We get a lot of nervous calls from people who’ve been asked to plan an executive team building event for their VIPs. It’s understandable – these are the people who they’re trying to impress day-in and day-out, so of course they want to keep them happy. So, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re planning an executive team building event…
It’s important to remember that your executives, like you and me, are people too. And, like you and me, they want to have a good time! Don’t get overly concerned about making the executive team building event uber-sophisticated. When calling about an executive team building event, people always say, “It can’t be anything silly.” We get it – you don’t want your CEO to be sporting a lampshade on his or her head – they have a reputation to live up to after all. But, don’t err on the side of caution either – you may not want to plan something silly, but you also don’t want your executives to be bored silly. To find that happy balance, ask yourself:
- What is the purpose behind the executive team building event? Are they brainstorming ideas for the future? Then loosen up their minds by planning a creative executive team building event. For instance, in our Make a Scene event executives receive an iPad with a movie-making app and they could be challenged with creating a sci-fi movie that touches on what the company looks like 50 or 100 years from now. Are they problem-solving? Then get them in that mode with an event like our Unlock The Mystery event that finds executives racing against the clock to use props to solve clues to unlock a chest.
- How well do the executives know one another? If they know one another well, it’s okay to select an executive team building event that finds the same group of people working together throughout the event. But, if one of the goals of the executive team building event is to allow executives to get to know one another better, you may want to pick an event like our Mix It Up event that incorporates a mixer activity between all participants at the start of the event and then pairs executives on new teams for every challenge.
- Do they want to do the executive team building event on site at the retreat location, or do they want to explore the surrounding area? If they want to go “out and about” you may want to plan something like our iTech Trek in which teams receive an iPad loaded with challenges that must be done throughout an area of interest.
- Do they want to improve their leadership skills? Then, consider pairing a fun speaker, like our favorite, Dave Mitchell from The Leadership Difference, with an executive team building event that puts the skills they’ve learned from Dave to the test in a fun way afterwards.
- Do they want a charitable executive team building event? Planning an event that gives back to the local community is always a safe bet – there’s nothing silly about helping others! Know your executives. Will they be happiest going out into the community, rolling up their shirtsleeves and getting hands on with an event such as fixing up a park? Or, would they like to stay in a climate-controlled area and help kids become as successful as they are one day? If so, our College Prep event, where they compete in fun challenges to win items that are assembled into laundry baskets to outfit the dorm rooms of scholarship students who need help with the basics, is perfect.
- What are their interests and how can they be woven into an executive team building event? For instance, we created a Talladega Nights-themed car-racing event for one client because the top executive was a fan of the movie. Do your executives like fine wine? Something like our Blend Together event, in which they learn about wine blending and then get to try their hand at blending, would be ideal. We can design a custom event to satisfy your needs.
- What’s going on that could be tied into the executive team building event? Is it football season? Plan something like our Football Frenzy event that ties in football-themed challenges. Are they in a unique location? Plan an activity that takes advantage of where you are. Something like our Amazing Chase is ideal due to its adaptability. It can wrap in challenges with an urban feel if they’re in a big city, such as trying their hand at being a Spin DJ, or it can incorporate something like paddle-boarding to a clue spot in the middle of the lake if the event is hosted in a more natural setting.
Planning the perfect executive team building event may seem like a daunting task, but if you take the time to explore these 7 simple questions, you’ll be well on your way to setting up an amazing event for your executive leadership group.
When I hear trainers who conduct serious team building events say that team bonding activities aren’t important, I start to resemble our wild hare mascot, Wild Harry. My nose starts twitching and I thump my foot down in frustration.
Yes, it’s beneficial to companies to host skills-based programs to enhance team knowledge. But, it’s equally beneficial to host play-based events to enhance team bonding. And, here is why:
Team bonding activities allow employees to, well – bond!
And, to see one another as real, flesh-and-blood people. They’re no longer “that number cruncher from Accounting.” They’re now Alan with two kids who has a hysterical sense of humor. It’s easy to let “the number cruncher from Accounting” down. But, it’s not as easy to let Alan down. That’s what really well planned and effective team building activities can do.
It’s hard to feel close to your team when you work in a cubicle or remotely all day.
Technology is a beautiful thing, but email means you can interact with fellow employees without the need to see or speak to a human being all day. If you want your people to care about your company and their fellow employees, they have to interact face-to-face and team bonding activities allow them to do just that.
Team bonding games and activities are fun! Fun energizes your team. Fun makes people happy.
Think about a typical school day. Teachers know they need to educate students with skills-based activities. Teachers know students have to work. But, teachers also know students need to blow off steam at recess. In fact, according to Stanford research, recess helps students feel more engaged and positive about their day. Just because we’re grown up, doesn’t mean we don’t still need recess. And, don’t you want your employees to feel more engaged and positive about their day?
Hosting team bonding events can make your employees feel more appreciated.
When you host a skills-based activity, they know your investment went towards making them better at their job, which translates into money for your company. But, when you host a team bonding event, they know that investment didn’t go directly towards the bottom line. It lets them know you are investing in perks and making them happy. Interestingly enough, however…
Team bonding activities do help your bottom line!
When employees are happy, like the people they work with and feel that their company cares about them, they stay at their job. Recruiting and training new employees takes a lot of time and money, so why wouldn’t you want to encourage team bonding?
Finally, don’t believe those trainers and academic types who tell you that team bonding activities don’t build skills. They do!
Yes, a treasure hunt is a team bonding activity, but clues can reinforce company information and help people hone their problem-solving skills. Sure, your employees may get a little silly when they do a creative event, like a “make a movie” team bonding activity. But, the theme of the movies can focus on corporate goals or product benefits and even showcase your team’s hidden talents! Host a variety of team bonding activities to put their different abilities into play each time.
And, what does the company that plans team building events for a living do as a group to encourage team bonding? We’ve treated ourselves to a spa day, gone shoe shopping, walked together in a 5K, had a girl’s game night, done a charitable team bonding experience at Fallin’ Pines Critter Rescue, and, challenged ourselves with Escape Room experiences to name a few! And, today we did it again! We had lunch, took new head shots and team photos, got massages and broke out the Easter baskets. Come on, admit it…doesn’t it make you want to work here too (just a little bit)? And, that is the importance of team bonding!
Wildly Different, which offers events worldwide, has a history of operating team building in Phoenix and Scottsdale for years.
But, we’re happy to announce that we now have an office based in the area, making it even easier for us to offer team building in Phoenix!
Our very own Manager of Making It Happen, McKenzie Kaufeld Counts moved to the area in November. She’s been busy making contacts and learning as much as possible about her new home. Here are some insights she’s made that may help if you’re looking to host a team building in Phoenix or Scottsdale:
It’s possible to do team building in Phoenix that goes beyond the Jeep tour
Many groups love to take a Jeep tour for their team building in Phoenix. We think it’s a “hot” (in more ways than one) activity too! But, it does have its limitations. For instance, you’d be hard pressed to take a large group out, as the number of Jeeps are limited. Thankfully, Wildly Different has options for team building in Phoenix and Scottsdale that can be done at or around your event venue in the Valley including:
Hunts that allow you to explore while doing a team building in Phoenix & Scottsdale & beyond
There are so many places to visit in the area – from Phoenix, to Old Town Scottsdale, downtown Tempe, or even the beautiful Papago Park etc. And, there are equally as many different types of hunts you could host for your team building in Phoenix. It all depends on the profile of your group. Traditional team building treasure hunts are an ideal way to get your team to use creativity, strategic thinking and communication skills. They’re also a great way to weave in company information! But, if you simply want your team to have fun and explore the area, something like our Epic Selfie Quest would be perfect, as teams simply have to collect photos and scavenger hunt items. For those looking for a high-tech option, our iTech Trek outlines a variety of challenges on a team iPad. And, we’ve hosted Amazing Race-themed events that are, well…amazing!
Western-themed events – the perfect theme for a team building in Phoenix & Scottsdale
Some of the favorites that we’ve hosted here include an event that has guests making chuck wagons out of fruits, vegetables and other parts and then racing them on a track! Or, if you prefer something more life-sized, there’s Wagons Ho, which has teams transforming a regular cart into a wagon and their people into horses that pull it and a rider along a race route. Another one you can lasso is our Make a Scene event. It puts your team’s creativity to the test, as teams must recreate a famous western film with a company themed twist. And for those who like to puzzle out conundrums instead of using their creative flair, there’s Escape The Gold Mine. This popular favorite builds on the popularity of Escape Rooms, but can be done for any size group! If you need team building in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Wildly Different has a host of options or we can create a custom themed team building event just for you.
A golf-themed team building event in Phoenix & Scottsdale is a no-brainer!
Teams can build their own golf course using items that are donated to charity afterwards. Or, they could build their own 19th hole in our event that has teams creating their own tiki bar. There’s also our Golf Game Show that is a duffer’s delight, but wouldn’t tee off any non-golfers either.
You can do your team building in Phoenix at your event venue
There’s no need to go offsite to do your team building event in Phoenix. That just adds on a lot of additional expense and time to your event schedule. Most event venues have huge ballrooms and beautiful outdoor spaces. We have events that work well in ballrooms, outside, or a combination of the two.
If you’d like to talk to our expert on team building in Phoenix and Scottsdale, don’t hesitate to “butt in” (pun to accompany the photo above) and reach out to McKenzie! Simply contact us and mention that you read this blog and would like more information.
People always ask us what makes our corporate treasure hunts and clues “wildly different.” Our short answer is usually, “We don’t just tell you to look at a sign and tell us what the third word is. You have to work for it!”
For those of you who want to know what we do to create unique treasure hunts and clues, here are some tips. We:
Make the scavenger hunts and clues challenging…but not too challenging
If you make clues too easy, participants will get bored easily. Make the clues too hard and they’ll get exasperated and give up. You want the Goldilocks of treasure hunts – make the clues just right! Know your audience. We’ve created a lot of family treasure hunts and they are easier than our treasure hunts for corporate groups. You’ll know you have it right when people claim, with a big smile on their face, that they were stumped at first. But, they were able to solve it in the end.
Incorporate props into the treasure hunts and clues
A lot of our treasure hunts and clues incorporate puzzles on paper. But, don’t forget to throw in some props as well. People love to play with “stuff.” For instance, a puzzle on paper may find teams having to read letters on a page backwards instead of forwards. But, how cool is it to step it up a notch and make them find a mirror, so they can see which letters in a phrase don’t get reversed to solve the clue? Or, to make hunters do a physical challenge before they’re handed the mirror they need to solve the clue?
Integrate the event area into our treasure hunts and clues
There’s no sense creating treasure hunts in cool places like a theme park, city center or park and not spotlight the area. For instance, a tower sculpture with different color blocks can become the key to unlocking a cipher clue. I.e. if the top block is blue, then hunters know the word written in blue on their clue page is the first word in the solution. A word of warning though. It’s best if all clues can be solved from walkways/outside. Don’t require hunters to go inside stores. You don’t want to upset store owners and other shoppers. And, if in a theme park, don’t make hunters go inside an attraction or on a ride to solve a clue. Long lines will frustrate them and could prevent them from finishing the theme park hunt in the time allowed.
Reinforce your message with the treasure hunts and clues
We love taking company information and weaving it into our treasure hunts and clues. Not sure if your group has retained training information? Put it to the test by ensuring the only way hunters can solve the clue is by knowing that information. For instance, in what year a product was launched, or what a side effect of your product may be. This goes beyond simple question and answer or multiple choice. Utilize the information in a unique way and it will become even more memorable.
Weave a theme into the treasure hunts and clues
If you’re creating a Christmas hunt, make all the clues tie into the theme (see our sample clue below). But, it doesn’t have to be a holiday to have a theme! Hosting your hunt in a park? Incorporate a nature theme. Or, borrow a theme from popular culture. Chances are good that a hot movie will provide inspiration. It could be spies, pirates, aliens – you name it!
We’ll be posting a new clue each month for those of you who would like to see examples of fun treasure hunts and clues. See if you can solve them first before looking at the answer. Happy hunting! And, if you don’t want to write your own treasure hunts and clues, visit our site to see what we can offer!
Sample Scavenger Hunt Clues
Clue #1 is a sample of a Christmas Hunt we created for families to play at home.
Answer to Clue #1 – If you change the letter below the hat to something Christmas-themed, you get snow, candy, canes, toys and star! When you put the new letters together, they spell out Santa.
Clue #2 is a sample of a sports-themed hunt we created for families to play at home. The solution to each clue took them to a location where they could find their next clue.
Answer to Clue #2 – Instead of numbers, there are letters on the jerseys. Where do you find letters? In the mailbox of course! And, that’s where player’s next clue could be found.
Clue #3 is an example of treasure hunt clue we use in our Epic Selfie Quest. Teams must solve the clue to reveal where they need to take a team selfie.
Answer to Clue #3 – Each letter of the alphabet stands for a number. When teams crack the code, it spells out “Take a photo of your team interacting with a sculpture.”
Clue #4 was taken from a fitness themed hunt created for a pharmaceutical company.
Answer to Clue #4 – If you follow the maze, starting at the opening on the right side of the square, the letters spell out “desserts (the correct answer).” The red herring? If they start on the left path, it spells out “stressed!”
How Can Wildly Different Help With Your Corporate Scavenger Hunt?
Well if you want to plan a the ultimate scavenger hunt in Orlando, look no further. Wildly Different is based in Orlando and has held wildly successful team building hunts at Disney, Sea World, Universal and other Orlando area locations. But don’t get boxed in with our Orlando location. We’ve held fun hunts in numerous in cities across the U.S. and can help you plan the perfect scavenger event for your team. Contact us today for a free consultation.
I’ve got a secret to share with you. Wildly Different doesn’t always implement the best team building events…sometimes we provide team building consulting, so your team can self-implement their own amazing events!
Would team building consulting benefit your organization? If the descriptions below apply to you, then the answer is “yes!”
You have a team that has the ability to self-implement an event.
Many who we do team building consulting for have the experience and know how to run events. We’ve worked with recreation departments at resorts, cruise ships and summer camps that have staff who can easily operate an activity. Activities to entertain both leisure guests or team building events for corporate groups. We’ve also provided team building consulting for human resources departments and meeting planning teams looking for a DIY activity at their meeting or conference. If they have the ability to do so, why do they use a team building consulting firm? Read on…
You need an event quick and you don’t have the time to develop it.
What we hear a lot of from our clients that we do team building consulting for is they have the staff. They have the ability. But, what they don’t have is the time to create the event they need. We’re all doing more with less people, so don’t fret if this is you. You’re making the best use of your time by hiring someone who can create a fabulous team building event quickly and efficiently. This way your time can be spent accomplishing your important day-to-day activities.
You want new offerings for your target market.
The next best reason we hear why people need team building consulting is that they need a fresh idea that will wow their guests. This reason actually goes hand-in-glove with the section above, if you ask me – time. It takes time to be creative. So, if you have a lot on your plate it doesn’t mean you can’t come up with the unique idea. You just don’t have time to focus on it! Another plus of using a team building consultant is perspective. Sometimes you’re too close to the “we’ve always done it this way” approach to come up with the next new thing. If that’s the case, it’s smart to tap into an outside perspective.
You’re looking for something unique that you can’t buy “off-the-shelf.”
Sure, there are events you could buy or even “borrow” from other companies. But, do you want to be the same as everyone else? Or, do you want your guests to go, “Wow – that was something special?” When we do team building consulting, we weigh up what differentiates you from everyone else. That could include tying in what’s cool about your property and working it into the event. Or, taking your company information and weaving it into the design of the activity.
You need help with a high-tech event.
High-tech is everywhere these days. But, if you’re not Bill Gates it may be overwhelming for you to figure out how to create your own signature high-tech event. In our team building consulting, we partner with MobileXpeditions to produce iPad games, as well as games that can be accessed through participants’ own smart devices. These events won’t break the bank. In fact, they turn out to be more cost-effective over time. That’s because you produce them once and can deliver them again and again without incurring printing charges, buying event equipment, etc. And, the beautiful thing is, our games aren’t accessed through an app. They’re housed in loaner iPads or accessed through a website. This means your guests won’t be put off by having to download a strange app. Nor do you have to worry about getting approval from Apple for your app – a long and expensive process that could end up with Apple not granting permission for your app at all.
We’ve had the pleasure of doing team building consulting all over the globe – Copenhagen, the Bahamas, on the high seas, around the US and now we can add Dubai to our list! We had a wonderful time exploring Atlantis, The Palm to come up with two different hunts they can host for companies looking for a unique way to experience their stunning property and water park. And, we got to take in a camel ride, sand dune 4×4 “surfing” and a fabulous tour of both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Our opinion? If you get a chance to go to Dubai, don’t hesitate! It’s a wildly wonderful place!
Sure, we have 100 stock team building events in our repertoire. But, one of the reasons we’re called Wildly Different is because we specialize in and love creating and implementing custom team building events for our clients!
Here’s some of the reasons why you should do custom team building events instead of “off-the-shelf” experiences that anyone can participate in and some tips on the little things you can do to create custom team building events:
- Put your logo and branding on any handouts teams will receive. This lets your participants know this is something special that was created just for them.
- Work your messaging into the event to drive home the point. For instance, if your company just went through a merger and the focus of your meeting is “coming together as one,” your event should be customized to highlight that. So, something like one of our custom team building event ideas, The Big Picture in which teams compete in themed challenges to collect squares that get hung up on a numbered grid to reveal a custom message, would be ideal.
- Re-enforce training information to see if employees remember and are able to use it. That’s why, in our iTech Treks, we test participants’ knowledge of corporate information by weaving it into challenges. I.e., teams may see a jumble of letters and receive a hint that “If they know the number of products they’re launching next year, they can ‘count’ on a solution appearing.” If participants know 5 new products will launch, they realize that if they take every 5th letter, it spells out the location where they must go to take a team photo.
- Add extra touches to get people into the spirit of the meeting. A good example of this is one client who had their event about a “revolutionary” new product in Philadelphia. One of our custom team building event ideas was to create a meeting-long, ongoing Treasure Hunt that revealed locations on a treasure map. For one clue Betsy Ross mingled with guests during a break and players needed to view the flag she was carrying to find the location. During another break, players were told to view a vignette on the snack bar and remember Paul Revere’s ride to figure out a coordinate. When they got there, they saw two lanterns. Clever hunters recalling the famous phrase associated with Paul Revere, “One if by land, two if by sea”, realize the coordinate they needed for the map was 2C (two lanterns = by C)! How’s that for custom team building activities?
Looking for custom team building events your team can run themselves? Consider consulting with us!
Our very own Jane and McKenzie went out to Chicago a couple of weeks ago to run one of our custom team building events for Chiesi, that put a different “spin” on things and got attendees to experience the Navy Pier!
And customization doesn’t always mean corporate! Gaby and her team ran a “clown college” for a financial company that wanted to entertain kids at a circus-themed family party. The kids got to don a clown nose and decorate their own clown collar, tie and hat. Of course, our team couldn’t resist clowning around while they were there!
Although we travel worldwide with our clients, Wildly Different is proud to call Orlando home, making us the ideal choice if you’re thinking of hosting team building in Orlando, Florida.
Here’s why it makes sense to work with us if you’re hosting team building in Orlando, Florida:
- We don’t only do team building in Orlando, Florida – we live here and know it like the back of our hand! We know what can and can’t be done in certain locations, such as the theme parks, with whom we work closely with and for.
- We have relationships with many organizations throughout Orlando, Florida. Everything from vendors to venues to charitable contacts that are eager to benefit from your CSR events.
- We can easily run out to your event site to ensure there are no surprises on the day of your event. For instance, whenever we do a hunt for team building in Orlando, Florida, we head out to that location in the days leading up to your event to ensure all clue locations are intact.
- Wherever you have your team building in Orlando, Florida, chances are good we have an existing event on tap for that location. For instance we have them for every major attraction in Orlando – such as the Disney, Universal and SeaWorld theme parks, I-drive 360, Pointe Orlando, etc. – and some of the lesser known ones as well, such as Kings Orlando, WonderWorks, Skeletons and more. We can easily advise which one would work best for you!
- Want to keep your group on-site at their meeting hotel? Chances are good we have a team building event designed specifically for your property, such as a rock-themed event at Hard Rock Hotel!
Here are a few of our favorite events for team building in Orlando, Florida:
- Site-seeking Treasure Hunts, designed to put the spotlight on what your participants want to see at a local attraction. We pride ourselves on the fact that our hunts are designed so participants don’t have to waste valuable time standing in line for rides, or disrupt locations within a theme park – all clues can be solved from walkways and public spaces.
- Amazing Chase is a team building event where guests have to travel from location to location to complete a challenge, while getting to explore an area of interest. For instance, teams may have to rewrite the words to a popular song and perform it in a piano bar or look for I-Spy pictures as they ride in a pedi-cab along a popular street.
- Outdoor activities that can take place in one of our beautiful parks (there’s a reason we’re called The City Beautiful – we have some stunners)! Favorites include Camp It Up, that has teams participating in summer camp-themed challenges such as seeing how fast they can pitch tents or row a kayak across a lake. And, SurStrivor that finds teams searching for immunity necklaces as they compete in head-to-head games and in individual activities, such as seeing how they can work together to plug the leaks in a piece of bamboo so that it can be filled to the top with water.
Speaking of Orlando, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say how proud I am of our city during the tragedy that occurred here this week. Orlando truly personified the spirit of team building by pulling together to focus on the love they feel for those affected by the senseless loss of life at Pulse, rather than the hate. The picture below speaks volumes, as does this quote by Eric Hoffer – “Compassion alone stands apart from the continuous traffic between good and evil proceeding with us.” #OrlandoUnited.
- Consistent results – If you had a great experience, why would you want to “spin the wheel” in the hopes that another company will be just as good? We hear horror stories from some of our clients who have done just that and lived to rue the day.
- Relationships – We get into a flow with the clients we work with all of the time. They know how we work and what we can handle for them(and what we don’t), which makes their job faster and easier because they understand the roles. But more importantly, we get to know their company’s culture, objectives, likes and dislikes making it a better experience for their attendees. And, we understand how you like to work, meaning no surprises (except for good ones) for you.
- Creative ideas – When you put out a blanket request for proposal, you never know what you’re going to get back. When we develop relationships with clients, we know what you’ve done already, so we don’t suggest similar events. We also know what your attendees will – and more importantly won’t – respond well to.
Despite all of these positives, some people hire different team building companies in each meeting locale to organize events. Here’s some of the reasons why they do so and why you shouldn’t let them sway you:
- Price – Yes, it costs us a bit more to produce your team building event when it’s not in Orlando, Florida. But, surprisingly, not by much.. We use local staff and DJs for the remainder of our team. A small price to pay for peace of mind that you’ll be getting a top-notch team building event.
- The perils of “not being a local” – We’ve done events in hundreds of out-of-state and out-of-country locations, so we know how to do our research. We have equipment and vendor sourcing down to a science, with several trusted partners who have local branches that assist us around the world. And, we always ensure we travel the day before an event – never the same day – so there’s no worries about traffic or missed flights.
Speaking of travel, Jane Schuliger and I took some time out to do an owner’s retreat in Little Corn Island in Nicaragua last week. I’m almost afraid to share news about this because the island truly is a hidden gem and we’d hate for word to get out to too many people! If you’ve ever thought about going – don’t. Just go! You’ll have an amazing time!
While we were gone, several of our teammates traveled as well. Aeme and Gaby were running an Escape! program in Atlanta and Mac spent some time in Miami and Denver. Then, I hopped on a plane on Memorial Day to head to New York for client visits. Yes, we’re racking up the frequent flier miles here at Wildly Different!
We Are Wildly Different
Love what you do and you’ll be a success. That’s part of what makes us Wildly Different. We are also wildly qualified; delivering high value team building activities that are results oriented. Plus they are really fun events! Whether you are in need of business games or team bonding events, Wildly Different can put together the perfect activity for your large or small group.
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