Saturday, June 21, 2014

How I Put My Group Through Extreme Team Building - Amazing Race/Survivor Style - PART TWO


In the last post I detailed the beginnings of our team building adventure where Nobscot team members landed in Lihue, Kauai with no idea where they would be staying for the week. They each received a clue from one of their clients and had to put them together to figure out their next steps. You can read Part One here:  How I Put My Group Through Extreme Team Building - Amazing Race / Survivor Style - Part One

When creating team building activities there is always the concern about making it too easy or too hard. We had to get that balance right. If it was too easy, we would have wasted an important opportunity. Our remote workers only get to spend limited time with each other each year so it's important that the time be used well. On the flipside, if we made it too difficult, we're not quite sure where they would have ended up for the night!

As a side note, when hearing about the activity someone on our HR forum said that the concept of getting somewhere without plans in place would have caused extreme anxiety. That's something I hadn't thought of but will keep in mind in the future. We don't want to freak our employees out TOO much.

But we did want to freak them out a little bit. Working in HR technology can be unpredictable so being able to work when things are ambiguous is important. To keep them guessing (and worried), instead of the clues sending them to a beautiful resort, it sent them to a vacant lot. A beautiful vacant lot across from the beach --- but void of any hotel, house or accommodations. Having earlier alluded to the group about the reality show Survivor and possibly camping, we were hoping they might think they would be in tents for the week.

Meanwhile, Bruce and I were waiting for them at their final destination.  Time was passing and they hadn't arrived when we expected. (Looks like WE were the ones worrying not them!) We finally gave up and drove down to beach lot where they were supposed to arrive first. We parked at the end of the road under the pine trees fronting the bay and looked around. No sight of them. Not more than 3 minutes later as we were sitting in the car trying to decide what to do, two cars of Nobscotians came down the road and parked RIGHT NEXT TO US. We hid our faces and tried not to look conspicuous while listening to them.  "I think this it!" And off they ran. 

They went onto the lot and found the secret clue box.


Laura finds the Clue Box








Bruce had tucked some match sticks in the box as a red herring.


"Uh Oh. We're going to have to build a fire."


The scroll inside the box had instructions. I think this was my favorite part of the activity. The scroll included 10 things they had to do. At the top it said to read all the instructions first before getting started. Tucked in one of the ten steps was one that told them they could skip all the steps and proceed. This was to test if they paid attention to detail and read instructions before beginning.  If they hadn't, they would have spent a lot of time doing some useless things. Luckily, they read everything first!


Step 6. Skip all ten tasks!


The last step was plugging in their secondary clues into a Madlibs type directions sheet. This gave them directions to their final destination.



They filled in their clues and they were off!

Awaiting them was their home and our workspace for the next 7 days. (Thank you, Glenn!)




Success!  

The "We found the Key" Selfie

 It was a lot of work putting together the adventure but as you can see from those smiles it was well worth. It was a great way to kick off our week and exemplified how much they can achieve when everyone works together.

As for me, my reward was when they secretly threw a birthday party for me the following the night!


Many thanks to our AMAZING team. Love you guys!



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team building activities are stimulating problem-solving tasks designed to help group members develop their capacity to work effectively together. Many team building and initiative tasks are like kids games, others are novel, complex tasks and designed for specific needs. More elaborate initiative tasks can involve ropes courses, night-time activities, and exercises lasting over several days.

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