Above Image Credit: TBNG Team
When you ask any events coordinator in your office about team-building exercises outdoors, the default answer will usually be “ropes.” As if no one has ever felt closer with whom they work than to break out some tightrope walking act together.
We love our team here at TBNG. From pay scale budget meetings to group dinners, we genuinely like being in each other’s company. That is how most companies should be. Every organization works to keep a working bond between colleagues, regardless of its size or span. However, the one thing we will not do together is a Ropes Course.
Why? We have something much better in mind that we recommend all HR and talent teams take note because it will do more for your team than any “fall back and catch me” moment.
Find an Obstacle Course for the Team
Source: Library of Congress/U.S. Army
Ropes. Beach Volleyball. Scavenger Hunts. Squirt Gun Fights. It is all old news when you think about ways to bond your workforce together. The new frontier for corporate castaways is the oldest one of them all – the obstacle course.
It was 1939, and the U.S. troops heard about this Austrian son of a customs agent with a Charlie Chaplain mustache who was training a militia for global domination. The American Army needed to get ready physically. They were out of shape, and Lt. Col. William M. Hoge knew it. He reshaped engineering field exercises into a 16-week training course.
This idea became the obstacle course, and people everywhere trying to get in top shape have run them ever since. Then, one day, human resources organization got the idea that running in mud and swinging from high bars would be suitable for mustering up team morale.
We are so confident about making this recommendation because we have done it, and it was amazing for not only physical fitness but also team morale.
Who knew a three-mile course with 25 challenging obstacles would do so much for a team of managing information technology consultants? We did. And many other organizations are learning this team-building secret too.
Why should you run an obstacle course race with your team? Here are five reasons why.
When the office goes offsite and goes crazy in a puddle of mud, barriers come down. You forget about what each person does at the office and start to see them as everyone else does – a human being. Each employee walks away, understanding they overcome obstacles together. They can increase productivity together. From building trust to simplifying conflict, a team that runs a course together stays together.
These days, there is a different epidemic spreading across America because of everything else going on in the world. It’s called “The Great Resignation.” In July 2021 alone, four million people quit their jobs. People want a place they can call home, even if it isn’t their own. When you belong to a team where you can help and trust others, they become friends or more. Who would want to leave a place like that?
When some people are asked their thoughts about the place they work, they may say, “It’s never boring. Every day is a new adventure.” That sense of adventure is a reason people love going to work. It is also why people love obstacle courses. Extreme challenges create new feelings, new memories. A good company is like that as well, at least for invested team members.
Any organization places a high value upon its people and the skills they possess. Their aptitudes are what them important to the business. What they can do and how they can do it adds value in return. At an obstacle course, motor planning is on full display—sequencing, memory, agility. It’s all there because of trial by error, baptism by fire, and all that blood, sweat, and tears. Well, of joy. Trust us. Your team will have a wonderful time.
Typically, a foundation is an internal thing at any workplace. So why can’t the outdoors be the perfect place to come together and strengthen that corporate bedrock? The connective tissue of any organization is the ability to form partnerships. Any challenge confronts a team and everyone attacks. If a challenge confronts an individual, where to turn? Strength in numbers is always a reason to feel better about the situation.
And after all that, don’t we look happy?