The author of this highly rated article is Paul du Toit, CSP.
Author, Mindset Shifter, Certified Speaking Professional
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It is said that 2 things are inevitable. Death and taxes. I don’t believe I would have too many detractors if I added a third to this short list: Change. What makes change interesting is that it can be quick or slow, good or bad. Just depends what’s changing and how its changing.
Twenty years ago if there was infighting in the office or you wanted to get folk with differences talking to each other, you’d pack everyone into a combi drive them off to a place well away from the office, mess them around for a weekend and then bring them all home again. Sometimes there would be plenty of booze, other times there would be a facilitator with board games, blindfolds and/or canoes. Sometimes folk would swing from ropes and confront their phobias, build rafts or scale cliffs, and other times they’d run around the veld looking for clues, and end up cooking what they’d found or shot around a campfire. In the process people would get to know one another a little better, or at least a little differently. With this new-found understanding they would return to the office and things would go better…for the next week or two, sometimes longer. Usually, the team would slide back to square one. This became known as team building. Sometimes it would be successful, and sometimes not.
The principle remains the same today, but the tools have changed. Business has found a way of justifying the spend. It’s based on the premise that whether or not the exercise is a success, no one will ever forget it. Unforgettable is justifiable. We now roar about on quad bikes, drift into the skies on giant hot air balloons, make corporate movies, build structures, do canopy tours or hang upside down over cliffs. People are able to reflect fondly on adrenalin rushes and some good shared experiences. It is perhaps fair to say that sometimes these experiences create lasting impressions and sometimes change, but often it does not achieve the latter. In these scenarios the activity is the reason for the outing, and the outcome is a day of fun. And what’s wrong with that?
Was the event designed and bought for the features or the benefits?
When choosing the annual team outing, ask this question very deliberately: Are we going for a shared experience, or for a shared experience linked with a sustainable outcome? If the latter, then we recommend that you take a careful look at Team Congruence, the corporate HR cohesiveness experience. There are 3 definite stages:
- The process
- Sustainability – the outcome and follow up.
It is generally accepted that people are either individualistic or team orientated. However, both types need to learn how to work together to achieve common objectives, and to communicate effectively on an ongoing basis. This is best achieved when understanding of team mates is enhanced. This increases cooperation and tolerance, leading to less friction, improved interpersonal relations and better productivity all round. People thrive in an atmosphere of cooperation and trust. But like a good marriage, these attributes require some effort.
If you are going to plan a team outing this year, it makes sense to link this event to a sustainable team outcome. And there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be outdoor and activity orientated – in fact the process usually works better if it is.
It’s your choice. Your team can return to the office with hangovers, memories of adrenalin surges or nightmares of being scared half to death, or alternatively as a cohesive, interdependent unit focussing on common goals.