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Kelsey M Jackson
Apr 14, 2016

SOLD (Student Org Leadership Development) Blog Post: Building a Team

Apr 14, 2016 by Kelsey M Jackson

Have you ever felt a disconnect between the members in your organization? Or, are you struggling to bring your organization together?

Building your organization or team is SO IMPORTANT to retaining your members, creating/maintaining an active member base, and making sure your organization is around for years to come!

A Team is:

an energetic group of people who:

  • are committed to achieving common objectives;
  • work well together and enjoy doing so; and
  • produce high quality work

First Things First

When planning team building activities, you need to understand 1) your student organization and 2) the stage of group development you organization is at. Learn more about Tuckman's Stages of Group Development>> 

Once you understand the culture of your organization and what stage of group development you're in, you can design activities that will fit your organization and help move you towards the next stage of development!

Team Building is:

the process of forming diverse individuals to a group who share common goals, objectives, and expectations, as well as a commitment to one another

Ingredients for Successful Team Building

1) An Uninterrupted Block of Time - Make sure you block off an adequate amount of time for your Team Building (2-4 hours is ideal). Also, plan activities that align with the culture of your organization and the amount of time your members have to meet.

2) A Comfortable, Informal Environment - Make sure your members feel like they can be their genuine self and have fun! Plan your space according to the activities you have planned.

3) A Relaxed, Open-Minded Group of People- Team building is most effective if everyone is open minded and willing to be silly or serious (depending on the activity) and a group that wants to be there. Making sure everyone is there for the same reason (to build the team) is key to ensure successful team bonding.

4) An Agenda/Plan - Make sure you have some sort of plan of the activities you want to do with your group. As the coordinator of the team bonding, it is so important to have some sort of structure. You are the expert on your organization and the people in it, so make sure you are planning activities that will work for your organization. Also, don't be afraid to mix it up - have a range of activities from silly to serious and everything in between. Above all else, make sure the activities you are planning will stimulate growth, sharing, and bonding.

*Things to be Mindful of When Planning*

-Member's physical limitations

-How comfortable your members may or may not be with physical contact

When & Why Should Leaders Plan Team Building Activities?

Team Building is appropriate for:

  • Brand-new groups
  • An organization with a large number of new members
  • Groups in which the members seem bored or irritable
  • Groups whose members have been apart for a while
  • Groups that want a break from the normal routine
  • Groups that want to boost their 'team spirit'

& Can be scheduled as part of:

  • New Officer Training
  • New Member Orientation
  • Group Retreats
  • Goal-Setting Session

Team Building Activities

Below are just some ideas of team-builders based on the stage of group development your organization is in. There are TONS of teambuilders out there,  look for ones that will work the best for your organization.

Stage 1: Getting Acquainted (Forming)

Interviews - group members pair up and interview each other for five minutes. Partners then introduce each other to the group, including everything they can remember about each other

Stage 2: Sharing Expectations (Storming)

"I Expect" Exercise - the leader passes out 3"x5" notecards on which members list their expectations of the leader, officers, members, advisors, and themselves. Cards are collected and responses listed on a larger piece of paper that everyone can see. Responses are then respectfully discussed and then adopted or rejected by the group

Stage 3: Clarifying Goals (Norming)

Group Goal Setting - members participate in reviewing previous goals and setting the group's goals for the coming year

Stage 4: Developing Working Relationships (Performing)

Rap Session - host an informal or unstructured group discussion to talk about things like:

  • How decisions will be made
  • What do our working styles look like
  • How will we make sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute
  • How will we resolve differences or handle conflict
  • How will we hold each other accountable to completing tasks or other organizational responsibilities they may have

The GREATEST thing about teambuilding activities is that you can customize them to your organization. Try to add elements that relate to your organization in the activities you choose - ex. if you are the Astronomy Organization, have one of the things the partners have to find out about each other in Interviews be their favorite constellation and why.

You can also check out are this packet of Icebreakers & Teambuilders or our Team Building & Breaking the Ice Pinterest Board for more ideas on team building activities.

If you ever have any questions about  team building or student organizations, do not hesitate to reach out to Student Involvement via email or phone (806-742-5433)

Center for Campus Life | |  (806) 742-5433

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