So you’ve successfully landed a leadership role on your local OCA chapter. Congrats! You’re ready to work and ready to make an impact on your local community. All those components are great, but you are forgetting one thing, you are going to be working alongside several different individuals! Working with different individuals comes with different personalities. It can be tough at first to figure out your working groove and team dynamic when you are first meeting someone new, so it is important to try to get to know your board.

You may question why you need to know someone in order to work with them. Team bonding brings people together by encouraging collaboration and teamwork. Fun activities that help people see each other in a  different light allow them to connect in a different setting. Team bonding leads to team building which leads to results! Teams can develop skills such as communication, planning, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. These developed skills foster genuine connections, deeper discussions and processing.

One way to help initiate team bonding is by having a board retreat. Have a board retreat somewhere away from the typical environment where you all typically work and meet. Try a new space to allow for new ideas and to get away from routine. A board retreat can be a very effective tool for addressing issues that arise outside of a normal board meeting. The amount of regular business handled in a regular board meeting tends to limit the board’s ability to tackle overarching issues. Doing a ropes course or escape room together are popular ways to have board bonding and it is no surprise why. These activities promote collaboration and problem solving. A lot of the times, one cannot advance further in these activities unless they accomplish everything together. There is further proper planning and steps to take when planning an effective board retreat, and if you are interested in learning more please contact me and we can have a discussion on how to tailor a retreat for your team.

Of course, sometimes we all are not able to block off a large amount of time in our schedules to have retreats. Retreats typically take one to two days. Try scheduling shorter activities such as dinners or potlucks. Try hosting a movie night at your place. They say if you can eat together, you can work together! Another idea is to schedule individual “dates” with board members. Assign your board members to meet up with a different individual every week or month. This allows people to have valuable one on one time to discuss items or ask questions that may not have arisen in a board environment.
There are an endless amount of ideas out there and I encourage you to try some to allow your board to bond and work better together. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach me at swong@ocanational.org or at 202.223.5500 ext. 120.