“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
Though it’s debatable Plato is the true source of this quote, the belief that we can learn more from others through the act of play than any other activity still rings true. Just think about it, games have been a major source of personal and organizational development since the beginning. From the days of tag in the schoolyard to the dreaded (often awkward) icebreaker games at corporate events humans use games as a medium to build connections, break down barriers, and get engaged. But games aren’t just about team development, games can have a profound impact at the individual level. The business world is drowning in sports analogies and with good reason, at their core sports (and sports as games) are about strategy, planning, human resource management, and training to deliver the best results. Short of getting physical with competitors business is just like any sport and therefore business is just like any game.
Employee development and team building is big business. Corporations shell out thousands of dollars a year to build and connect their talent in hopes of bringing a big boost to their bottom line and fending off attrition. There are all sorts of options to choose from, ropes courses, cooking classes, fancy dinners, even bathing with managers. Using games seems like a no-brainer. From board games to card games, video games to outdoor games there is an inexhaustible list of options for leveraging the power of gaming.
While outdoor games like softball, capture the flag, and touch football can be great opportunities to develop a team, physical restrictions, weather, and space can make the activity overly complicated and disengaging. Indoor games avoid these pitfalls and still provide all the benefits of any other team building tool on the market.
So what games work?
The short answer: All of them.
Now this isn’t to say just go and grab the first game you get your hands on, in order to maximize the value of this activity you need to consider a few things first:
What is my goal for the team? (build skills, break down silos, unwind, strengthen teamwork)
- What function of the organization am I doing this for? (people in sales may have different interests/skills than those in marketing or engineering)
- Do I have a strategy to make sure my employees take something away from the experience?
- How long do I have for this activity? (30 min? 1 hr?)
- How many people will be involved?
Once you have these points answered you can move on to finding the right game to meet your needs. Head down to your local game store, visit Amazon, or reach out to us at Games to Work for help finding the right game for the job.
No more boring icebreakers, no liability waivers to fill out, and more money left in your budget for other things.
One thing is certain, with games you win!