How to organize a team building treasure hunt.

A team building treasure hunt can be a very worthwhile exercise. It will have team members working together on a series of problems and also includes competition between teams. A successful hunt can not be taken for granted, however the following tips should increase your chances.

  1. Don’t start the planning process too late. A poorly organized treasure hunt is a frustrating experience for all involved and getting it right takes time – allow a couple of weeks.
  2.  Keep an eye on the budget. There are a lot of moving parts in a treasure hunt and it happens frequently that organizers find that they have spent more than they planned on props etc. when they add it all up.
  3. Don’t have any hard timelines. You will not be able to predict how long it will take teams to complete the hunt and rushing them will reduce the value of the execise.
  4. Spend some time at the location before you start designing your team building treasure hunt and take notes of any landmarks that you can incorporate into the riddles.
  5. Judging how difficult to make the riddles is not easy. Have some backup plans ready. Have extra riddles that are a little more difficult ready to swap in if the teams are progressing too quickly. Alternatively, have one ready which will short circuit the rest of the hunt and lead the teams directly to the treasure if it is just getting too late.
  6. Consider using existing riddles rather than authoring your own. There are many sources on the internet with most listed in our directory under ‘Riddles and Answers’. Also, think about just purchasing tickets in an existing treasure hunt rather than organising your own.
  7. If your location is going to be away from the office – somewhere nice – then give everyone a chance to enjoy it. Don’t plan on your hunt taking up all of the available time. Punctuating the event with a meal (treasure hunt beforehand) can help to enforce this.
  8. Use technology. This can really reduce the organizational effort. Check here for some ideas.
  9. Leave time for a debrief so that the players get the most out of the event.

A common trap with team building activities is to confuse them with entertainment. Although entertaining, a team building treasure hunt does not represent a sacrifice in terms of team building.

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