Indoor Team Building activities in Bangkok to enhance your corporate culture (45 to 58)
Updated: May 15
This is the 6th part of a our blog post 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok and we focus on exercises to enhance or change your corporate culture.
In case you have missed the first 5 parts, please follow the links below: 1st part – 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok | Introduction 2nd part – 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok | Ice Breakers 3rd part – 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok | Fun and Competition 4th part – 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok | Stepping out of your comfort zone 5th part – 101 indoor team building activities in Bangkok | Theme Dinner and Party Just out of university, millennials are usually motivated and full of energy. They enter the corporate world with high hopes to apply what they have learned in the world of business. They are enthusiastic to work in a team environment with optimism and euphoria. They sparkle with creativity and they aspire to change the world.
Five years working in corporate Bangkok, and reality has set in. Hopes are shattered. Slowly but steadily, a negative corporate culture eats you up from the inside, like a nasty Covid-19 virus. Your body adapts to the virus and after a while, and you do not even realize you have it. Think about corporate culture as the background music and the vibe when you walk into a discotheque. The house is full, the DJ in good spirits, cool music and people dancing and partying. You will stay and enjoy your night.
But if the house is half-empty, the music not to your taste, the DJ half asleep and the crowd boring, you will leave. Or you may stay and eventually just put up with it, thinking that all discos are like that. You will not look further, and five years later you become the sleepy DJ or the unenthusiastic bartender yourself. You have adapted to the culture without noticing.
The moment you step into an organization you feel the culture. Some organizations are like a jungle, full of life, the background music is the chirping of the insects, the occasional cries of a monkey or the rustling of the trees in the wind. You will sleep well in the jungle. Your anxiety is low. Other cultures resemble a wasteland, no background music, just desolate desks, colourless chairs, and grey computers.
So, what makes the difference between a positive and a negative organizational culture and how can we change it? And can we make a difference with indoor team building activities in Bangkok? Organizations whose corporate culture thrive, all have some attributes in common. They foster positive habits from the top down, they have a healthy Work Life Balance, they usually work project-based and have a clear goal / objective of completion. Creativity and innovation are not only accepted but embraced, with walls to write on and flip charts to share your ideas.
A positive corporate culture has low hierarchy because this fosters teamwork. If employees fear a bad-tempered, choleric, and eccentric boss, then communication wont flow across hierarchies and teamwork is made impossible. If workers are afraid to make a mistake, or look uncool with a suggestion, then teamwork will take a hit.
Another attribute of a good organizational culture is peer-to-peer accountability which happens when colleagues hold each other accountable for high standards and do not shy away to give informal feed-back to their bosses and co-workers.
Their management team is aligned on the top priorities of the organization and they get the buy-in from everybody, even from people who do not agree on the course of action. Last, but not least, a positive corporate culture does not put shareholder value, or reaching targets at the top of their agenda, but the well-being of their workforce. They do not manage people, they manage energy.
So, we have listed a few activities, some are short activities, other are two to three-nights programs to build your corporate culture.
45. The Home-Coaching Program is not an actual team building program per se, but rather a consulting service provided to support your workforce during lock-down, when working from home. The Home coach is not a business coach and does not give advice on strategic decision making but looks after the well-being of the employee. The home coach is an all-rounder, he/she can give some advice on technical issues, but his main responsibility is to help out in times of need. The home-coach can bring in important information from the headquarter to the home worker, can do a survey, or just help out where help is needed. Having a home coach who continually looks after your workforce will create an atmosphere of caring and psychological safety. 46. Who does not remember Lencioni’s bestselling book The five dysfunctions of a team? The five dysfunctions workshop is a 3D2N-leadership off-site to address many of the above-mentioned attributes. The five dysfunctions program can also be done virtual with one to two hours on online sessions per day.
47. Intercultural communication is important in organizations who have a diverse workforce or who often deal with clients or suppliers from other cultures. My Crazy Farang Boss workshop can be done both online and offline and is important to shape your organizational culture. There is a vast different of organizations who are well-trained in dealing with other cultures and organizations that are not. Many companies around the world, not only in Thailand, have double standards, they deal differently with different people.
48. Building an H2H Culture, based on the bestselling book Help the Helper, from Kevin Pritchard. The H2H culture focuses on the helper, not on the leaders. Helpers social status rise, leader’s social status fall. This organizational culture focuses on people who do not put themselves on the spotlight, who work quietly and diligently towards helping others achieving great success. The H2H culture focuses on the Sherpa, who carries food and equipment on top of Mt Everest just for the star-climber to take a selfie on the top. An H2H culture helps reversing worldwide trend of instant gratification, YouTube self-portrayal, Leading quietly is another book that encourages a H2H culture. Building an H2H culture through and through, also means limiting CEOs salaries and bonuses. So, think carefully, before you commit to it. Achieving an H2H culture requires long-time commitment and failure rates are high.
49. Space is Ace. Our workspace shapes our culture more than we think. Being isolated for month in our home office may not be favourable, and neither may be your office space. But space defines culture. Just think about how people are different who live in big cities to people who live in the countryside. Designing your office space activity can be done with different types of equipment, giant Lego blocks, small Lego blocks, cardboard paper, or recycled material. It can be built as a prototype in a team building workshop and then applied in real once your budget has been approved.
50. Abolish your HR department. Physically or literally or both. HR people may be shocked, or even angry to hear this, but your HR department may be the major obstacle of building a positive culture. HR managers too often hold on to old habits of policing your workers rather than managing their energy. Give the job of recruiting directly to the relevant department and deprive your paper- crunchers and police chiefs of decision-making power.
51. Creativity is a big problem in Thai organizations, so we have summarized a few short indoor team building activities in Bangkok to foster creativity. This first is To Think Creatively. This is a short Mind-Map exercise. Most executives are used to make lists, and lists are good when it comes to execution. With lists, you do not forget get something done. But at the idea gathering stage, mind-maps are better. This can be done individually, in pairs or groups of up to 3. It can also be done virtual. Hand out a large flip chart paper, then come up with a keyword, i.e. your next holiday. They keyword is placed in the middle of the flip chart and then let us see how many ideas your participants can come up with. You may be surprised how creative they if you provide them with room and structure to practice.
52. Thirty Circles Exercise is a short creativity exercise that can be done in the beginning of a cultural change program, a creativity and innovation workshop or just in the beginning of your workday or meeting. This activity is typically done individually or in pairs. Hand out a sheet of paper with 30 circles on it, then give your guys 3 minutes to come up with as many recognizable shapes as they can. Debriefing is important. The facilitator focuses not only on the quantity but also on the methods. Are some of the circles being connected? What were the rules? Where the rules clear or just assumed?
53. How Might We? In this activity we use language to build the culture. Participants brainstorm negative language patterns and turn them into positive questions. For example, if we hear executives saying “but we have tried this out before”, we capture this phrase and turn it into a questions, like “How might we try this again in a different way?” or “This will never work”, “How might we make this work?” “Why” is another good one to practice. “No other company does it like that.” “Why?” Some think words are just semantics, but words matter, words become deeds and deeds shape our culture even more than words.
54. Eliminate Hierarchy to Facilitate Idea Flow. Bangkokians ready this carefully and take it to heart. Thai organizations are particularly prone to a hierarchical structure because that’s how society is built. This is warm up icebreaker in the beginning of a meeting, training workshop or conference. Each participant draws a name tag from a hat and sticks it on their shirt. Those names should be fun, i.e. Mister Know it All, or Ms. Quiet, or Professor of Physics, or even funny characters from a movie that everybody knows. Mr. Bean, or Hercules, or James Bond. During the coming session, people must be addressed with their new “nickname” and this psychologically reduces the barrier of communication. You are now talking to James Bond, and no longer your CEO. Or your CEO might be the little duck, and he is now talking to trainee who is Hercules. Observe how communication changes in this exercise and take notes and insights on a flip chart.
56. Dream and Challenge Activity. This role-play is played in pairs, and one person rises a dream “I wish we could sell more of product A”. The second person must come up with as many challenges (questions) as they can, starting with how. “How might we sell more of it? or “How might we change product A so it sells better” “How might we find out more about our customers first?” “How might we find out why it’s not selling” “How might we find more customers?” All questions are written on a flip chart and then discussed which questions are the best ones, which ones should be pursued. It could be just one question; it could be several. 57. The Wallet Exercises. This indoor team building activity in Bangkok is done in pairs between the interviewer and the prospect customer. Customer takes out his wallet and starts a conversation with the interviewee about his wallet and the items in it. The interviewee must ask questions and empathize with the customer. Then customer and interviewer switch roles. The objective of this activity is to understand the customer and its needs on a deeper level and find solutions to the challenges the client has with the wallet. I.e. The client always loses his wallet, so how might we find a way to keep track of the wallet?” “Or the wallet doesn’t fit into the back pocket of my jeans.” So, the question would be “How might we change the size of the wallet or the size of the jeans, so they fit.” A third part of the activity is building a prototype, whereby the facilitator provides scissors, stapler, leather, glue, etc. The fourth part of the activity is to present the new prototype to the client and the rest of the class.
Many activities are from the book Creative Confidence by Tom Kelly and David Kelly, who are two of our greatest inspirational business leaders of our time. Tom and David founded IDEO, a product design firm operating globally. They work in a filed between business and academia and run the design and innovation school Ideou.com.
Continue reading with part VII: 101 indoor team building in Bangkok | Activity 59-69 | Communication and problem-solving skills