"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Corporate Team Building

The Purpose:
In the 21st century the hardest thing for an employer is to keep the employees’ intellectual capital inside the company and to greatly enhance their personal and interdisciplinary skills. Multiple methods of team building are used to develop employees’ skills such as executive programs, seminars, workshops, social clubs, outdoor activities, and numerous other examples. Outdoor activities are gaining in popularity within corporations in North America. For instance, Virgin Co. founder Richard Branson, believes that the choice of future executives does not only depends on their knowledge but on other characteristics. Managers have to be in perfect physical condition and have to be able to overcome any mental pressure that they face in real life situations. Lary Page and Sergey Brin also endorses this practice, however for them, the benefits lie in the teambuilding aspects of outdoor retreats. According to Brin and Page sports like cross-country, cycling, and hiking help building team cooperation[1]. Thus we see, many top executives recognize that learning sometimes must occur outside the workplace. Just as a manufacturer will invest in new factory equipment, so too must an office place invest in its staff for they are its most valuable asset. This is why companies undertake leadership activities outside the workplace which will build their employees personal strengths.

The Significance:
The future generation of leaders will find outdoor programs significant for the development of their corporations. For example, some companies like Microsoft, PriceWaterhouseCooper and Worldwide Porch Dealers organize outdoor activities through firms like Canadian Outback Adventure and the Banff Centre. Those Centres gather activities which aim:
§ to promote communication amongst individuals and departments
§ to synergise between coworkers while encouraging participation and decision making
§ to encourage each of the team members to solve problems
§ to provide an environment where employees can create and innovate
§ to teach employees to be competitive without being destructive
§ to foster cooperation
§ to respect each other under pressure
§ to learn to act and think strategically
These criterion will force managers to challenge themselves and view their coworkers from a different perspective. It helps to enhance employees’ performance at work by encouraging them to be more innovative and cooperative.

What the Programs Offer:
The Canadian Outback Adventure offers several television-based activities. They claim the programs can be useful for an organisation. The activities offered include:

§ CSI: Urban is a group adventure which allows participants to compete in an educational way. Teams will gather their knowledge to examine crime scenes thereby practicing observation and critical thinking.
§ Amazing race is much more demanding physically because participants have to race against clock. This activity helps to develop communication skills, to foster cooperation, to learn to act and think strategically.
§ Rafting is probably the most exciting and adventurous activity that the centre provides to companies. This activity provides cooperation between members in the raft and helps to enhance the discipline[2].
To sum up, all activities that are organized by Canadian Outback Centre enhance team building within participants. Furthermore, the experience outside the workplace has to be astonishing and brings positive results for managers who will be capable to overcome dilemmas that they face at work.

Ideas for small companies:
The Canadian Outback Centre affords activities which are expensive for little and medium companies. There are probably some other activities that exist to build and motivate teams at workplace. Indeed, the activities do not need to be complicated and expensive, for example; companies can host simple activities such play Nintendo Wii, softball, soccer, basketball or set up a poker night.
All those interactions between employees will build bridges and make them feel comfortable at their workplace.

Application in our class:
I guess our class will not be able to participate with the Canadian Outback Centre this summer because we are lack of money and time to go on an expedition. However, I believe with a small group that we have in this summer session we are able to set up some fun and experimental activities outside the class. The activities proposed are:

§ Play Frisbee
§ Soccer
§ Hold discussions about subjects like Web 2.0, Quantum Physic, new paradigms,
§ Learn from each others culture and lifestyle

Moreover, each student can give suggestions or create some innovative and creative games that will gather all of us. The benefits will be unimaginable high and are relationship will last more than just for one month and half. I believe that we have several possibilities and necessary skills to enhance are knowledge through the participation of all the students.
[1] Vise A. D., Malseed D. (2005). The Google Story. Bantam Dell.
[2] Canadian Outback Adventures Live Stories Worth Telling, Innovate: Corporate Team building and Training Solutions, Retrieved July 25, 2007 from http://www.canadianoutback.com/teambuilding-montreal.php

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