Last month I was running a small seminar in a large conference centre here in Gloucestershire. Apart from my little group in my petite training room, the whole place was taken over by another large company, a household name.
They were obviously running some sort of team away day or team build session. Outside, they had the various team activities set up, bouncy castles and an It’s a Knock Out type event. Inside, I could see a big conference room with 100 plus seats being setup with the obligatory PowerPoint presentation ready for the Big Cheese of the company to take her stand to do the pep talk.
With my X-ray specs I could see a trust fall or a trust walk exercise through the wall.
Dan Pink in his new book “Drive” talks about these team event away days with some dismay, and I have to agree with him as well. We need to move forward, the world has changed, and these events need shifting too.
Dan suggests a FedEx Day. Where everyone in the firm comes to work in anything they want and spends the day doing anything they want, working with anyone they choose, anywhere in the building. The only proviso is that the work they do has to be towards a new product, a new service, a prototype concept, an idea which will help the company. Other than that, they can work on anything they want which they must present afterwards.
Now that’s progress.
Thankfully the rain kept away and the company ran their It’s a Knock Out game outside. We could see them from our window having lots of fun, getting wet, being drenched with sticky grunge, looking bewildered and exhausted, cheering each other, bonding. Maybe there’s another way.