My Recent Corporate Team Building Vacation
in Los Sueños Resort, Costa Rica
When my company decided to sponsor a corporate team building vacation in Los Sueños Resort in Costa Rica, I thought, wow, this will be fun! I had no idea, though, how valuable it would also be to my department.
Building a great corporate team takes more than just information packed seminars. Sitting through days of training, power points and lectures will educate employees on rules and procedures, but will it teach them teamwork, leadership, critical thinking, planning, follow through and quick decision making?
The company I work for saw the value of team building activities and decided that the best environment for building trust and working together would be a recreational one. A recreational setting allows for a relaxed atmosphere that is optimal for learning. I would absolutely have to agree with their conclusion. When we went to the Los Suenos Resort and Marina in Costa Rica, we were able to take the time to get to know each other as people, rather than just co-workers, and we were also given an opportunity to work together in such a way that we depended on each other to make our team efforts work toward a purpose.
Throughout the week-long seminar, our company focused on a five element plan: forming, storming, norming, performing and transforming. In the forming stage, we were given our roles. Storming is short of brainstorming. In this stage we formulated our plan to solve the problem at hand. Norming is the stage in which we worked out the kinks in the plan. The leaders in this part had to learn to listen to each person’s views and take them into consideration. Performing is the GO stage. Changes have been made, and now is the time for implantation. No going back. Transforming is the final stage of the process where we discussed the results of our work openly, identifying our strengths and also the areas in which we could have done better. Lots of encouragement was facilitated.
My favorite team building exercise, though, was the white water rafting trip. We saw many unique Costa Rican species of birds like the White Ibis and the Ringed King Fisher while maneuvering the river. The outdoors was a great natural learning environment. While enjoying the amazing sights and sounds of the rainforest, my coworkers and I were also creating bonds and developing team strategies that provided long-term benefits and values to our corporate team.
The challenges faced while whitewater rafting were fast, furious, and triggered nearly immediate consequences. This made it very important that my team members and I communicated well, trusted each other implicitly and had a common goal in mind. If we were not working in sync with one another in a common direction, the consequences would have been unpleasant at best. The things we had learned in our discussions came into play while on the river.
My corporate team members and I each got to take turns in separate roles as rafting captain and different rafting crew members. This gave us unique experiences as leaders and followers. We planned our route minutes at a time in ever changing circumstances. This called for innovation and quick follow through. White water rafting was a very real experience in working together as a team. We were able to discover how our individual strengths and weaknesses complimented each other and how we could make them work together.
Costa Rica, being the birthplace of the World Rafting Championship, made it the best place for our team to learn together. We knew that we were facing a global challenge and we rose to the task together. At the end of our white water rafting trip, we felt hugely accomplished. Many of us had never been white water rafting. Yet we had faced a world class, challenging river full of rocks, whirlpools and rushing currents and together we overcame each challenging rapid. After that team building experience were ready to take on anything that the corporate world had to offer.