Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Team Building Experience has Positive Effect on Youth Group

Mon, 19 Mar 2012
OH MY GOD did the kids have an ABSOLUTE blast! Thank you so much for such a great first memory as a team. I can't wait to build on this throughout the season. The kids wrote in their journals that this was the best day in their whole lives!

Thank you so much, we can't wait to come back next year!

Jessica Klinger
Spanish Teacher 1 and 2
Girls Lacrosse Coach
Smithsburg High School

Makes what we do at Upward Enterprises so rewarding when we hear this kind of feedback from our clients.
-Clive Felgate

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Outdoor Team Building Worth It?

Recently while searching the Internet on team building articles, I came across this blog posting by a woman who calls herself "Team Doc" who says she has been working with teams for years improving leadership. She wrote, "For identifying specific leadership traits, I think an outdoor team building activity is a poor method. I’m a strong leader and do lead in outdoor activities, but I’m not athletic and would probably not demonstrate what someone was looking for."

As the owner of the largest Team Building and Outdoor Challenge Course Company in the Washington DC Metro area, I wanted to offer my comments on this topic.
First I would like to say that outdoor team building does NOT require athletic ability. If that is her impression, she did not hire the right team builder. We have many types of individuals come to our course from those with handicaps to people in their 80's. UEI encourages everyone to participate to the degree that they can and are comfortable with (challenge by choice). We never leave anyone out or feeling they are not part of the group team experience.

The activities nor the location of being indoors or outdoors, are not the important factor in a successful team building program.

How you approach a task as a team is the most important and sometimes the right activity and a different location can enhanced that development. Getting away from your normal environment where you always perform well, (well you should because you’ve been doing it for years) and experiencing the unknown is a key way to accelerate the learning.

Secondly team building doesn’t always have to be done outdoors because that would mean I wouldn’t work very much during the winter. We like to sequence our activities, from the apparently simple tasks, to the more mentally challenging and indeed to the upper level of the challenge course. That is not to say that everyone goes to the high challenges in a day or even at all.

The apparently simple tasks need to have the goals defined as do the more complicated ones. Communication and trust with the support of the team has to develop before any ideas on the solution to the problem can even go beyond the proverbial drawing board.  Leadership will develop in due course and it may stem from different and unexpected sources. The trend is to role play within the team in a position that the individual sees themselves in. The point is that most people in our team building environment end up falling into a natural role that both suits them and the nature of the task. This role, however, is not always what is expected from themselves or their team members.

Through simple tasks we set a pattern for problem solving and getting the job done. Upward Enterprises assesses the team goals, helps the group identify resources to achieve those goals then watches as the group puts in place the best person available for a particular task ensuring the learning that goes with such a task is carried forwards outside of the team building exercise and into every day practice.  Whatever type of group you might be, youth to adult, we strive to have everyone who leaves our team building program with that “ah ha” moment where they see the synergy and the power of group dynamics.

I would like your comments and please do not hesitate if you want to discuss further.