The Getting to Know You Game

The-Cabin-in-the-Woods-wallpapers-4Today I am taking my staff out to a cabin in the woods to get to know them better.

No, this isn’t the start of a horror movie. (Unless you hear reports tomorrow about a terrible incident in the backwoods of Missouri, in which case it wasn’t me. I promise.) This is Staff Bonding Day 2013.

I had resisted bonding days like this for the first four years in my position. I’m all for bonding, but taking a whole day to do it just seemed extreme. That’s also a long time for me to not check my e-mail.

But last year, one of my staff members convinced me to give it a try. So we set aside a day before the school year started to get together as a staff and do workplace bonding activities. Myers-Briggs, team assessment, workplace quirks and habits, and some fun stuff.

It went really well. It wasn’t perfect, but I definitely saw the value of taking a day to do something like that. It was like skipping a few levels in a video game with a cheat code–we greatly accelerated our knowledge of one another and our ability to work better as a team.

So today is this year’s version of the bonding day. It’s a little more streamlined, and the types of activities are better structured for a mix of introverts and extroverts.

Personally, I’m really excited about the activity I’m running. Last week I asked each of my staff members to answer four questions that revealed their top workplace quirks, strengths, growth areas, and stressors. They don’t know each others’ answers.

We’re going to circle up, and everyone will have a pad of paper and a marker. I’ll pick a random coworker from my spreadsheet without revealing their name, and I’ll tell the staff an answer to one of their questions. I’ll then ask if anyone wants to guess which coworker answered that way. Anyone who wants to use their guess–each person only gets one guess per round–will write down their answer and reveal it simultaneously. If anyone gets it right, they get 1 point and the round is over.

Before moving on, I’ll make sure to reveal all answers for that staff member and give them a chance to talk about their answers a little bit. The game will end when I’ve gone through all coworkers, and the person with the most points will win some chocolate.

I think it’ll be a fun mix of figuring out how well everyone knows their coworkers and opening up new information about each other. Hopefully it goes well.

What is your favorite getting to know you game? What have you seen work or not work?