Games that Teach Team-Building and Other Valuable Skills

In any small business culture, from a just launched startup to a fast scaling brand, the importance of teamwork cannot be over-emphasized. In fact, research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology indicates that employees who connect and collaborate with one another demonstrate higher levels of intrinsic motivation. In other words, they tend to find their positions more enjoyable and meaningful which increases both productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Staffs who function as a cohesive, unified team often exhibit stronger communication and reach more successful performance markers than staffs who are mostly independent or departments that are broken into silos. In order to promote an environment of collaboration in your small business, these card games are useful devices to reinforce teamwork among your employees in a manner that is stimulating and accessible.

Texas Hold’Em

This classic poker variation might not seem like an activity for the office, but this game can teach the members of your team various skills needed for collaboration. In order to be successful in Texas Hold’Em, each player must form their own strategy and decipher the strategies of their competitors. This requires negotiation, critical thinking, decisive action, troubleshooting and keen awareness. All of these competencies are assets in teamwork, and this is an effective tool for honing them. If you or those on your staff are poker novices, here is an itemized breakdown of the rules for Texas Hold’Em.

Sort the Deck

This exercise is simple in theory but requires intensive focus and solid cohesion in order to perform it with success. The idea behind this game is to utilize each team member’s strengths and find solutions under pressure to address the challenge preemptively. The objective of Sort the Deck is for players to work together and sort all the cards in both suit and numerical order. So the final outcome should be hearts two through 10, then Jack through Ace, and the sequence repeated for spades, diamonds and clubs. In addition, one team member is chosen as the leader which fosters delegation and communication.

House of Cards

This game of careful, tactical precision harnesses group creativity to boost interdependence and reinforce the idea of strength in numbers. The premise behind House of Cards is basic—the team members are given a certain amount of time to build a freestanding tower erected only with cards. They can be stacked in any configuration, and scissors can be used to trim the cards into more workable shapes, but no other materials are permitted. The teams can start over or change tactics as often as needed within the allocated time-frame which helps to cultivate patience, determination and problem-solving.

Sentence Shuffle

This is not a card game in the conventional sense, but it does facilitate innovative thinking and team interaction, like the other examples. Each player in Sentence Shuffle is dealt one card, then everyone uses their cards in alphabetical order to make a sentence based on the first letter of each card’s value. For instance, “one group of six participants is dealt an Ace, three, King, four and seven. Their sentence might be, ‘A tiny taupe kangaroo falls softly,’” describes the Sentence Shuffle instructions. The silliness of this game shows interpersonal dynamics don’t need to be overly serious to be effective.

If you want to make collaboration and camaraderie integral parts of your small business’s culture, but you would prefer a more compelling activity than some cliché icebreaker, these unique team-building exercises are crowd pleasers that engage the participants and deliver sustainable, affirmative results.