Team building – a tool used by big corporates, or something for everyone?

26 10 2010

Having just recently come back from Snowdonia National Park I’m reminded of the numerous team building days I’ve attended in the past. Whether it’s attempting to remove an imaginary nuclear core from a reactor using a piece of rope, or a full day out of the office, everyone has different views on the purpose & effectiveness of ‘team building’. I’ve always found them to be quite fun, and if done well, an effective way of bringing a team closer together. Whatever your viewpoint, team building definitely gets the team talking!

I headed off to North Wales as a quarter of our team (me, an old friend from uni, someone I’d only met for 4 hours during a trip to Bury FC, and someone I’d never met), I was taking a leap of faith that we’d all get on. Having travelled the world, both with friends and independently, I was pretty confident that our common goal of hill walking / mountain trekking would gel us together. But were the confines of our hostel type accommodation enough to bond us as friends / team mates?

Top of the Welsh World


On our final day of activity we climbed what I originally thought would be a reasonably easy mountain walk. This turned into scrambling, with definite elements of free climbing in parts. Up the North face of Tryfan had its moments. Moments where I needed to reply upon and trust the guys I was climbing with; listening to their advice, giving them mine. Analysing which routes would be best – both in terms of challenge and safety, risk and achievement. Careful planning with open minded risk taking. While looking out across the ridge not only was I taking in the views & gorgeous scenes comparable to Lord of the Rings landscapes, but I was working as part of a team, who 48 hours previously didn’t really know each other, let alone made sure no-one plummeted to their demise.

Whether or not I’ll be taking part in any outward-bound team building soon I don’t know. But I do know that taking yourself out of the norm, doing something a little different, putting into perspective the bigger picture, makes it a great deal easier to trust your team mates. Brings you closer together, and work more effectively as a unit.

Let’s see what happens when we attack the other two of the 3 peaks – whether it’s with the lads or with my team at work, we’ll have to see.