In the event you’ve been thinking about integrating some outdoor team building activities into your employee development programs, we’ve got one big piece of advice for you:  ALWAYS create a team agreement beforehand!

This is something the staff at Dr. Clue has discovered over the years. (Occasionally the hard way…) Even though it might feel a bit like the permission slip sent home before a school field trip, a team agreement is actually a very important document for defining the purpose of the outdoor team building activities, keeping employees on-track, and minimizing the chances of hurt feelings.

What Is a Team Agreement?

A team agreement is just a short document outlining a few of the most important elements of the team building exercises.  The exact contents will depend on your exercises and their goals, but they’ll generally include things like:

  • Listing participants and their phone or email addresses.
  • Picking how decisions are made (dictatorial, voting, etc.).
  • Assigning roles to specific members, like “navigator” or “photographer” with room to fill in the blanks.
  • Defining “win conditions” for the exercise.
  • Explaining the purpose of the activity or desired learning goal.
  • Setting boundaries for geography and personal behavior.
  • Emergency contact instructions in case of major problems.

Tips for Creating Your Own Team Agreement

Have a clear purpose in mind.

If you don’t know the point of your outdoor team building activities, it’s virtually guaranteed your employees won’t either.  Really think about the messages you’re trying to get across, and make those part of the document.

Create ground rules for behavior.

Are you encouraging a “win at all costs” mindset, or a more relaxed “we’re all here to have fun” attitude?  Or something in between?  This is a very important expectation to set beforehand, otherwise someone who’s not ‘on the same page’ as everyone else can become a source of drama.

Set some time constraints.

Obviously, the event will take place within a certain time period, but it’s a good idea to go a little deeper than that.  When you’re incorporating a lot of puzzles into your event, for example, you might have people agree upon a max time spent on any particular puzzle before they move onto the next.

Remember, these don’t have to be dictated beforehand.

When the purpose of the exercise is to increase self-reliance among team-members, micro-managing the event will just undercut that goal.  So, depending on your needs, you might want to leave these things up to group consensus – but make sure they’re agreed upon before the event!

With a little structure in place, outdoor team building activities are a great way to increase trust and cooperation among employees.  A good team agreement creates that structure.

Contact Dr. Clue today to improve your team’s trust and teamwork with our scavenger hunts and other event options!