Team Building Games for the Business Classroom

I view my classroom as I view the teams I coach. If your team does not trust the other members, or they are not bought into the common goal, the group will eventually falter. A coach spends quality time on team building to allow games to be won through trust and vision. Why should a classroom be any different?

Students must not only buy into the lesson you are teaching but must trust that the task presented to them will help them understand the topic. They need to see the importance of assessment, and will not unless they trust that you are giving it to them for the right reasons.

However, building trust between students and yourself can be difficult. Especially if you do not put any focus on it from the first day.

Students need an environment that is engaging and comfortable. They also need an environment that is built on trust to achieve a common goal. If there are barriers, such as lack of communication or lack of trust between students, this type of classroom can be hard to achieve.

Luckily, you have the power to change that from the first-day students walk into your classroom.

Spending quality time away from the curricular outcomes early can lead to major benefits later on. This time will also be fun for both you and your students to start building a sense of community.

Team building games can quickly break down barriers and build a team that is your classroom. The best thing is that these team building games do not have to be off-topic either! There are a variety of business-focused games you can introduce to jumpstart your classroom and introduce key topics.

This article will share some of my favourite team-building games that can seamlessly integrate into many business courses to tackle multiple problems at once!

Design and Pitch a Product

Think outside the box

The Process

This is something I have done in the first class of every entrepreneurship-focused course I have taught. I have even done it multiple times with the same students. Why? Because it will be different every single time.

I normally mix students up into various groups and present them with the same bag of random items. The items do not have to be connected in any way – the more random the better!

Students get a set amount of time to look through their bag of items and design a product out of them that will appeal to a specific market.

I usually supply students with basic supplies, such as scissors and tape, to construct their products. I also typically give students a timeframe that challenges them to communicate quickly and effectively to create their product without wasting time.

Once the time is up, each group pitches its product to the remainder of the class. I encourage them to make it entertaining and use each group member in some way. Remaining students ask questions to get a better understanding of the product.

The Result

Students have a lot of fun with this team building game. They get more comfortable with each other by working in groups and communicating with others in the pitch and question periods.

More importantly, students learn how to understand a target market and how to brainstorm business ideas. When we cover this content in later classes, we can connect this activity to them and start to develop a greater understanding.

Finally, students are typically a lot more bought in the long term to developing successful businesses.

Guess The Logo

McDonald's logo

The Process

A logo guessing game can be done in a number of ways. The result is always the same.

Students view various logos and must guess which brand they belong to. I like to throw in some lesser-known brands with the major corporation’s students will recognize. This makes it both fun and challenging and does not leave any student out from being unable to answer a question.

What’s even better is there are already many free resources for it!

My go-to logo games are:

  • Kahoot – Brand Names/Logos – Great for individual/team setup. It also has 40 questions, with many challenging logos for students. Kahoot requires computers, tablets, or a cell phone to play.
  • Sporcle – Corporate Logos Quiz – I’ve had students play this individually or in groups to see who can complete it in the fastest time. I have also put it on the projector and had students yell out answers as I typed them in if the technology is not available to you.
  • The Logo Board Game – I like playing this with groups of students as it tests their knowledge of popular brands. Also, it does not require technology!

The Result

Students can quickly see how much they already know about certain brands.

Playing these games allow you to transition into a lesson about branding or advertising, and why certain students remember certain brands more than others. Students become hooked on the elements of branding when they can recall things they already know.

Accounting Monopoly

Monopoly as a team building game

The Process

Monopoly does ruin friendships. However, monopoly can also be a great introductory tool for accounting concepts.

Students can work individually or in groups to play a game of monopoly against others. The twist: all transactions become journal entries. Every time money changes hands, students must record the proper debit/credit transactions with the proper accounts.

This game can take a lot of time to set up, and will probably require some help initially. However, once students have a grasp on the different accounts and how to record transactions properly, you can stay hands-off and watch the magic unfold.

Teachers (or pre-assigned students) can do spot audits to ensure students are recording transactions properly. To make it even more challenging, introduce penalties for students making mistakes.

The Result

The beauty of this team building game is that it can be introduced at various times in your accounting class. You can do a very basic run-through on the first days of the course. Once you introduce more topics, such as balance sheets and income statements, these can integrate into the monopoly games as well.

Students benefit from this activity greatly in my classroom. They also look forward to it as a learning option. I haven’t been able to do anything in an accounting class as effective as this to get students to buy in and utilize their learning.

You can find a great explanation of how to set it up here.

Target Market Profile on The Teacher

Teacher presenting team building games

The Process

This one requires a bit of instruction before the activity. However, it will allow you to connect with the students on a whole new level.

After briefly describing the different parts of a target market profile, give each group a piece of paper. On that paper, groups will try to come up with a target market profile on you!

I typically give each group 15 minutes to come up with as many guesses as they can. Since many of your students will not know much about you, the answers will vary. I also do not answer any questions students have.

Once the 15 minutes are up, each group writes their answers down on a whiteboard or SmartBoard.

The Result

I typically go through the master list and give them some truths about myself that I want to share. By doing this, students get to know you. They also become more comfortable in your classroom. I have been able to find connections with students by running this activity.

Students also learn how to develop a target market profile on someone they think they know. When you go deeper into this concept, students will have an easier time developing a profile based on a product or type of retail business.

Bartering Your Own Items

Handshake agreement

The Process and Result

Having students place value on their own items is challenging. They will each see their items as being more valuable than others do.

The barter day has students bring in their own items, and trade them to other students for things they possess. Students must find out what others covet, or find a way to negotiate with them to get the items they want.

I have gone in-depth in describing this activity in a past post that I encourage you to read! It covers the activity in detail, and the benefits students can receive.

Team Building Games Work Wonders!

Icebreakers and team-building games can have a bad reputation. Students have seen them over and over and can become bored with them.

To approach these, I use ones that are more course-specific to reduce the chances students have done something like this before. Additionally, these team-building games can connect directly with course content.

The buy-in from students is integral in making this work. Without proper planning and excitement from the teacher, students will not engage with the activity. However, by approaching the activity in the right way, the classroom team can be built effectively.

And I promise you that your classroom will be better off in the long run!

If you have any team building games that you use in your business classroom, please share them below! I am always looking to expand my playbook, and I know other teachers are looking to do the same.

Thanks for reading!

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