June 25, 2007

Good day, team,

This week, I was working with a team that put together an activity that challenged another group within the company. They went all out: rented a large space in a beautiful park, provided a barbeque, and came up with lots of games that the two teams could play in which they competed head to head. Each group had its own t-shirts to identify one team from another so the “cheerleaders” could root for the right team member.

There was volleyball, soccer and a variety of large, overinflated rubber play stations, as I call them, in which people can compete and not get hurt. There was some crazy game in which a person gets tied to a bungee cord in an inflated play station with two lanes for running. The opponents try to run up their lanes while still attached to the bungee cord and put a baton on some Velcro before the opposing player can do so. It was a hoot to watch as people ran as hard as they could, only to get suddenly yanked back by a bungee cord into a big pillow of large rubber bumpers.

At one point, I stood back to survey the scene. I realized that there’s nothing like the spirit of competition, particularly when we’re engaged mentally, physically and emotionally, to bring out the best in what it means to be a team player.

I often wish that that same spirit of team work and camaraderie would be as apparent when people are sitting in a meeting together and trying to agree on a process or business decision. I wonder if, when we’re engaged only intellectually, the very nature of our intellect leads us to become overly analytical and, rather than supporting our fellow team members, we become critical of them. Engage your whole self, and many more parts of your nature show up.

This week, your challenge is to think of ways to engage your team members differently. If they haven’t experienced each other in a completely different environment recently, consider taking them off-site. Maybe you go rafting or challenge another team to a softball game. Miniature golf is ridiculously funny, and you could also try signing up for nine or 18 holes. If you can’t afford to take the team off-site, think about setting up a competition within your work space just to get people working together differently. Consider taking them outside, even if it’s just lunch in the park for a few hours, to change their view.

The day after this company’s outing in the park, the energy in the office was completely different. People were talking and laughing about the events of the day before. They shared pictures online and told lots of stories: “Did you see when he kicked that goal?” and “It was so funny to see the expression on her face when she won!” People were energized in a lively way, and there was a sense of renewal everywhere in the office.

It’s that time of year when people take vacations and try to renew themselves. Don’t forget, your teams need to be re-created and restored as well.

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

(c) Copyright 2007 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.

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