It can be hard to get employees excited about going through team-building exercises, but when LEGO bricks are involved, you will find that your employees may be surprisingly excited to get building. That's because these fun building blocks are something it seems everyone enjoyed either as a child or while playing with children, and since people are bound to have some positive associations with LEGO, team-building activities that incorporate the blocks are likely to go over a lot better than those that do not.
LEGO Tower Team-Building Activity
The object of the LEGO tower team-building activity is for each team to build the tallest tower they can with the LEGO bricks provided to their team, all without talking to each other. For this exercise, you will need to divide your employees into equally sized teams, provide each team with about a dozen LEGO bricks and then set your timer for 10 minutes. This exercise will cause team members to naturally fall into leadership and worker positions, and the team's solidarity will be tested if the person in charge isn't liked or if his decisions aren't respected.
You can also add an interesting twist by saying that the tower must meet certain requirements and then applying a monetary value to each type of brick (for example, gold bricks are worth $100, green are worth $50, window blocks are worth $75, flower blocks are worth $25, etc.) and adding monetary penalties for every minute over a set amount of time that a team takes to complete the tower.
At the end of the exercise, make sure each tower meets all requirements, add up all the income they earned from using each type of LEGO brick and then deduct any money related to them going over the project deadline. The team who earns the most money with their tower wins.
Nonverbal LEGO Team Building
Like the tower-building activity, teams are not allowed to talk while building in this game, but instead of a tower, teams must work together in order to build a particular shape out of LEGOs. Break your teams into equally sized groups and give each an equal number of bricks and a picture of a structure to build.
It's up to the members of the team to step in line and work together, but at least one person will probably try to become the leader. If so, then it will be up to the other team members to follow the leader's guidance and create the structure, all while using strictly nonverbal communication.
Once the first shape is done, give them a new set of bricks and tell them they need to turn the structure into a bridge or tower. Ask who is the group leader and then tell them that person can no longer take charge, meaning that someone else will have to take the reins, or they'll have to work without a leader altogether. Once the structure is built, its strength is tested just like the strength of the group was tested while going through the exercise.
LEGO Replication Game
Start by building your own structure and keep it hidden until the exercise begins. Next, break your group into equal-sized teams. Give each team the same bricks you used to complete it and allow only one person on each team to look at the original structure at a time and tell other team members how to build it. The structure must be copied exactly, and the team that either finishes the structure first or comes the closest at the end of a set time period wins.
Builder, Looker, Runner
A variation on the replication game is the builder, looker, runner format. In this version, the teams must consist of three people, each with one specific role. Only the builder can build, only the looker can see the original structure and the runner serves as the middle man, taking instructions from the looker to describe to the builder. This adds a great communication element to the exercise, as any game of telephone is bound to end up with some broken lines of communication.
Management Communication Efficiency
This literal telephone game is quite similar to the builder, looker, runner game, only it breaks teams into groups based on seniority, and the middle man cannot see the structure being built at all. It starts by breaking the whole group into three groups: senior management, middle management and other workers. Each team is placed in a different room with a phone.
The workers are given LEGO building blocks but nothing else, and they must await instructions from middle management. Middle management does nothing but act as a go-between for workers and senior management, waiting for them to call and then giving them instructions for how the structure is to be built. Senior management has the plans for the structure, and they must inform middle management and try to get the project done on time.
This one can be particularly useful because it reflects the actual communication and seniority structure used in the workplace. It reminds the group as a whole that they are only as effective as the rest of the group.
LEGO Bridge Building
Bridge building is a powerful metaphor, and with this exercise, your group can practice it literally and figuratively. In this LEGO challenge team-building game, divide your group into two teams. The two teams are given bricks and told to build half a bridge, with a sheet dividing the two teams so they can't see what the other team is building. They can only use verbal communication to discuss what they're building and how it looks.
Once each team has their bridge ready to be connected, remove the sheet, reveal the structures and then watch them try to engineer solutions to link together two structures that are most likely very different.
SERIOUS PLAY Kits
LEGO is so aware of their product's value when it comes to team building that the company has actually issued official kits known as LEGO SERIOUS PLAY to facilitate this goal. You can follow a similar process without SERIOUS PLAY kits, but the kits are ideal because they are designed specifically for team-building projects.
When trying these LEGO team-building ideas, teams are asked to use bricks (or a LEGO SERIOUS PLAY kit) to recreate problem scenarios so the other team can try to help solve the problem. If you don't have SERIOUS PLAY kits available, then the employees can use regular bricks to set up a specific scenario, attempting to illustrate the problem in a way that the other team members can understand. If you do have SERIOUS PLAY kits, then they can set up scenarios offered in the kits and walk through them, asking other team members what they would do differently and how they would handle each situation.
The great thing about running scenarios through LEGO bricks is that you can engage real problems without running the risk of hurting anyone's feelings, which can be a problem when role playing.