Why Active Inspiration in Team Building is a Game Changer

Carly Syms - Team Lead for Marketing & VIP Customer Service

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Inspiration comes in many different forms. Search Instagram and you’ll find over 57 million photos with the hashtag #inspiration. How about that motivational poster hanging in your office? Or the eye-opening TED Talk that makes you feel like you can conquer the world? While people can draw inspiration from any number of things, there’s no indication that this outside inspiration encourages anyone to actually apply any of the principles to their own lives. Think about when your favorite song comes on the radio. It may make you feel like you can take on the world, but does it result in any action?

This difference seen here can be classified as passive versus active inspiration. Let’s explore the distinction between the two and how to harness the power of active inspiration and put it to work for you and your team. 

A team celebrates their big win on a team building tour in San Francisco with us.
A team celebrates their big win on a team building tour in San Francisco with us.

Active vs. Passive Inspiration

Entrepreneur and writer James Clear outlines that there are two types of inspiration – active and passive. Passive inspiration accounts for consuming those activities mentioned earlier – social media posts, videos, songs, books.  Active inspiration, on the other hand, asks for a person to do just that – take action! As Clear puts it: “Watching someone else’s success might leave you feeling excited for a few minutes, but taking action and applying a new idea to your life will inspire you more than anything someone else could say.”

Here at Museum Hack, we take this distinction to heart. Our tours are all about moving beyond the standard museum experience. Instead of standing silently in front of an awe-inspiring artifact or work of art, we ask people to engage with their surroundings for a more immersive experience. Group activities, fun stories, and photo ops encourage tour-goers to move beyond that passive observer role.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with passive inspiration. Perhaps standing silently in front of a work of art encourages you to take up painting or sculpting yourself. Suddenly, you find yourself creating and you’ve turned that observation into an activity.

When it comes to inspiring your employees, however, businesses can’t rely on the short life span of passive inspiration, just hoping that it turns into action. It’s crucial that motivation and inspiration in the workplace are accompanied by action.

Here are a few ways that active inspiration can benefit businesses by turning employees into an actively inspired team.

How to Use Active Inspiration to Strengthen Your Teams

While a weekly company newsletter or staff meeting may be enough to inform, it’s unlikely that people will feel inspired enough to take action. If you really want to encourage application, creativity, and innovation in your business, try investing in team building. Activities that promote team collaboration can also help your employees seek inspiration beyond the normal office setting, whether that’s a cubicle, home office, or cowork space.

Here are 4 ideas to help your teams feel actively inspired:

  • Trainages

We’re firm believers in team building at Museum Hack and one of the ways we get our own team actively inspired is through our “trainages.” These sessions are designed to help our team learn new skills that aren’t necessarily work-related but will benefit them on the job – for example, vocal training (particularly helpful for our tour guides), improv classes, and storytelling workshops. These are all activities that require active participation and it’s easy to feel inspired when the entire team is learning new skills together and having fun while doing it.

An added bonus, as outlined in this Forbes article, is that “happiness is found in these moments of profound engagement: “The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”

  • Team Retreats

Another favorite team building activity at Museum Hack is the team retreat. Sometimes all it takes for a little inspiration is a change of scenery. How you turn that inspiration from passive to active is up to you. If you want to encourage team bonding, organize a challenge that incorporates a little friendly competition and a chance to explore your new surroundings. Or perhaps this is the perfect time to leverage that change of scenery and have a brainstorming session to generate new ideas, creativity, and inspiration for your business and team.    

  • Take Team Building into Your Own Hands

If you want your team to feel actively inspired, make sure you’re feeling actively inspired when planning team building activities. Don’t be afraid to develop custom ideas that fit your industry, your company culture and values, and most importantly, your team! What inspires one team may not resonate with another.

Having said that, there are tons of great team building ideas out there already, so don’t be afraid to do some research and adapt according to your needs. As James Clear outlines in his article The Two Types of Inspiration: “If you come across a good idea, use it. We spend so much time trying to find more inspirational things to consume that it can be easy for us to forget that the best form of inspiration comes from what we create.”

  • Value Your Teams

Passive inspiration is all too common in companies that don’t value their employees. A motivational talk from a CEO who doesn’t know their employees’ names or a mandatory work function isn’t likely to inspire. This is why recognizing your team as a worthy investment is crucial. Simply taking steps to show your team that they’re worth investing in can go a long way to creating an inspired team. Team building activities, social events, or just being there for a one-on-one meeting can be very inspiring to a team.

These are just a few ways to use active inspiration and team building to ensure you have a high-performing team. And this inspiration doesn’t have to be confined to your internal teams either – strive for active inspiration when dealing with clients to maximize creativity and exceed expectations.

 

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