Hit songwriter Dave Hiltebrand leads IRI Worldwide through a Chicago team building program

Every city has a unique personality that influences what it offers to both tourists and its local community. Ever since we began leading Chicago team building programs, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with other remarkable team building facilitators who excel in their respective fields. They offer a wide range of activities from exhilarating trapeze programs to adventurous sailing excursions and more.

Here’s a guide featuring some of my personal favorites for Chicago team events.

7 Windy City Team Building Favorites

1) Singing the blues and more –  Chicago is home for urban blues and jazz; and it’s the formative location for many famous pop/rock bands. I think that’s why we get so many requests for our music team building events from organizations planning programs in the Windy City. 

Songwriting and performing are highly collaborative. And making music together is a great way to have fun and build creative confidence.  We have song programs for small teams, large teams, conference sessions and even musical keynote speaking programs. Music has a way of bringing people together. It invites everyone to connect in authentic ways. The goal of our songwriting program is to have genuine fun as you contribute and share ideas, while working toward a memorable group performance. Your group will collectively tap into the power of music while creating and recording your original songs.

2) Drumming it up – When our Chicago office opened, an incredible opportunity came my way. I had the chance to meet the master drummer, John Yost. While collaborating with John, we developed a unique program that combines the essence of group singing with the exhilaration of drumming. This drumming experience is more than just percussion playing; it’s a journey that encompasses togetherness. 

While you’ll certainly have a blast banging on the drums, the real magic lies in the step-by-step collaborative process. Together, we’ll build upon the foundation of teamwork while boosting motivation and engagement. Each participant will become part of a section, exploring various percussion instruments and drums, mastering their group parts. Then, like a symphony, we’ll unite to create a collaborative performance. This event showcases individual contribution, teamwork, and the productive power that comes when the different parts of your organization converge in a unified, collaborative masterpiece.

3) Cooking something up – You can plan a cooking event any time of year, but when the midwest winter sets in and the temperature drops, a bottle of wine and making a meal becomes one of my favorite Chicago team building programs. The Chopping Block in the Lincoln Square neighborhood offers culinary team building that’s fun. The experience strengthens your team’s ability to solve problems and collaborate. Illuminated Brew Works also offers a plethora of different pop-up cooking classes that you can attend with your group. Learn the delicate process of making pasta or dumplings. After all, you will want to succeed at creating a great meal you all can enjoy.

4) Hanging by a thread – If you choose The Trapeze School in Chicago, you won’t find yourself truly hanging by a thread. However, the metaphor resonates. This is the essence of risk-taking and facing challenges, all while having the security of a safety net…quite literally! It’s a unique opportunity that combines the thrill of stepping outside your comfort zone with the reassurance of a safety measure. What could be more exhilarating? 

This uniquely Chicago team building experience blends challenge and achievement, cultivating trust among participants. This might not be for every team, but if you manage to persuade your crew to give it a try, the experience will be worth it.

5) Improv –  Prepare to immerse yourself in the world of improv and comedy with renowned Second City. Here is where you’ll step outside your comfort zone and refine your collaboration skills while embracing on-your-toes thinking. This program is a perfect fit for sales teams seeking to enhance their pitch delivery. However, any group will thoroughly enjoy this experience and reap its benefits. You’ll have a  blast discovering the transformative power of laughter and creativity. And you’ll foster teamwork and personal growth.

Seasonal Chicago Team Building Programs

6) Finding wind in your sails –  3rd Coast Cruising offers Chicago team programs that promote bonding and collaboration with a bit of challenge. Learn how to hoist the main, tack, and jib! The most challenging part is predicting the weather, so booking this adventure in the summer months will probably be your best bet if you want the wind to cooperate.

7) Take me out to the ballgame – Can attending a baseball game be considered a valid team building activity? Absolutely! In fact, it’s a highly rewarding experience, particularly while watching the Cubs in action at the iconic Wrigley Field in Chicago. Going to a baseball game with your colleagues may not fit the conventional idea of team building, but  enjoying concessions together and sharing the excitement of the game creates lasting memories. This is valid team bonding, super low on stress. So enjoy the simplicity of taking your team out to the ball game! 

Know Your Goals To Help You Decide

The first thing I always ask potential clients is to really think about why they want to invest their resources in a team activity. Time and money are valuable, so it’s crucial to understand your goals before deciding on the right approach for your organization.

Other aspects to consider are the unique characteristics of your group and your timing. For example, if you’re planning a team building program in Chicago during January, you definitely don’t want to be stuck outside in the cold. If some of your team members aren’t fans of strenuous physical activity, it’s important to choose options that won’t make them feel overwhelmed. You’ll want to explore activities that cater to a diverse range of abilities and comfort levels. 

To help you make the best choice, it’s worth looking at what other clients commonly describe as their goals. These goals are worth considering as you decide which team building programs will be the perfect fit for your team. 

  • We just want to have fun!
  • We need to mend fences and get back in sync.
  • We’re celebrating a successful year!
  • We’re planning for the future and need to get everyone aligned on goals and strategy.
  • We want an activity that will help us understand our mission and who we are.
  • We’re bringing new staff on board and want them to feel part of our already established team.

Whatever your goals are, take time to explore your options and then forge ahead.

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About Billy Kirsch

Billy is a Grammy & Emmy nominated, CMA & ACM award winning songwriter with numerous Top 10 hits to his credit. His team building programs and keynote speaking presentations help people tap into their creative abilities to become more innovative and engaged in their work. Clients include Fortune 100 companies and organizations throughout the world.