Thanks, Dress Barn!

We just wanted to say "Thanks" to the team at the Dress Barn for a spirited, fun game of Search Party in City Center today. Fabulous job, team!


Can we add some "serious" team building to the fun?

We do "fun" team building.

Does that mean there's no "serious" team building going on?

Of course there is. While you're busy having fun, you're also learning new ways of communicating with your team, making new connections, building understanding and just plain getting to know each other.

But if you want to add some "traditional" team building activity, we have a couple of options for you.

First, we can customize any of our games to help reinforce training messages, product release talking points, new mission statements, and all that jazz by creating custom clues and challenges that we layer right into the game itself. Whether it's a scavenger hunt, immersion-based role-playing game, or philanthropic mission, your team can drive the points home while laughing all the way to victory.

Second, we can add games and activities specifically geared to your group's needs. Whether it's a communication-enhancing game like "Timmy and Lassie," a negotiation/cooperation game like "Mr. Potato Head," or any of the millions of games in The Facilitator's Handbook, many of our staff have gobs of experience doing that from team building jobs in previous lives.

Third, if you really insist on some suspender-snapping facilitator-driven place-red-dots-on-ChartPak meeting-room style stuff, we know lots of blue-suited consultants out there who we enjoy partnering with who can lead you through the boring stuff while we lap up the compliments for being the "fun" ones.

But even those folks will tell you, they'd rather be doing what we do.




Why can't my team all play together?

Sometimes our groups say to us, "Your events break us up into smaller groups that compete with each other. How is this team building? Shouldn't we all play on the same team?”

Great question. There's no doubt that breaking up your group into smaller teams does conflict, at least theoretically, with the idea of building one great big giant happy communicating team.

But there's a method to our madness. There are at least four good reasons to break your group up into smaller teams:

- Smaller groups get things done. Organizational development experts have studied this ad nauseam and concluded that the optimal size for most teams is between three and seven people, depending on the task. Five's about optimal. Everyone stays on task, everyone has things to do, and there's less overhead.

- Keeps everyone involved. Too many people on a team and somebody's going to sit it out, not having enough to do. Some people just don't work well in large groups. Small to medium sized groups makes sure everyone has something useful to do.

- Benefit of competition: motivation. If we kept you all on one team, what's the motivation to get everything done? What gets your blood pumping? Winning, that's what. Having someone to compete against helps bond your team behind a common goal.

- It's more fun. Because everyone's engaged, everyone wants to win, and the team is effective, people feel better about the activity, both during and after. It's scientifically, um, proven... yeah, proven... that this is more fun.

And above all, we want you to have fun.


How much time does your team building event take?

Team building is not a process that starts and stops with the playing of a single game or the successful implementation of an annual team outing.

Team building is an ongoing process that begins whenever two or more people agree (or are assigned) to work together and ends when the relationship itself ends.

And now that we have the politically correct, 90's self-help-book mantra out of the way...

Most of our events take about 2-2.5 hours. Search Party, Play it Forward, Operation Care Kit and Game Show Live! are designed to allow for two hours of hands-on play time, with a minimal amount of pre-game intros and post-game wrap. We want the focus to be on the fun your team is having, not on paperwork.

Freewheel and Alias and Alibi take a little longer - usually about 2.5 to 3 hours. Freewheel is a bit open-ended, though, so you can plan to spend some time with the kids once they've received their bikes. (As much fun as the rest of the game is, that part is still my favorite. I could let that go for hours if they'd let me.)

The 2-3 hour time window gives your team time to get to and from the event, take in a meal, and mingle while still allowing you to give your team a special, memorable, fun outing in under a half-day's time.

So, while you're building productivity, you're not losing it to a completely "unproductive" day.


What if more or fewer people show up to our team building event?

Stuff happens.

You think everyone in the office is going to show up for the, after all, "mandatory" (and of course FUN) team outing you've planned for weeks on end, only to get there on the day of the event and... wham...

Scenario A:  Not only did everyone show up, but they brought their significant others and cousin Ernie from Des Moines who just happened to be in town and maybe could be an intern next semester?

Scenario B:  It looks like a ghost town around here.

Now what?

First off, relax. We're going to get everyone who shows up into the game. We may have to scramble a bit or make a few teams a little larger or smaller than is optimal, but we'll get you all into the game.

Second, about that final bill. Our billing process is fair and transparent. You'll be charged for the number of confirmed or actual participants, whichever is larger.

"Confirmed" means the number we get from you on our official "reconfirmation phone call," usually a few days before the event - as close to the event as possible, so that there's less likelihood of change. That's the number we plan for when we make up game documents, buy prizes, assign staff, order food (if applicable), etc.

"Actual" means the number who show up and play the game on the day of the event.

So if you confirm for 20 and 18 show up, well, this isn't fun to say, but your final bill will reflect the number we had to plan for. If you confirm for 18 and 20 show up, we have to make day-of-event adjustments, which isn't optimal, but you'll have to pay for those additional folks.

This is why we take deposits for half, and make adjustments on those final bills. It means the game can go on, and then it's just a very minor billing issue, and it's all handled very efficiently.

No worries.


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