Book And Video Reviews

Teamwork and Teamplay: Games and Activities for Building and Training Teams

by Sivasailam Thiagarajan, Glenn M. Parker
“Well-Organized and Useful Resource”

Being one of those relatively concrete-sequential, oldest child, ISTJ (for the Myers-Briggs aficionados) people, I started my consulting career a little wary of all these “touchy-feely” group activities that trainers use when working with groups. Well, times change and (maybe) people do, too. I have done a fair amount of group facilitation and training, and have found all kinds of activities to be very beneficial in getting people to identify, focus on, and move toward shared goals. Many trainers discount or are ignorant of the requirements of adult learners -- most adults won't sit still (literally) for traditional, classroom-style instruction for more than 45 minutes at a time.

This book is an excellent, concise, easy-to-follow resource for anyone working in either team building or team training environments. As explained in the book's introduction, team building “...increases the ability of an intact team to work together...,“ while team training “...increases the knowledge and skills of the participants in various aspects of teamwork and being a team player....” The book presents many exercises for each type of team experience.

Each of the 38 activities is organized in an easy-to-follow format that includes:
purpose
team size (minimum/maximum recommended group)
required resources * time (to complete)
room setup
steps
debriefing
variations
templates, charts, overheads, as applicable

The book also includes appendices that sort the activities by primary use (team building or team training), time and participants, and by topic area (desired outcome or issue being addressed). These appendices make it easy to determine at a glance which of the 38 activities are most appropriate for a particular group or setting when designing training.

The value of the introduction bears emphasis. Many books have forgettable introductions; this book's introduction is an excellent short essay on the value, uses, and benefits of building and training teams. Read it slowly -- the authors make their points quickly. If you skim, you'll miss something important.

Whether you're a consultant or in-house trainer, regardless of organization size or mission, this book is a handy tool to improve the quality, participation, and outcomes from your groups training.