Some people see problems as roadblocks, others see them as opportunities! Problem solving activities are a great way to get to know how members of your team work, both individually and together. It’s important to teach your team strategies to help them quickly overcome obstacles in the way of achieving project goals.
Problem solving skills are the most commonly lacking soft skill among recent college graduates, according to a famous report. A company or team’s success depends heavily on the willingness of managers to help their team members improve their problem solving abilities. Team building activities targeting focus areas like communication and collaboration, adaptability, or strengthening decision-making techniques help.
All problem solving processes start with identifying the problem. Next, the team must assess potential courses of action and choose the best way to tackle the problem. This requires a deep understanding of your team and their core strengths. A problem solving exercise or game helps identify those strengths and builds problem solving skills and strategies while having fun with your team!
Problem solving games aren’t for just any team. Participants must have an open-mind and accept all ideas and solutions. They must also have an Agile mindset and be open to different structures, planning, and processes. Problems usually arise when we least expect them, so there’s no better way to prepare than embrace agility and flexibility.
Another aspect to keep in mind when engaging in problem solving games and activities: There are no winners or losers. Sure, some games might end with a single winner, but the true goal of these exercises is to learn how to work together as a team to develop an agile mindset. The winning team of each game should share their strategies and thought process at the end of the exercise to help everyone learn.
Here’s a list of fun problem solving activity examples to try with your team. From blindfolds to raw eggs, these problem solving team building activities will have your team solving problems faster than Scooby and the gang.
1. A Shrinking Vessel
Helps with: Adaptability
Why adaptability is important for problem solving: Adaptability is highly associatedwith cognitive diversity, which helps teams solve problems faster, according to the Harvard Business Review. Innovation and disruption are happening faster than ever before. People, teams, and organizations that can adapt will come out on top.
2. Marshmallow Spaghetti Tower
Helps with: Collaboration
Why collaboration is important for problem solving: “Collectively, we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually,” writes Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline. We can solve problems better as a team than we can alone, which means developing your team’s collaboration skills will lead to better problem solving outcomes.
3. Egg Drop
Helps with: Collaboration, Decision-Making
Why decision making is important for problem solving: Making decisions isn’t easy, but indecision leads to team paralysis, stagnant thinking, and unsolved problems. Decision-making activities help your team practice making quick, effective choices. Train your team’s decision making muscle and they will become more adept at problem solving.
Helps with: Communication, Decision Making
Why communication is important for problem solving: More employees work remotelythan ever before. Good communication skills are vital to solving problems across increasingly virtual teams. Working on communication skills while your team is together will help them better solve problems when they’re apart.
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