When working with a diverse group of individuals it can be sometimes difficult to form the bonds necessary for successful teamwork. In these situations it is best to work on creating synergy before the team must begin focusing on any complex projects. To do so you may turn to team building scavenger hunts.
At first some might find contradictions within the idea of using scavenger hunts as team building exercises due to the competitive nature of the hunts themselves. It is a common concern that the members of the team might become too focused on outdoing one another rather than on working together. However, this is not a problem when the scavenger hunt is structured correctly.
Designing the Scavenger Hunt
The ideal team building scavenger hunt will feature one team racing the clock so as to reduce the chance of rivalries. The clues and objectives should be laid out in such a way that the team members will be forced into cooperation. This can mean a multitude of things: placing clues in locations that require two or more individuals to access; placing objectives so far apart that the team must agree on who will hunt for what, lest they run down the clock; or requiring locations to be photographed with certain team members in shot, necessitating a rotation of who uses the camera, thus giving each member a turn in the role.
If two or more teams must compete then it is best to focus their rivalries onto one another, but to be weary of hurting the losing teams’ feelings. Though, it is possible to leverage one team’s contempt for another in order to bond team members through their shared feelings. This method is admittedly less ideal.
It is also perfectly possible for two or more teams to go through a team building scavenger hunt without competing. In this situation you should award incentives to teams based strictly on their own successes and failures. Do not compare their performance to one another. Instead, give them a time limit as you would if they were alone. To go further in your reinforcements of non-competition you should try to keep the two teams separated from one another. Consider staging the hunts on separate days if your schedule will allow. And be sure to have the same incentives available to each team.
Selecting Prizes for a Team
Any prizes or incentives given out for the successful completion of the hunt must be something that the entire team will enjoy. If one member of the team does not want the prize then they may come to resent those who are making them go through the trouble of getting it. You should select something that can be divided up easily, or something that the entire team will be able to make use of when they begin working together.
Take, for example, a team that will later be working together in an office environment. Giving out money or electronics might excite some of them, but it could become expensive. Giving them a new copier to share amongst themselves at work certainly sounds less exciting, but it ultimately serves the workplace more, and it is something that all of them can agree is important, as it makes their lives easier.