Building the team spirit!
In my blog post (Er vi der?) I wrote about how important and challenging is to be part of the Finance organization in a global fashion company like Bestseller. Half a year has passed since then and a lot of changes have happened, carrying the business forward. The department I am part of, Performance Reporting & Controlling, was also part of those changes by having a new set-up where wholesale and retail teams have merged in one cross functional team. In short, this means that new team mates have to work with each other for the first time, sharing the same values, goals and leadership style from one common manager.
And how do you accomplish the best kick-start for that purpose? Easy. Just organize a two day team-building-survival-trip in the middle of nowhere…
..apologies for the residents of Northern Jutland, I am just trying to sound more dramatic
When living in a country like Denmark were everything is organized and well planned in advance, it is expected that for such an event we were well prepared and briefed, even for the smallest details. Well, not this time… All we “needed to know” was the pick-up and drop-off time, list of necessary clothes and that all personal stuff like food, watches and even mobile phones will be confiscated. Simple as that.
Once we were dropped off at our meeting point, we soon figured out that this was not going to be a walk-in-the-park trip. It turned out to be a much bigger surprise. An agency specialized in team-building events has prepared a couple of adventurous tasks, dividing us in 3 teams of 6, were we had to “compete” between the teams, but also learn how to work as ONE when the tasks were requiring that. We were handed over a backpack, sleeping bag and a tool box. …and so the fun started!
The first part of this two-day event was reserved for more “easier” tasks with a lot of obstacles which required developing a strategy and figuring out how to divide the tasks between the team members for the most effective and efficient execution. A short recap of that is shown in the pictures below:
- Obstacle 1. All members of the team (along with the backpacks and the toolbox) have to go across two wooden planks without touching the ground in the squared area (excellent exercise to repeat those basic laws of physics learned in high school)
- Obstacle 2. “Move” all team-mates to the other side of the “spider web” without touching the web and both sides of the ground simultaneously. Bonus fun – each team member cannot use the same opening as previous (a great exercise to figure out who hasn’t been on a diet lately).
- Obstacle 3. Treasure map – two team-mates have to instruct the rest of the team to find six designated treasure spots in the woods which contain lunch supplies. If you suck at navigation then you are most likely to starve until dinner time. No mercy.
In addition, one interesting thing I have learned during this team building day is that Danish people can build a raft or a catapult, from scratch, as easy as putting LEGO bricks together. If I had to do this task alone for a year, I still wouldn’t be able to figure out even close what they have managed to build in just a few hours:
…Presenting the “Weapon of Self Destruction”
…surprisingly this thing was floating on water
…eventually we had to call the coast-guard to give it a push so we can make it to shore 🙂
Further on, the second day was reserved for some adrenaline rush. Waking up with a nice breakfast and a yoga class (after spending the night under the open sky), it was time to test out who was afraid of heights. No need for an explanation on this, pictures are worth a thousand words.
If you think this is easy, try to imagine that two guys weighting over 100kg each, managed to climb together on the top of this so called Jacob tree (picture below). F*ing amazing!
All in all, this two day team building trip definitely lived up to its purpose, and surpassed our expectations. It was super fun, filled with lots of activities where we used the opportunity to get to know each other better. However, if I have to take out one important lesson learned from this trip, is that you cannot go through the challenges alone. You can overcome them by working together in a team, using each other strengths, and being able to rely on one another when times get rough. A true team spirit indeed!
Until the next time…