A key to the success of any organization or group is relational connectedness. People will work harder for the success of an organization if they believe in the vision and cause that they are working for and if positive relationships exist between the members of the organization.
It really boils down to the fact that you need to know the people with whom you work or lead. As a middle school principal, it was important to me to ensure that each year as new teachers came to our school that they had an opportunity to bond and build relationships with the teachers who had been there over the years. That’s one of the reasons leaders take the time to do those “get to know you” icebreaker activities. To the task driven, it may appear to be a waste of time, but if you have solid activities, relationships will begin to form. As relationships develop, collaboration begins to occur. Someone once said that two heads are stronger than one and collaboration for the betterment of your organization is definitely a positive outcome! You may lead or teach in an office, school, volunteer organization, church small group or children’s group. Periodically, I will share some of these icebreakers on the blog so that if you are leading any type of group, you will be able to modify and adapt these to work in your situation. I like to call them Interesting Icebreakers…
Once Upon A Time: I have always loved to read and when I was a young girl, the stories always began, “Once Upon A Time” and they ended with “Happily Ever After”. For this activity, ask the people in your group to form a large circle. I asked my staff to organize themselves by birthdate with the starting point of the circle being the person with a birthdate closest to January 1st. Then the circle progressed by birthdates until the person who completed the circle had the last birthday in the year and was standing next to the person who started the circle. This only took a few minutes and many of my staff members discovered that they shared or had a birthday close to that of another staff member! I guarantee they still remember when that person’s birthday is – first relationship formed.
Once your group is arranged in the circle, it is time to start the story. You can give a theme of the story to the group or just see where the story takes itself (this is much more interesting than a set topic). The first person in the circle says, “Once Upon A Time” and then each person in the circle adds one sentence to develop the story. The last person in the circle ends the story with, “They Lived Happily Ever After!” Depending on the size of your group, you can go around the circle once (suggested if your group is 50 or more) or you could say that we are going to go around the circle 3 times and the last person in the circle states the “Happily Ever After” at the end of the third time around (suggested for groups of 12 or less). Not only will you have a good laugh as a group, you will have encouraged creativity – a quality that benefits every organization.
If you have smiles at the end of your icebreaker activitiy, it was not a waste of time. Take the time to look for ways to develop and encourage relationships with and between those in your organization/group. Even if you are not the leader of your organization, take time to discover the story that is within each of those you work with and begin to make connections. You’ll be on the road to “Happily Ever After.”