Teambuilding for Slackers

By Lisa Cericola & Rosalba Curiel November 19, 2007, 3:31 PM EST

Suited-up participants paint each other during a Messy Monkey Arts teambuilding activity.

Photo: Saul Wainwright

Does anyone really like “trust falls” or white-water rafting with the boss? Prevent eye-rolling (and promote bonding) with these actually enjoyable activities.

On the Cheap:
For those interested in exploring their creative sides, Bay Area artist Kelly Vaagsland’s Messy Monkey Arts packages let groups work together on art projects. Participants need not be expert artists to join in the activity, as they create pieces using unconventional tools like brooms or turkey basters. Teams name and price their works and are then free to mingle—with drinks and cookies in hand—for a gallery-style showing of the creations. For a more involved finale, participants in a just-for-laughs paint-off wear paper suits and hard hats equipped with brushes, and attempt to paint one another. A $4,000 package for groups of as many as 50 lasts two to three hours.

Mid-Range: Not everyone has the musical chops (or the courage) to sing in front of an audience, but Face the Music, a blues band specializing in corporate teambuilding, will get everyone into the act. Band members divide groups into teams and help them write blues songs about work—providing a little comic relief and even some therapeutic venting. After some practice, the four- to six-piece band will back the employees as they perform their songs (or the band can perform them instead). Prices vary, but most corporate events are between $12,000 and $15,000, sound equipment and lighting costs not included.

Splurge: Magic, Martinis, and Mario is a joint venture that magician Billy Harris, mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, and celebrity chef Mario Batali launched in the spring. The trio’s entertaining take on corporate teambuilding includes rounds of specialty cocktails, an interactive performance by Harris, and a multicourse menu by Batali. Of course, rubbing elbows with Triple M Productions (as the three friends bill themselves) doesn’t come cheap: Events are in the ballpark of $150,000 per night and must be scheduled at least six months in advance.

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