Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Little Team Building Humor

We always catch our clients when doing a trust fall team building exercise at Upward Enterprises. Maybe Dinosaur Office needs to hire Clive!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Anxiety of Fearfulness on the Ropes Course

One of the greatest challenges that I have found when working with team building clients is helping the organizer convince the adult participants not to be fearful of the ropes course experience.  Now I mention "adult participants" because with kids, I rarely have that problem of getting them to come out to the ropes course and try an activity, unless of course, their parents intervene by refusing to sign a standard waiver form because of their fear.

What is important to remember, is that Upward Enterprises follows the philosophy of "Challenge by Choice". The "Challenge by choice" philosophy of adventure programming allows the participant to have some autonomy related to the activities he or she participates in creating a safe environment. All participants have the right to say "no" to an event on the ropes course without the stigma of a loss of self worth. What we do at UEI when someone is fearful of an event is to have them participate in a way that is comfortable. For example, if the client has a fear of heights, we have them as cheer leaders on the ground.

Many times someone who indicated to me they were anxious over an event and considering not participating, changed their mind as they watch other in their group accomplish the task. When you push past the butterflies and pounding heart, great things can happen. That is what we see all the time at our team building ropes course. The possibility of what you and the group might accomplish will be transformational.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dogs and Team Building

If you ever visited the Upward Enterprises office here you would be greeted by my two dogs, Jelly and Daisy. They usually keep me company as I work at my desk. You might have heard a bark in the background as we are talking on the phone together. That is them saying "hi".

As I was contemplating what to write in this week's blog, I looked down at Jelly sleeping behind my chair and thought that having a dog in the office has a calming effect. How does a dog's presence in an office effect workers? I did a quick internet search and found an interesting study done in 2010 at Central Michigan University by Christopher Honts and Matthew Christensen that posed the question: 
Could the presence of a canine in the workplace make people collaborate more effectively?
 They experimented with two groups - one with dogs underfoot and one without. As it turned out, their preliminary findings did show that there was indeed a difference in the way the two groups functioned. The group of workers who had dogs around them to pet and socialize with, proved to be more cohesive and trusting of their fellow team member. Could it be that the bond one feels when interacting with a pet be transferable to humans around resulting in workers also bonding? Interesting.

Companies such as Google, Ben and Jerry's and Proctor and Gamble's pet food division, let you bring your dog to work. And many presidents of the United States have pet dogs in the Oval Office. So, I am not alone in my thinking that pets have a place on the team. They build a special bond among humans without even uttering a word.