Team Building activity Overview
Team Building activity
This activity took place in the rugby fields at Bond University, it was organized by Paramount Adventure and presented to us by their staff. The team building activity was over in less than three hours and could be considered to have been a form of soft adventure tourism, being focused more to our personal learning. At the beginning of the activity we were asked to perform a warmup exercise prior to being split into three different groups. Each group was directed by a different staff member. The activity planning was undertaken effectively since every group had enough time to finish the exercise. This activity was carried out in order to make individuals in the course comfortable around each other. Most of my class is from the United States and my colleague Micah had a very varied background himself, so it was important for all of us to get to know our stories.
What did we do?
Warm up activity:
To start with, the organizers distributed everyone alongside the field´s fence. Each individual standing right in front of one another, the idea was to count down to 3 and then try to occupy the other person´s spot by running over a wooden block before. This activity was only the first activity of the “icebreaking” games we all played. Right after this, the staff made us all walk around an enclosed area simultaneously and without any directions. The staff members would then order us to focus on someone else and walk right behind this person for a certain amount of time. This was done for us to get used to our peers and to feel comfortable when talking to each other.
My group´s first activity was to cross a floor mat filled with cards from one side to the other. In order to achieve this, group members had to work together to discover which path was the one that lead to the other side, and memorize it since each member had to complete it at least once. Some of the cards on the floor were tricky and could make you lose instantly, go back through your path or advance smoothly.
The strategy my team used was simple, each member had to try to discover as much of the path pieces as possible. At the same time, the rest of the group was to remember the correct path selected in order to advice the others before starting their turn. This was very important since team members were not allowed to help the individual undertaking the activity by shouting out tips.
Our second challenge consisted in removing a sort of cylinder shaped object from a picket without entering its surrounding area. After being removed, it had to be put back into its place without, once again, entering the prohibited space.
The strategy utilized by my team was a result of three of the group member´s ideas. We used some of the rope and attached it together in order to remove the object. The same strategy was applied to put the object back in its original place. We had to work together to discover the best possible way to undertake the challenge.
The third challenge was crossing from one side of a ten meter are to the other without touching the ground. The organizers called this activity “the floor is lava”. We managed to cross by utilizing wooden blocks.
Our strategy was simple, each individual had to step on a block and grab the partners next to him or her in order to keep balance. The wooden blocks were passed to the front of the line and set up by the leader in order to have everyone step on them and achieve the purpose, crossing to the other side.
Finally, for our last challenge we had to work together to try and fill a giant pole with water up to the top. The hard part was that the pole was full of holes, and water was coming out continuously.
The group´s strategy was to divide different groups of individuals into different tasks. Some of us had to cover the holes in order for the pole to be filled. Others had to run and collect water from the river which was about twenty meters away from the structure.
Because of this activity being the first one, it was really important towards everyone being comfortable around each other. This is the activity I personally enjoyed the most since it was fun and interesting as we were discovering each other´s backgrounds and characters.
During this activity, I can guess everyone, or certainly most of the students, had one common personal issue, or difficulty. This was not knowing everyone in the activities. This lead to some funny situations and some moments of silence, sometimes even a bit uncomfortable. Personally, I found it really hard to collaborate with my group, which was formed by American students, all of them. This was a bit difficult for me since they all knew each other and they all supported each other´s ideas. Furthermore, not being a big fan of the United States I really wished the class had a bit more of variety in terms of student backgrounds. Nevertheless, I managed to carry out the activities and had fun with my teammates who showed great appreciation for my ideas.
There were not many risks during this activity due to the fact that it was soft adventure tourism and it was carried out at Bond University. The only risks that were present could have affected students individually. Bad ground conditions could have resulted in torn uncles. A member of my team, Jennifer, fell into the lake while trying to get water for the last activity, she was lucky the water was not too cold and it was not deep at all.
Communication, verbal and non-verbal, was used all throughout this activity. It was one of the pillars which had to lead the team to success since it was a Team Building Activity. All group members had a role, and everyone helped everyone as much as possible. Language was not an issue, although when it came to communicating without speaking for such games such as the puzzle walk, we had some issues, but luckily, we achieved the goal.
As we did not choose our own group, at the beginning of the activity it was all about connecting and getting to know each other. Later, when the group started working together, it was easier for all of the members to collaborate with each other.
There was no decision of who was to be the group leader, although I stepped up myself in a couple of activities and gave ideas and instructions to the group. This was no problem and everyone was happy to collaborate to achieve our goal.
Everyone had the opportunity to choose tasks in which they felt comfortable. No one forced any members to carry out activities with which they were not particularly calm with. For an ideal group functioning system, this was the key, since every member was motivated it lead to great results.
Since the activity was a race with the other groups to see which team undertook all games faster, time pressure was present. Nevertheless, this was not an issue for my team, who was relaxed all throughout the test.
During the puzzle activity, no one had to really step up to act as a leader since the point was to work in a team and be equally reliable in the discovering of the correct path.
Entering the second activity, the rope game, I stepped up to act as a sort of leader. Taking control was natural since I had already figured out how to solve the test in my head. Therefore, I asked my team members if I could explain my idea and if everyone was comfortable with it, it could be carried out.
For the blocks activity, the leader emerged naturally, as it was obvious that the first person in line, the person leading the rest of the team, would act as the leader.
The water challenge had no need to be directed by one individual. All group members gave ideas to how the activity could be carried out, it was the combining of all ideas that lead to the water pole activity to be a success.
Motivation was not an issue since we had to achieve the same goal as a group. A motivation theory that would suit this activity is D McGregor´s “Y” Theory. The theory states that workers in a same team want to be a part of the experience and therefore is in their nature to do the best they can to achieve a common goal. There is no need for management, or in this case a leader, to control the team member´s behavior since they are responsible to carry out their task.
As I am currently undertaking a bachelor in sports management, I find that team work will always be present with great importance in any of the job positions I will have in the future. This activity helped me realize that even though we might think that our idea is the best one, there is always room for improvement and in a team, this can be easily achieved by listening to other people´s thoughts. As a manager, I will have to work together with a team in order to achieve goals, and this activity showed me how important team work can be, as well as effective.
Safety Instruction & Practice
The activity took place at Paramount Adventure Centre, which had an impressive indoor rock climbing structure. Groups were made in order to be able to test the climb, I myself partnered up with Micah and we were the only group consisting of only two members. This made the activity a trust exercise since when I was climbing, Micah was in charge of holding my weight if a fall was to occur.
Later on, we formed bigger groups and were set up to carry out four different challenges. This activity enters the classification of hard adventure tourism in my opinion due to all the risks associated with it. The environment was safe, instructors were present and it was indoors, meaning that weather conditions could not affect the safety of the climb. Nevertheless, some students did not feel very comfortable with heights and that could mean paralyzing in the middle of a climb and having a panic attack. This was not the case, everyone in the group stepped up to be the first to climb at the beginning of each challenge. In terms of time pressure, every group had a limited amount of time to carry out each challenge. However, due to the high motivation levels, our group managed to come second in the overall final results.
What did we do?
The group´s first challenge was to climb up a wall one by one to collect puzzle pieces. Each member had to bring down a piece in order to complete the puzzle. Rules were that each person had to have a go at least once.
As there were two walls which had to be climbed in order to obtain the pieces, the group divided into two right at the start of the challenge. I was the first climber in one of the walls, and found it was easy to climb, but hard to look down. After having climbed, each member had to swap positions, for example, the climber became the belayer, and this was another rule we had to follow. Furthermore, the puzzle could not be completed until every member was done climbing and was safely on the ground.
Blind Fold & Balloon Pop
The second challenge had to be undertaken, again, by every member in the team, but this time was to be carried out blind folded. Therefore, teammates staying on the ground had to direct the ones climbing on how to reach the balloons that were set up on the higher part of the wall.
We got the two best climbers to go first in order for them to have a second chance to go after everyone had climbed. I personally found it scary to climb without knowing where to step, but it was the activity that gave me the most adrenaline, and therefore it was my favorite challenge.
Pole & Hole
The third challenge was probably the one that had the least team work involved in it. An individual had to climb up a pole to end up standing in a platform. The climber took with him or her a bag full of balls. These balls had to be later thrown into a group of buckets by the climber in order to achieve the maximum score.
The team worked well by cheering the climber that would have to carry out this challenge. Furthermore, the team also assembled together forming a circle around the buckets. This was done so that if the ball was to fall a little bit off the target, other group members could make use of their bodies to push the ball in. The rules were that we were not allowed to use our arms or hands to push the ball. Our team managed to send three climbers up the pole and get a really good overall score.
Inverted Climb & Bucket Letters
For the last challenge, the group had to climb two different sides of a structure. On each side, there was a bucket containing letters on the top. These letters had to be recollected by the team to later be used to form a word. One side of the structure was high and straight, but the other side. The other side was harder to master since it had an inverted climbing section which I personally found impossible to pass.
Our strategy was to give every member a chance to collect a letter, nevertheless, this did not go as planned since some of the members, including myself, were already exhausted by the time this last challenge took place. The rest of the group managed to collect all the letters in the time frame set up by the organizers.
This activity was great and acted as an exercise of trust and inclusion. Trust was necessary in order to carry every single challenge. Inclusion was necessary since every member of the group had to participate to achieve the points necessary.
The main issue I experience was to do with trust. In the warm up leading to the challenges, I partnered up with Micah, and this was the first time I actually met him. It was hard for me to trust a person I didn’t know with my life. Later on, Micah told me about how he used to climb when he was younger and that really helped me relax when climbing the wall. Furthermore, I came to realize that I am afraid of climbing heights. I don´t say that I am afraid of heights because this is not the case, as I enjoy practicing cliff diving in Spain. Even though I have jumped from more than twenty meters into the ocean, I discovered that having a hard surface underneath me clearly changed my way of viewing heights.
Risks were present all throughout the activity, and even though security measures were tested and proven to be working, some factors could have ended up in disaster. For example, if the belayer had let go of the rope too fast, the climber would have fallen onto the ground at a high speed, resulting in broken bones or head concussions.
My team showed great communicative skills, and this was crucial towards the success of finishing in second position. Communication was the most important part of the second challenge, the blind folded climb. Without communication, no one could have been able to climb the wall with speed and precision. Furthermore, before starting a climb, climber and belayer had to communicate in order to make sure they were both prepared.
Teams were set up by the Paramount Adventure staff. This was a great team building exercise and had every member of the group doing what they felt most comfortable with. Nevertheless, each one of us had to have a go at every challenge, and this was a great way in which the team could show support for others.
Leadership was an essential factor leading to our group´s success. In my opinion Micah took the role of leader and carried it out perfectly. Having climbed before, Micah was the most experienced of us all and could give everyone tips on how to make the climb easier. Although he was the leader, everyone had a go at saying where they would feel more comfortable and how they could help the team.
One of the theories which best suits this activity is A.H. Maslow´s “The Hierarchy of Needs”. Each member of the team had the need of doing their best in order to help the most. After having achieved a good result in the first couple of challenges, the motivation for the rest of the activity was set to be high and with no limits.
1081405108585000Not many students had undertaken the sport of climbing before, therefore it was imperative that the instructors transmitted some basic knowledge to all of us. Demonstrations were used in order to produce a 30% retention rate between the groups, followed by practice exercises which produced a 75% retention rate. Finally, the assistance of the staff members in helping climbers improved the overall retention rate up to 90%.
As I hope to be managing great athletes in the future, I have to learn to put all my trust in other individuals. I always say it is easy to trust everyone, but hard to trust the devil inside them. I hope this activity will help me manage groups of workers as well as individual athletes.
Being a very competitive person, I really enjoyed the first two activities, and I enjoyed being part of a team to achieve a common goal. Throughout the semester it was hard for me to attend all lectures due to work compromises, I had been offered a good position as an event manager in a sports organization and it was an opportunity I could not let go. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the teaching methods used by our lecturer. In terms of activities, I found that climbing was fun and instructive, making me discover how heights are an issue for me when there is a solid surface under me which could lead to catastrophic results.