A major benefit of team building play is learning to tap into the brain’s right hemisphere, which is often underutilized in the workplace. This is the cerebral real estate that hosts imagination, creativity and intuition. Long thought to be useful only to artists, writers and musicians, we now understand that right-brain thinking also plays a vital role in the business world.
” You learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a lifetime of conversation.” – Plato
So why is “play” such a wonderful learning tool?
1. Involving. The best way to learn new skills is through action — actually doing things. Research shows that subjects who just sit and listen to a teacher retain only 20% of what they hear. But participants involved in active learning (doing a real job, a simulation, a training game, etc.) retain 90% of the information.
2. Low Risk. Play offers participants a safe environment in which to explore, risk, try new ideas and make mistakes. Edison discovered over 1,800 ways not to build a light bulb. One of Madame Curie’s “failures” gave us radium. Columbus was looking for India when he found America. Mistakes are simply an integral part of innovation.
3. Team Dynamics. Team play allows a group’s dynamics to be examined and evaluated under controlled conditions. Every group develops a distinct personality of its own. How does your team function, breathe, eat, produce, communicate and plan? How does it make decisions? What are its unique weaknesses and strengths? How does the group adapt to change? Play gives us these answers.
4. Self-Awareness. Just as a team can be evaluated in a controlled play environment, so can the team’s individual members. New experiences and new ideas set the stage for moments of self-examination and awareness. This also gives team members the chance to view teammates in a new light. We hear it again and again: “I had no idea Harry was so creative!” or “Who knew Mary was that clever?” Greater awareness of ourselves, and of those around us, can dramatically improve team effectiveness.
5. Building Trust. Everyone within a group becomes more comfortable as members become familiar with teammates, sharpen their awareness of group dynamics, and begin to clearly understand where they fit in. Allowing people to work together in a play environment effectively builds trust within the team.
6. The Value of the Team. Play is an excellent tool for convincing the skeptics of teamwork’s value. Many workers are so competitive, or so inexperienced at working as part of a team, that they question the benefits of teamwork. Fun team exercises afford skeptics the opportunity to see that sharing information and responsibilities can bring amazing results. Group play also affords participants an opportunity to discover the strong value of diversity.
7. Pleasure. The pleasure of learning through play can work wonders to revitalize a group and rebuild morale. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between pleasure and productivity. Pleasure also affects participants’ commitment to the exercises, helping them learn more and retain knowledge longer. It makes perfect sense that pleasure would be a powerful motivator.
8. Specific lessons. Each of our programs deliver its own lessons, skills and experiences for participants. Many involve problem solving, while others tend to be more physical. Some are designed to enhance communication skills, with others focusing on organization. While some of these are group lessons, others are more individually targeted. We have the expertise to fine-tune a program that meshes perfectly with your group and goals.