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Team Tactics

When it comes to team events, it's easy to get a mixed reception from colleagues when trying to decide how to mix a fun day out with something a little more cerebral. Trying to find a 'one size fits all' activity for different ages, abilities and personalities can be challenging to say the least.

At City Challenge however, there's a really exciting, simple solution. City Challenge events take place among the streets and attractions of some of the UK and Europe's most exciting cities, and there's so much to see that not even cloudy, grey skies can spoilt the fun.

Suitable for a wide range of ages, abilities and levels of seniority, City Challenge events appeal because they mix an enthusiastic approach with experiential learning and the chance to see the behind the scenes of some famous cities, including Edinburgh, Prague, Oxford and, of course, City of London.

Here, to help you make the right decision on an event for your company, Jane Read, managing director of City Challenge provides some helpful tips and advice:

Making the right choice The golden rule of organising an activity is not to give everyone the chance to suggest the type of event they'd like - they will NEVER agree and you run the risk of alienating those who lose out and favouring those whose idea was accepted. Think carefully about why you are holding the event and what you want to achieve. Only research those activities that meet your objectives.

Money, money, money If you've just said no to a pay rise, don't expect happy, smiling faces when you tell them you've spent 10,000 on a teambuilding event. Pick your time, agree your budget and choose your activity wisely, look for events which offer tangible improvements rather than just a quick hit. Long-term benefits will increase profits, so in the end good training will pay for itself. Don't spend hours getting lots of quotes and wasting everybody's time, think about your objectives and budget and ask three suppliers to quote.

Macho man meets beauty queen Review the profile of the team you're working with before you make any decisions about the type of activity. The managing director might not thank you for making him look foolish when he falls off a raft into the river, while the girls in accounts would give anything to be pampered at a spa day. Find an activity where everyone can shine. Don't alienate individuals before you start or bully people into taking part, using trained facilitators will help achieve this objective.

Location, location, location If taking part in the day is a logistical nightmare for employees, then you've lost them before you've even started. Make sure the event is held at a time and a location which is convenient to as many people as possible and make arrangements for essential roles to be covered, so participants can enjoy themselves without feeling stressed about who's answering the phone or picking up emails.

What are we doing here? Teambuilding events should be two-way streets. Explain to your team why you're undertaking the training in the first place and ask them what outcomes they would like to see, ask them what really needs doing and find a way to achieve it. Tell your training provider what the challenges are and they will help you meet them.

Taking part Teambuilding activities should be exactly that. Stick to the proverbial "level playing field" and allow all the team to get involved. These events are a great way to break down traditional workplace barriers and you might find there are some real stars waiting to show their potential.

The next step Events should be good fun, but make sure the lessons learned are captured and translated back into real benefits. Have a proper debrief (ideally with a trained facilitator) to determine if you met your objectives and ensure positive points can be translated into tangible improvements in the workplace.