Here is a very interesting outdoor team bonding exercise for you to try.
This activity is inspired by the quote: “Commit random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”. The Challenge is – can you do that as a mission?
Break the group (of say 10 people) into two equal groups. One person from each group is nominated as the Reporter – and armed with a pen and a paper. This person is deputed into the opposite group.
The Challenge for the team is simple. Spend the next 2 hours in the streets, malls, roads, shops – just about anywhere in the outdoors of your city. The group is to look for as many opportunities as possible to do Acts of Kindness. It could be just about anything – helping clean the litter on the street, helping someone across the street, greeting the watchman at the door, teaching someone something…. Well you get the drift. It just needs to be something that most of us would say is a kind act. The only rule in this activity is that money cannot be directly given away. The role of the reporter in this whole activity is crucial. Without being obtrusive, he only makes a note of as many proofs of kindness as he possibly can.
When the teams are back, the reporters report to each group the many acts of kindness that the other group did. Basis their own unquestioned criteria, each team gives points between 1-10 for each act of kindness. And in this way, each team reaches a kindness score.
De-brief for the activity: We de-brief the activity by giving 3 cheers to the higher scoring team – and then asking the whole group, which team they think won? The worth of an act of kindness is often in the eyes of the receiver. You could recount the story of the old man who kept picking up and throwing back starfish which were washed over by the sea, back into the ocean. When asked by a young man who said there were thousands of such starfish on the seashore and what difference could he possibly make by throwing back a few, answered: “It made a difference to that one”.
So, we ask: Who do you think really won in this activity?…. We try to move the team towards the understanding that it is actually the whole team that has won by doing so many acts of kindness. Opportunities for doing kindness are all around us – it is just that sometimes we get far too busy or pre-occupied to notice them. But what a difference they can make – for us and others!
We conclude by asking the team: How will you take back this experience to your workplace? Do you think there are opportunities for kindness in the workplace? Does anyone want to share an instance which now comes to mind where they could possibly have shown kindness? We wait for a few responses to emerge – slowly at first – and almost always followed by many more, as the ice breaks. Sometimes they are accompanied by tears as the realization sinks in that we could be so much better as individuals and co-workers.
We wrap up the activity by thanking the group for the open sharing – and encouraging them to walk around the room and thank / hug the other people in the group for the sharing.
This activity is both great fun, an eye-opener and also a great way to get people to drop artificial barriers and indulge in true sharing – that goes a long way in making the team a much better, happier unit.
Do try it – and let us know how it went!!