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My (Lack Of) Experiences With Good Team Building

One of the topics we discussed in class recently was team building. It was really interesting to talk about real team building that others have experienced because, when I thought about it, I have not really participated in any kind of official "team building" activities through my workplace. There are some unofficial things, like company softball teams, and the party that the IT department held one year (which, admittedly, was really nice... everyone got to leave early and go to a restaurant where there was music, outdoor games, and food... and of all of the unofficial team building, I feel like that was the best we've done). I'm sure that the occasional team lunches that occur are considered to be team building activities as well... or at least team bonding ones. Still, I think it's interesting that I have yet to experience any kind of official team building activity through work... but in college, I was practically obsessed with going to Genesee Valley. Why was I so excited about this place? Well, I'd been once or twice while in middle school and high school through various groups, and always had an amazing time. Genesee Valley is located on a working farm, and has a huge amount of land. Scattered across the property are various challenges. The idea is that you go with a group and are put through several of these challenges as a group. There are low challenges (for example, getting each member of the team organized alphabetically on a log without anyone stepping OFF of the log, or getting each member of the team across an imaginary "abyss" using only one hanging rope) and there are high challenges (ziplines, high climbs, and high jumps). There is also a representative from Genesee Valley who accompanies your group and brings them from challenge to challenge, and helps to guide the day's activities. During college, with the honors social organization that I was the treasurer and eventually president of, we brought the honors students to Genesee Valley each year... or at least the ones willing to pay a small fee and go. I always had a blast going to these, and got to know students in the program that I never would have before. Despite having a great time, though, I'm not sure how well these team-building efforts worked because, well, the honors organization wasn't really a team. I know it worked well as a social bonding activity, and I know the general idea is team-building, but I never had an opportunity to put the team building experiences to the test. I'm sure that bringing work groups to a place like that could prove problematic... on my own current team, I know there are individuals who would absolutely despise and actively resist an activity like this. Despite my lack of team-building activity first-hand experiences, I'm sure that as my career progresses, this will change. I know that I'm very interested to hear other people's experiences with team-building... what worked, what didn't, and what the issues were. Feel free to leave some of your own experiences in the comments!

Posted by on Sun, 28 Mar 2010
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