and excited about the future. This short article is a highlight of some of the most impactful team building style events we’ve seen over the course 500+ retreats and offsites over the years.
First, and foremost, we operate with an aggressive stance that effective team building events cannot be out-of-the-box experiences. If you’re engaging a vendor and they are not asking you about your team, the culture and the goals of the event; hang up the phone and try someone else. Customization, in every way, is essential to creating an event that’s going to move the needle and show ROI to your leadership team.
Now the fun part! Here are 10 highly customizable team building events for your next company retreat.
The Team Olympics
This well-structured event can be pulled off with big-impact for teams more with more than 40 people on the retreat. We’ve run modified versions of this with up to 330 people! For starters, you’re going to want to find a large open area. If your venue can’t offer an area on-site, look for a beach or public park for the event.
The first thing you want to do it split the group into teams. We recommend keeping it under 12 people per team. This will enable everyone to be critically involved in the various games within the olympics. Essentially, the smaller the teams, the better. Our preferred method of organizing teams also involves an Ice Breaker activity.
Step 1. Ice Breaker and Organizing Teams: At this point you have a group of people in an open field starring at you for direction. Start it off with an Ice Breaker for the group. Everyone needs to organize themselves in a long single-file line. The front of the line will be the first person hired at the company (usually a co-founder up there) and the last person in line will be the last person who was hired on the event.
The Rub: You cannot use months, numbers or dates of any kind to organize into this line. You must use various things from the companies past to settle into the line.
Now, you have your entire group in a single-file line. Starting with the first person in line, give each person a number based on the number of teams you have decided on. We love this way of organizing teams because it is completely randomness. You’re going to get the CEO with one of the last hires and people who work across various departments, working together at last.
Step 2. Name Your Team: Based on the number of teams, you should have a corresponding number of tables set-up for each team to converge on after Step 1 above. Here, each time is tasked with naming their team and designing their team flag. We use PVC, a thick canvas and fabric markers for each team to accomplish this step. After 15 minutes, we ask each team to elect a captain to come to the middle of the tables and explain their team name and describe the flag.
Step 3: The Relay Race: The first of the olympics games. This is a fast-paced, high-energy relay race designed specifically to hit on things unique to your team. We try to arrange the relay race to incorporate the same number of challenges to the number of people on each team. That way, each person has their chance to compete in the challenge. When teams sizes are large than 8 people per team, we start to think about 2-person challenges so that 2 people on each team have to work together to accomplish the challenge they have taken on. This relay race is typically very quick. Not lasting more than 8 minutes - depending on the number of people of each team.
Step 4: Team Photo: The team has 6 minutes to create a tower of people and have to have one person on top of that tower waving their team flag. Once every team has someone at the top of the tower, we take team photos. Then we place the Olympic Fanfare song and last team with the flag bearer still on top wins this challenge.
Start Adding in Additional Stops on the Olympic Tour: Use some of the games below to spice up the olympic event. Remember to think about your company, the demo and psycho graphics of the people on the retreat. Sales teams typically need a different set of challenges and games to get fired up than say, an engineering team.
The Gauntlet: This one is not for the faint of heart! Once your team has gone through all of the above challenges, they are ready for all-out war! Line every team on the edge of a coned off area except for one team at a starting line. Everyone on the sidelines has a ball of some sort. We use soft practice golf balls and ball-pit balls this. When the starting gun goes off, the team has to make it from the starting line through the finish line without getting hit by a ball. The team that gets the most non-pegged people across the finish line wins. If there is a tie, the top teams that tied must go through the gauntlet again. Except this time, they have to protect one player from getting by moving together the gauntlet.
Land Mines: Watch out where you step! Two teams go head-to-head in this battle of communication. To give you an idea, the perfect field is beach volleyball court or similar. Each team picks one person to be blindfolded and go through the field of Land Mines. Each of the elected blindfolded persons stand back-to-back to start the game. But, before we start. The opposing team has 60 seconds to set-up the landmines and point-cones on the competitors side of the court. Once the land mines are set, it’s time to make it across the court. Out of the 30 land mines set, there are also 5 point-cones that each team needs to collect before crossing the finish line. The non-blindfolded members of the team have to talk to the blindfolded member to help them avoid stepping on the landmines while collecting the point-cones.
Wilderness Survival Workshop: One of our all-time favorite events to host with teams. This is a more unstructured team building event that allows everyone to go home with a new, awesome skill to share with friends and family. Our teams learn how to build shelters, navigate when lost in the wilderness, start fires from two sticks and track down food and water. We’re saying that we can drop your team in the tundra in the dead of winter for 2 weeks and you’ll be living like nothing happened but, it’s sure is a great way to spend a couple hours together in a unique environment.
If you need any ideas or help planning team building retreats or events for your team, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We plan and manage retreats for over 500 startups throughout each year. Our expertise is in designing unique events that are customized based on your teams goals, vision and budget.