Want a unique outdoor team build challenge, well paddocks had one last week. We have a huge barn. I have opened it up on three sides so that livestock in winter can come in for food and shelter, then come and go into the adjacent fields as they wish. So Alpaca and Emu quarters to the right, Reindeer to the left and Cows at the back, with some smaller shelters for the pigs mixed in.
I love this barn with the numerous heads peering over gates and the chorus of impatient noises at food time. I love it especially when the weather is rotten and the animals contentedly lie in the deep fresh straw chewing hay and I know they are okay.
Any how the team build challenge. Clients on site, so up very early to feed before the workshop started. Sh….t, the cows had clearly had a skirmish and knocked part of the barn’s off the dwarf wall that it rests on yikes.
The team had an outdoor challenge planned that day to give them a change of pace from the intensity of their work and to test their ability to collaborate to solve a problem. So why not I thought.
After a very hearty lunch they were removed from the log burning stove and taken to the barn. I started the team brief. “See this barn wall that has been shunted off the dwarf wall, as a team come up with a plan on how to put it back onto the wall, using whatever resources and tools you can find on this site and implement it. First clear the area of cows!” And they did. This was a real problem that needed ingenuity of thought, genuine team collaboration and resourcefulness.
This team were truly tested physically and mentally, they couldn’t dive into action without a plan, it was unique to them all, they didn’t know the extent of tools and resources available so had to hunt the site. It was great. And they did it, they created props, found and used jacks, used every member of the team, worked in unison, gave each other real time feedback. The satisfaction they expressed in success was matched by my relief in having my barn together again.
They were so hyped that the debrief went on into the night helped by beer, cider and chocolate. The lessons learnt were scrutinized and keys themes emerged. They questioned every angle of how they worked:
- do we take up business challenges with the same determination and intent to achieve it as we did with the barn?
- do we all really share what the end goal is and what success looks like before we launch in?
- is everyone actively engaged, feeling they have a valued contribution?
- do we self limit our views about what we can do and the resources and tools we can access (often we never even ask what is available, what is possible)?
- do we care about what we do?
- do we feel personal success when the team succeeds as we did with successfully sorting the barn?
The workshop the following day saw the team work through what they all individually and collectively would do differently to ensure an “operation barn mentality” (their phrase) for the projects ahead.
The managing director is now planning to send teams to the farm to be thrown such challenges again as a way into building their strength and creating practical working practices.
So I better get the animals to concoct a few more!!!