Team toys are definitely “in” these days, or so says Dr. Christopher Avery, author on collaborative teams (www.partnerwerks.com). He maintains that toys provide important benefits to team members and to the creative process:
Enhance Creativity. No matter how old you are, toys put you in a more youthful and playful frame of mind that benefits problem solving and creativity.
Provide Mental Breaks. Meetings can be draining because of the periods of sustained concentration. A squeeze ball, slinky, or malleable putty can provide a much-needed break for the conscious mind while the subconscious continues to flow with the meeting.
Engage the Whole Brain. Business conversations are typically very “left-brained.” Toys tap into the creative right side to enable whole-brained thinking.
Diffuse Anxiety. It’s far better to get “beaned” by an angry team member than for both of you to sit there ignoring your hostility. You’re more likely to get the truth out and deal with it.
Explain Ideas. Many of us are visual learners. Toys can help illustrate our ideas and see the ideas of others.
Are Memorable. Toys provide opportunities for unforgettable experiences.
Are Fun! Who wants to hang around in meetings that aren’t?
Start with toys that are easy to find, low cost, and don’t take up much room. Try stress relievers such as gel-filled squeeze balls, process putty, or slinkies; lightweight balls such as koosh balls or nerf balls; or noise makers such as honking horns, clickers, and whistles.
Introduce toys to your team slowly. Bring just a few in and place them on the table within reach of others. Pick one up and play with it. Show your teammates that it’s “okay” to play with the toys. Then watch how and when the team uses the toys. Experiment with different types of toys to see what gets the best results. Some team members will even offer suggestions on which toys to bring next!
Don’t forget – toys are meant to enhance your teamwork, not detract from your productivity.
Question: Do you have any other ideas for great team toys? Let us know what has worked for you.
To book Kristin to speak or view her products go to www.ExtraordinaryTeam.com