Team-Building Exercises

A close-knit team makes for a happy team. At my current job, though people come and go like in any workplace, we have a shared spirit, maintained in part by the questions and thought experiments we pose for one another as new team members arrive. A small selection can be read below, and I recommend using them at your job too.

If you could only eat one texture for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Just as Willy Wonka’s Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum offers you any delicious flavour in one texture, you too must choose one texture to enjoy all your favourite tastes in from now on. Many find the answer by deciding what their favourite texture is, but for my money it’s better to find a balance between which texture is your favourite and which strikes you as the most versatile. I can’t imagine enjoying chocolate with the texture of pasta, for example. Personally, I’d go for a moist, dense sponge. Good for sweet and savoury alike. (One person said nothing more specific than ‘soft’ and was immediately sacked.)

What’s your favourite Disney death?
Sets a cat or two among the pigeons when you ask this one. People feel as if Disney and death don’t go together, yet there are so many to choose from. You can answer this by deciding either your favourite to watch, or which you’d be most at ease experiencing, which does affect pretty much everyone’s conclusion. Bambi’s mum, for instance, goes quickly. But does it make you laugh as much as Mufasa? (Saying that also sets a cat or two among the pigeons.)

What’s the thickest drink you’ve ever had?
This one arose recently from a surprisingly viscous mug of Options. Most people struggle to remember what specific drink was the thickest, but looking over childhood memories of (generally) milkshakes tends to put anyone in a good mood and ensure a happy group discussion. Personally, I know full well the thickest drink I ever had. On my first day in my current job, I purchased a smoothie from the canteen that I ultimately had to finish with a spoon. Second place goes to the mug of Options mentioned above. So thick! N.B. Soup only counts if you drank it from a mug or pint glass.

What’s your favourite murder weapon in Cluedo?
Everyone can bond over their memories of board games, and, for certain generations, their CD-Rom versions too. My memories of each throw up different answers to this question: I was always keen on the dagger when playing my grandparents’ vintage Cluedo set, which contained a gorgeous selection of die-cast implements (aside from the limp and unimpressive piece of string that represented the rope). On the other hand, the animations of each suggestion you put forward on the computer game, showing the potential murder from the victim’s POV, made me prefer the revolver. Whenever you suggested Professor Plum shot the victim, the animation showed him firing by accident – imagine his confused, embarrassed face being the last thing you saw. Magnificent.

How many possible solutions are there in Cluedo?
More a maths and memory test. Simply multiply the number of suspects by the number of weapons, then multiply that by the number of rooms (the main stumbling blocks are misremembering the number of rooms as eight, not nine, and forgetting the spanner). Works well as part of a broader team quiz, but also serves as an excellent mental challenge to separate the wheat from the chaff at interview stage.

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