Team building with a difference
Team building activities are aimed at motivating the employees in an organisation to come together as one, working and achieving as a single functioning unit for the greater good of the individual and business as a whole. An easy enough concept to understand in theory, but far less simple to execute when taking the demographics of an organisation’s workforce into account. No company is made up of a singular type of individual. Diversity exists on a multitude of levels and with it comes the challenge of finding an activity that will attract and engage with everyone in the organisation.
Whilst leaders cannot deny the benefits of adding a few team building sessions onto the company calendar, it can be very easy to take the simple route and turn to the tried and tested favourites for activity ideas instead of looking into the daunting eye of coming up with something original. This is a great pity, as new and original is often exactly what we need to inspire the positive relationships sought out from conducting these sessions. New things tend to attract a great deal of attention and excitement, sometimes for the simple reason of being different, and inspires those involved to communicate and bond over their shared interest and curiosity.
At Mindcor, we know how engulfing something new can be. We also know that a key element to hosting effective team building efforts is by challenging every individual in some way. It needs to empower and inspire, reminding all of those involved that anything is possible. With disruption, a break from routine, a chance encounter with the unexpected, and staring the impossible in the face in mind as an effective way to bring people together, Mindcor decided to treat our employees with a challenge that non had expected to face.
That challenge? Firewalking.
Indeed, 1 December 2016 saw everyone in the organisation being told to abandon all that they had learnt about fire safety and stare straight ahead as they voluntarily crossed 5m of smouldering coals. Asking your employees to do something seemly hazardous and which would surely require years of experience to master may sound like a crazy idea, which is why sought out the experts at The Phoenix Foundation to lead the way. After being delivered a powerful talk highlighting our true abilities, calling out our minds for being the greatest enforcer of limitations in our lives, and mentally preparing everyone for what was about to unfold, we were ready to face the challenge.
If the pre-walking mental pep-talk wasn’t enough of a preparation, the start of the walks were welcomed by everyone standing outside chanting ‘Ice-cold snow’ as a sign of support and solidarity for those who chose to rise to the occasion. Having a group of people around to stand behind you and show support can be boost that someone needs to make the decision to try, and is pivotal in creating the kind of safe environment that empowers people to take risks.
Once people saw their friends and colleagues take the fateful first step, it was only a matter of time before the adrenaline and excitement of doing the seemingly impossible inspired the cautious and got them moving. If seeing everyone overcome the mental challenge of walking on smouldering coals wasn’t rewarding enough, witnessing the joy and disbelief wash over the faces of each and every person as they came to realise the gravity of what they had just achieved was a priceless moment in time. The personal aftermath of the experience on the individual is not easy to articulate to someone who has not experienced a similar situation, as realising the true extent of our capabilities is a unique experience in itself. Being able to share in and relive the experience with your co-workers is a solid foundation upon which positive relationships can be built and sets the tone for future interactions with those throughout the organisation.
Empowering people to overcome a momentous challenge and celebrating their accomplishments is a sensation that all leaders should pursue when considering team building activities if they want to invest in something that will leave a truly lasting impression on all of those involved and experience all of the benefits that team building has to offer.