Executive Team Building Activities & Retreats: the BEST

By: | Updated: December 30, 2023

Here is our list of the best executive team building activities.

Executive team building is a range of activities targeted towards leadership, upper management and executive teams. Example activities include happy hours, group chats, and management workshops. The purpose of these activities is to foster teamwork and cooperation among an organization’s highest ranks.

Organizations can use these ideas to develop executive skills, team building skills, and to share tips for leading successful virtual teams. These activities are examples of leadership activities and group retreat activities, and may be part of executive retreats.

This list includes:

  • leadership team building activities
  • management team building ideas
  • team building activities for executives
  • team building activities for senior management
  • ideas for executive team building retreats
  • executive team building games
  • executive team building exercises

Let’s get to it!

List of executive team building activities

From higher management happy hour to C-suite team retreats, here is a list of team building activities for executives and managers that promote harmony, trust, and communication.

1. Remote Managing Workshops

In the age of remote work, leading virtual teams needs a mix of traditional leadership skills and extras like online communication and remote supervision. Finding the right balance between too much and too little management is a common struggle for virtual leaders. Workshops on remote management help fast-track expertise. Attendees can learn skills like setting goals, managing time, building trust, and running engaging virtual meetings. These management team building ideas benefit both new and experienced virtual leaders. Managers will boost their ability to lead work-from-home teams with improved productivity and trust.

Learn more about how to manage remotely, and see our list of virtual leadership activities.

2. C-Suite Team Retreat

Executive offices are bustling places, filled with ringing phones, busy secretaries, meetings, and paperwork. With all the frequent interruptions, it is surprising that executives get anything done. Yet, occasionally, these leaders need focused time. Enhancing teamwork among top leaders requires this concentration.

To achieve this goal, higher management can organize executive-only team-building retreats. These retreats provide a break from daily chaos. Leaders to strengthen relationships, discuss crucial issues, receive leadership training, engage in team challenges, relax, and socialize.

While leaders support the general workforce, executives often lack coaching or internal empathy. Executive retreats provide a space for high-level leaders to share, commiserate, offer advice, and receive support. During these events, leaders can openly discuss challenges and trade tips.

For inspiration, check out our list of virtual retreat ideas.

Get our free team building toolbox

  • icebreaker games
  • bingo cards
  • DIY guides

heartby teams at FedEx, Amazon, Deloitte and 73,930+ others

Tool Box

3. Online Office Games

Online Office Games banner

You do not reach the highest levels of an organization without ambition and a desire to win. A spirited round or two of Online Office Games caters to executives’ competitive spirits. Online Office Games is a friendly virtual competition that pits coworkers against each other in a battle of speed and wits. Players face off in challenges like trivia and team building games. This virtual activity is a good fit for dispersed leaders whose busy schedules prevent in-person meetings. Online Office Games is a great morale booster, and is a way for executives to connect in a social and low-stakes setting.

Learn more about Online Office Games.

4. We’re Still Good

We’re Still Good is a party game that is perfect for executive team building exercises! You can play this game in groups or as individuals.

Here is how to play the first round:

  1. Players get ten Missing Word cards each.
  2. The most optimistic player becomes the first judge.
  3. The judge draws a Scenario card with a ridiculous disaster.
  4. Scenario cards have one blank, filled by players using their Missing Word cards.
  5. The judge awards a chip to their favorite Missing Word card.
  6. Players write a positive spin on the scenario, and the judge awards another chip to their favorite.
  7. The player with the most chips at the end wins!

This game resembles Cards Against Humanity but encourages players to learn how to put a positive spin on disasters.

Buy We’re Still Good.

5. Culinary Team Building

Cooking together is one of the top leadership team building activities. You can book a cooking class or have a cooking enthusiast come to your office to teach a course. Executives can learn a new skill and work together to make a delicious meal. Then, participants also get to enjoy the meals they made. This activity improves cooking techniques and encourages collaboration, creativity, and communication. Making a tasty dish creates a positive and interactive atmosphere that strengthens the team spirit.

Here are some great virtual cooking experiences.

6. Innovation Workshop

Executives can boost creativity and innovative thinking by hosting an innovation workshop. During this workshop, teams can do various activities like brainstorming, playing games, and creating prototypes.

Here are some more activities you can try:

  • Mind Mapping
  • Role Reversal
  • SCAMPER Technique
  • Storytelling for Innovation
  • Future Scenario Planning
  • Idea Pitching Session
  • Reverse Brainstorming
  • SWOT Analysis for Innovation
  • Environmental Scanning Exercise
  • De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

These exercises encourage out-of-the-box thinking and help team members explore new and innovative solutions. The workshop provides a place for team members to share and develop creative ideas.

7. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Event

A corporate social responsibility event promotes teamwork and giving. To organize this event, dedicate a day to a charitable cause. Teams can volunteer at a local community organization, arrange a charity run, or participate in a community service project.

Here are some tips on running a CSR event:

  • Define a clear purpose.
  • Align events with company values.
  • Work with local organizations to create connections.
  • Track metrics throughout the experience.
  • Celebrate team achievements.

These events positively affect the community and strengthen team bonds. The shared experience of giving back fosters a sense of purpose and unity within the team.

Check out these group volunteering opportunities for inspiration.

8. Strategic Board Game Night

Strategic board games are a fun way to create connections while practicing executive decision-making skills. Leaders can play games like Settlers of Catan, Risk, or Pandemic. These games encourage thinking ahead, working together, and making decisions. The games help the executives interact, negotiate, and have fun while figuring out the best strategies to win. Teams get to come together for a fun and friendly competition.

9. Eco-Friendly Team Building

Holding eco-friendly team building activities takes a step toward a greener and more sustainable workplace. Executives can organize a beach cleanup, start a tree planting initiative, or participate in sustainable community projects. As a bonus, executives can use these exercises to improve workplace sustainability. These activities help the environment and provide a unique opportunity for the team to work together toward a shared goal outside the typical office setting. This team building event is a meaningful way to promote teamwork while making a positive impact on the environment.

Check out this list of Green Week ideas for inspiration.

10. Masterclass with Industry Leaders

A masterclass with industry leaders can elevate your team’s knowledge and skills. Successful executives or industry experts can share their experiences and expertise with your team. During the masterclass, executives can have discussions, ask questions, and gain valuable insights. This unique opportunity allows the team to learn from the best in the field. Masterclasses foster professional development and enhance industry knowledge.

11. CEO Podcast Club

A CEO Podcast Club is similar to a book club but centers around podcast episodes. Executives listen to podcasts that discuss leadership, industry trends, or innovative ideas. You can schedule regular discussions. Team members can share their thoughts, takeaways, and reflections from the podcasts. This format is a flexible and engaging way for executives to stay informed and have meaningful conversations. Plus, listeners get to explore new perspectives at their own convenience.

Here is a list of CEO podcasts to get you started.

12. Offsite Strategy Board Meeting

Taking the executive team to an offsite location for a strategy board meeting can enhance strategic thinking and creativity. This offsite setting allows executives to focus on important topics without the usual office distractions. A change in scenery can make discussions and decisions more exciting.

Consider these venues for an offsite meeting:

  • Luxury hotels
  • Historic mansions or estates
  • Art galleries or museums
  • Rooftop spaces
  • Yachts or cruise ships
  • Botanical gardens
  • Urban lofts or studios
  • Golf resorts
  • Agricultural retreats
  • Waterfront venues

During this outing, provide a comfortable and collaborative environment for brainstorming and planning. The offsite strategy board meeting is an effective way to strengthen team dynamics and encourage open communication. This offsite venue can also align the executive team on key goals and initiatives.

13. Industry Trend Analysis Workshop

An industry trend analysis workshop can bring your executive team together. In this event, executives collaborate to analyze what is happening in the industry right now and talk about any big changes that might come up. Leaders can discuss potential disruptions. Then, teams can work together to figure out how to position the company for success in the future. Analyzing trends is like looking at a map to make sure the company is heading in the right direction.

14. Executive Adventure Retreat

An executive adventure is one of the most exciting ideas for executive team building retreats. This retreat features fun activities like rock climbing, zip lining, and hiking. You can find local venues that offer these activities, or you can travel to a new location for a real retreat experience. The idea is to challenge the executives to try new things, step out of their usual habits, and build trust through shared experiences. Teams will go on a journey together, face challenges, and come back stronger.

Here are some more executive retreat ideas.

15. Cross-Department Executive Swap

During a cross-department executive swap, executives temporarily switch jobs with leaders from different parts of the company. For instance, the head of marketing can swap places with the head of product development.

Here are some tips for hosting this event:

  • Establish clear objectives.
  • Match roles carefully.
  • Set clear expectations.
  • Encourage regular communication.
  • Collect feedback.

Executives get to know how systems work in other departments, which helps them understand each other better. This swap promotes teamwork across the whole company.

16. Corporate Taboo

You can add a twist to the classic game of Taboo by making it all about the corporate world. In Corporate Taboo, teams try to convey specific business words or phrases without using certain “taboo” terms.

Here is how to play this game:

  1. Create a list of corporate words, such as budget, supply chain, and sustainability.
  2. For each word, write a few related words that players are not allowed to say. For example, the taboo words for “budget” could be money, accounting, spending, and limit.
  3. Give the list of taboo words to teams.
  4. One player will try to get the rest to guess the main term without using the taboo words.
  5. Players who can successfully get the others to guess win a point.
  6. Whoever earns the most points wins!

This game is a fun way for executives to practice clear communication and teamwork in a lighthearted setting.

17. Senior Management Happy Hour

Happy hours give employees the chance to unwind and socialize. Higher management happy hours allow executives the opportunity to connect over non-work topics. By hosting a team building happy hour for executives, you give upper management a chance to relax and connect without worrying about projecting perfection. Though attendees should still behave professionally, executives can drop their polished personas and be more silly or vulnerable than is usual around subordinates.

Happy hour guests can answer icebreaker questions and play bar games like darts, pool, or jenga. You can even plan a fun happy hour activity, such as a cocktail-making class, poker game, or improv lesson to occupy your guests between chats.

For more tips, check out our list of virtual happy hour ideas.

18. Presidential Playtime

I have watched the General Counsel of a corporation race an office chair down a hallway and incite a plastic sword fight during a toy drive. I can vouch that sometimes the most dignified and respected company leaders are kids at heart.

Leaders need to blow off steam, too, and childish fun is sometimes the best way to release tension.

Some playful ideas:

  • Board game night
  • Laser tag
  • Ice cream social
  • Go-kart racing
  • Building a bear and gifting the end products

By adopting a playful approach to executive team building games, you remind leaders to have fun and encourage creativity and imagination.

Here is a list of board games for teams to try.

19. Return to Roots

Executives can become disconnected from the current reality of entry-level workers. An unconventional yet insightful team building idea is for leaders to spend time working in various departments, like customer service or the warehouse, for at least half a day. Leaders can then share their findings with the higher management team. Instead of going incognito, transparency about executives’ intentions fosters trust and respect. This environment also encourages honest communication and bonding between different company levels.

This exercise provides executives with valuable insight into the operation of lower organizational levels. Afterward, leaders can come together to bond over the experience and brainstorm new solutions.

20. I-Spy

Executive team building activities like spy simulations allow directors to live James Bond fantasies. Spy missions are high-octane versions of escape rooms where participants pretend to go undercover as secret agents. Players handle high-tech gadgets, learn survival skills, engage in fake combat, and pull off slick deceptions to complete missions.

During these games, executives practice essential higher leadership skills like critical thinking, decision-making, remaining calm under pressure, persuasion and people skills, and change management. If you live in a major city, then you can probably book an espionage experience from a specialized venue. Or, you could design your own secret agent night by searching for spy games and riddles online, and hiring a guide to facilitate.

You could also do a DIY escape room game.

21. Head Honcho Group Chat

Directors’ tight schedules pose a challenge for organizing consistent team building activities for senior management. Despite the hurdles, regular team building is more effective. Coordinating high-level meetings involves multiple assistants, making planning extra events a hassle.

A practical and often overlooked solution is the use of a group chat. Executives may struggle to spare a whole night for team building, but they can find five minutes here and there to engage in a chat. You can start an exclusive head honcho group chat via social media, text, or an internal messaging service. Be sure to set professionalism guidelines, and leaders can then share good news, random thoughts, inspirational messages, or funny memes. This simple exercise helps relieve stress and fosters camaraderie among executives.


The C-suite is the highest-ranking team in the whole organization, so members should set a proper precedent for the rest of the company. When leaders of all levels work together and practice teamwork, businesses thrive. Smart executive team building ideas yield resilient leadership teams with strong bonds, and other teams follow the example.

Next, check out our article on luxury corporate gift ideas, these team building games for work, and this one with outdoor team building activities.

We also have a list of ideas for company retreats.

Book wildly fun team building events with expert hosts

View experiences
team building event banner

FAQ: Executive team building ideas

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about executive team building.

What is executive team building?

Executive team building is team bonding aimed at executives, such as presidents, CEO’s, departmental heads, and other members of the leadership team. These activities allow company heads to network, unwind, strategize, strengthen bonds, and transform into true collaborators. These activities often take place at executive retreats.

Why is executive team building important?

Senior management sets the tone for the entire organization. If executives prioritize and exhibit teamwork and cooperation, then the rest of the company follows suit. Directors make decisions that drive the organization, and need to move in the same direction instead of engaging in figurative tug-of-wars. If leaders struggle to harmonize and compromise, then companies make slow or no progress.

What are good executive team building activities for retreats?

Good executive team building ideas for retreats include happy hours, desert island scenarios, and workshops on how to manage remote teams.

Author avatar


Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.


Share this article:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get our free team building tool box

$49 value at no cost.

Tool Box

Enter your email for instant access