Improve Team Effectiveness through Arts-Based Team Building

Art can help your team work better together. Find out how an arts-based team experience improves team effectiveness. 

What are you expecting from a team-building experience?

Well-designed team building creates an opportunity for the team members to connect in an informal atmosphere. It also strengthens the bonds between team members, fosters collaboration, develops the participants’ skills and helps them gain more clarity about the organisation’s values and purpose. 

Arts-based activities followed by and after action review improves team effectiveness, enabling teams to get better results faster. This creates a competitive advantage for ambitious organisations in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world.

At Collaborative Art®, we believe you shouldn’t have to choose between a fun team activity and an impactful one.  We specialise in creating meaningful team experiences that connect to the current challenges and goals in the workplace in a fun and empowering way. 

Here are eight things that make our arts-based team activities the perfect mix of easygoing and impactful.

1. Team Building as a Tool to Envision Success

In leadership, the ability to translate a vision into reality is paramount. Yet, aligning teams around that vision often poses a significant challenge. This is where Collaborative Art® team-building workshops emerge as a powerful tool in a leader's toolkit: fostering collaboration, creativity, and unity among team members. 

When I first worked in the HR world in multinational companies, I saw a budding need for team-building activities that connect to the organisation’s values, challenges, and goals. Collaborative Art® was founded to fill this gap: I wanted to use my unique skill set as an artist and facilitator to help companies that care about their culture by designing team experiences that leave a more profound mark. 

Collaborative Art® workshops create an environment where diverse perspectives converge into a shared vision reflective of the entire team or organisation. This fosters ownership, commitment, and alignment towards common goals.

2. Tailored Team Events for Every Objective

No two teams are alike, and neither should their team-building experiences be. Collaborative Art® workshops are thoughtfully tailored to meet each team's specific objectives and preferences. Whether fostering unity, reinforcing organisational values, or enhancing trust and agility, every workshop is uniquely crafted to align with the organisation’s development needs.

Over time, strategically designed team events help build a strong company culture that boosts business performance.

For example, the event hosted for Healthspottr revolved around its goal to transform the American healthcare industry. All 150 healthcare professionals contributed to the masterpiece, illustrating their shared vision of the key drivers of the transformation.

3. Unleashing Collective Creativity

Aligning a team event to the organisation’s vision, challenges, and goals doesn’t mean it will be all work and no play for the participants. 

At Collaborative Art®, we believe everyone is inherently creative! Our events tap into this creativity and help participants overcome their limiting beliefs about their perceived creative skills. 

For example, Team Art Activities and Creative Team Building cultivate metaphorical thinking and storytelling skills. At the same time, the Human Orchestra and Improv workshops develop active listening, sensing, and thinking outside the box. 

Simultaneously, the creative approach makes the team events very inclusive. Each activity is artistic by nature, but participants do not need previous artistic experience. The less they think they have, the better we can leverage the power of taking teams out of their comfort zone.  

Workshops are carefully calibrated to each organisation’s unique needs and are not based on pre-designed templates. They cut to the core of the company’s goals and values to provide team-building experiences and long-term business success.

4. Arts-Based Events Foster Collaboration 

One of the most common reasons organisations invest in team-building events is to strengthen their team spirit and employees’ collaboration skills. According to the most optimistic estimates, team building can result in a tenfold increase in collaboration and innovation.

Collaborative Art® workshops foster genuine collaboration and connection among team members. While elements of competition can be introduced to spice things up, a true masterpiece can only be achieved through teamwork, idea-sharing, and collective effort.

The difference between cooperation and collaboration is subtle yet distinctive. Cooperative colleagues work together, but mainly to advance their individual goals. Collaborative colleagues don’t only share expertise, tools, and tips; they also share ownership of the project and its goals, working together to reach a joint vision instead of completing simple tasks. 

Collaborative Art® team-building experiences propel participants to collaborate. For example, our signature workshop, Creative Team Building, aka painting with purpose, revolves around the team creating a masterpiece from scratch in two hours using a famous artist’s style to inspire a common visual language.

It’s a challenge a team simply cannot accomplish in the given time without everyone participating. 

Tackling a seemingly impossible challenge in a team event strengthens collaboration. It prepares the participants for situations where ready-made solutions don’t exist, and they need to problem-solve and think innovatively.

5. Guided by Expert Facilitators

The facilitator is pivotal in orchestrating the workshop and participants towards their objectives. With experienced artists at the helm, Collaborative Art® workshops are expertly facilitated to create motivational and inspiring experiences, driving teams towards their goals while nurturing a supportive and creative environment.

Expert facilitators in a team-building activity also create a psychologically safe space for debriefs about insights and takeaways about dynamics that promote learning. 

6. Creative Team Building Elevates Storytelling Skills

In addition to encouraging the team members to tap into their problem-solving potential, well-designed, artistic team-building experiences develop participants’ capabilities. 

Storytelling, for example, is a powerful tool for conveying key messages, simplifying the complicated and fostering unity. Collaborative Art® workshops elevate storytelling skills, enabling participants to craft compelling narratives that deepen their connection to the shared vision. By embracing metaphorical thinking and verbal storytelling, teams enhance their communication abilities and reinforce their sense of belonging.

An arts-based team-building activity elevates key capabilities, and your Collaborative Art® event can be enhanced with tailored add-ons to ensure that it addresses your organisation’s capabilities development needs.

7. Shared Experiences Generate Long-Lasting Team Pride

One perk of an arts-based team activity that leaders don’t often consider is the sense of pride the participants feel, often for a long time after the event. 

As doubts about artistic abilities dissolve, team members unite to breathe life into the canvas, infusing it with meaning and purpose. The resulting masterpiece is a tangible symbol of their shared vision, creativity, and collaboration - a testament to their collective strength, clarity and cohesion.

Overcoming a seemingly impossible challenge, learning new skills, refining existing capabilities, and feeling more connected to the organisation and its vision or values are powerful outcomes. 

8. Art That Endures with Long-Lasting Visual Reminders

As the final cherry on top of the cake, the Collaborative Art® team enables the participants to co-create a lasting visual reminder of the event: the teams bring the masterpiece they’ve painted or performed back to the office as a work of art, reproduction, team photograph or video highlights.

Hanging prominently in the workspace, the painting, photography, or video sparks conversations, reinforces organisational values, and inspires continued motivation and unity among team members. In addition, teams can transform their work of art into post-event gifts such as screen-saver images, mugs and mouse pads to remind themselves of their team’s potential.

These ways amplify the positive effects of the Collaborative Art® team-building experience and remind the participants about their newly found skills and the positive vision they’re working towards. 

Creative Team Experiences Build Success

Team building aims to enhance teamwork, collaboration, communication, and morale within a team or organisation. It improves relationships between team members, fosters a sense of unity and cohesion, and ultimately increases productivity and effectiveness in achieving common goals.

And doing this can be a fun and memorable experience, too! After all, research shows that when we enjoy the process of learning, our memory retention - how much we remember about the experience afterwards - improves. 

In short, when you want an inspiring team-building activity that also creates long-term impact, go with an experiential, arts-based one so that you can have your cake and eat it, too!

Collaborative Art® team-building workshops offer a unique and practical approach to enhancing team collaboration, creativity, and cohesion. By integrating these workshops into your leadership toolkit, you can empower your team to translate your vision into reality while fostering a culture of communication, innovation and collaboration.

Read more about our offers and discover solutions to help your organisation. We’re always happy to speak with you and discuss how we can tailor our offerings to address your specific needs. Book a call with us now.

In the meantime, I have a question for you:

What is the most memorable team building you’ve experienced and why?

About the Author

Steph Fonteyn is an internationally exhibited artist, facilitator of team effectiveness and leadership development at Kinetic Consulting, and founder of Collaborative Art® team-building. She ties together the fine threads of creativity, courage, and leadership to provide her clients with transformative team-building and experiential learning. Her mission is to empower professionals worldwide to tap into their potential and inherent creativity to be better leaders and bring about change.

Steph founded Collaborative Art® in 2011 to unite teams around a shared vision through art. She has developed innovative techniques to unlock teams' creative and collaborative potential. With her artistic talent, public speaking skills, HR experience, and team-building expertise, Steph has become a respected figure in creativity, communication, and leadership.

As an award-winning public speaker, she has shared her expertise on creativity and learning at various events, including TEDx, Vacheron Constantin, Procter & Gamble, The Aspen Institute and Webster University.

Aside from helping companies grow through arts-based experiential learning, team effectiveness, leadership development, she enjoys visual storytelling through painting, self discovery through conscious dance, and testing out speech ideas at Toastmasters. She lives in Switzerland, near Geneva.

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