Are group music activities worthwhile for business groups or teams? If I say yes, can I prove it? These are questions I’m sometimes asked by potential clients who want to focus on ROI when considering a music team building activity.
I think that bringing music to your work team is a must. Group music activities are worthwhile and they do yield ROI. You may have to re-frame your concept of return just a bit. And I’ll help you do that after we talk about the reasons musical programs are so valuable for corporate groups.
Music Activities Hit Home
Think of the wonderful cliches we use everyday that revolve around music. Need a ‘tune-up’, working in ‘harmony’, not the same ole ‘song’ and dance. I could go on and on. My point is that music is such an integral part of everyone’s life. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be musical, I know you have favorite songs that are part of the narrative of your own life story.
I bet you can recall and sing the lyrics to dozens, maybe even a hundred songs, from memory. I bet you’ve been caught off guard by a wave of emotion, perhaps nostalgia, when a favorite song comes on the radio and brings you back to a childhood place and time. Music engages all of us on a deep level.
Music also builds bridges. I was traveling abroad a few years ago and the person sitting next to me on the train noticed a song on my iTunes playlist. He commented that it was his favorite song. Although we barely spoke the same language, we spent the remainder of that train ride sharing memories of songs we both liked, songs that had influenced our adolescence, bridging a cultural divide and bringing us closer.
What if you could bring this power to your work life and to your corporate team? Wouldn’t it be fun? Wouldn’t it be meaningful?
Yes and yes. Group music activities at work will bridge divides and create emotional engagement among your team. Music will help you find common ground. It will help you share common experience as you bond in ways that translate into better communication and performance.
Tired Of Singing The Same Old Song?
So if you’re tired of singing the same ole’ song, (yes another great music cliche), consider bringing some musical programming to your work environment.
How can you sell the finance guys on the concept of spending a bit of time, and thus money, on music? Talk to them about something I like to call ROInspiration®. I bet that your organization, like most, appreciates the value of staying innovative not only to maintain market share but to grow and thrive.
Creative types like myself know that in order to innovate you have to set aside time to play, to experiment, to dream, ponder, try, fail and ultimately succeed. When you take time to follow your inspiration you’ll be rewarded with real return by coming up with new ideas and solving old problems.
When you bring an organized musical program to your company, you’ll follow your collective inspiration as you learn how to use creativity to problem solve. There’s both tangible and emotional benefit from striking up the band, even at work!
Ideas For Group Music Activities
Here are specific ideas you can use. Some you can organize yourself and some require bringing in outside experts.
- Trains and stories: A simple place to start is to recreate the experience I described above from my train ride in Europe. Ask everyone in your group to share their favorite song, to describe where they were when they first heard it and explain why it has meaning to them. This can get really interesting when two people share the same favorite song but have completely different personal stories about their connections with the song. In addition to songs, you can do this with favorite bands too. This is a great meeting warm up that will build empathy and help create a framework for open communication.
- Stories and singers: While I’m a huge proponent of facilitated team building, sometimes simply sharing a great out of the office experience is enough to recalibrate. Take your team to a concert. Or if you have budget, say during a larger conference, include a great musical performer at your convention. The simple act of being part of an audience during a meaningful program creates positive shared experience. For example, you might catch a glimpse of your boss dancing in the aisle and thus gain appreciation for him or her as approachable. That would be a great memory and a great story to be able to tell about your boss – Or to hold over them when you need to!
- Singers, songs and stories: I think the work I’m engaged in with at Team building Through Song® brings together all the elements I’ve touched on so far. I mentioned that songs make up the narrative of our personal lives. Through facilitated songwriting, you can create your own work songs that will communicate your company’s narrative and most importantly, will draw everyone into your organization’s story in an authentic, relatable way. You can experience the power that comes from music. You can share the inspiration that comes from using your own voice as a co-creator and as a contributor to your team and organization.
Engagement, ownership and innovation are all big buzz words. Many of my clients use these words in their value statements or HR manuals. Yet many organizations don’t create ongoing opportunity for their workforce to become more engaged; to feel an ongoing sense of ownership or to follow innovative practices.
There is ROI there if you allow time and provide follow through when you bring a musical activity into your work life. Taking time to bring creative programming to your work life isn’t just accessorizing, it’s vital. The return will include higher retention, better problem solving and more communication.
Remember that mission statement you can’t quite recite without looking at your script? Remember all those songs you can sing the lyrics to? Imagine if your mission statement was a catchy song…bet you’d be able to tell it and sell it!