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What makes any company successful? A solid business plan? An outstanding product? A nice marketing strategy? None of these makes any sense without a great team behind. Communication, trust, team bonds and motivation drive every business. Startups, enterprises, small and medium companies need team-building events equally. The size doesn’t matter. Every company is a complex mechanism that consists of people. If they have no synergy, the mechanism won’t work properly.

Team Building Essentials

Lack of communication is a widespread corporate problem. Despite spending hours with each other in the office, people may don’t know that they were studying at the same college or like the same movies. Common interests bring people together, make them feel connected. It creates a supportive and warm atmosphere. Coworkers become more open-minded and bonded. They will easier help each other meet deadlines or come to aid in hard times.

What is the best way to diminish communication gaps? Icebreaker games? Let’s be honest, they suck. They’re dumb and embarrassing. Use them only as a punishment. One more disadvantage of these games is the lack of physical activity. Physical health is as important as mental.

We already spend too much time sitting in front of laptops. We don’t need team building indoors! It’s dull and unhealthy (except board games and beer on Fridays). We need freedom! We want outdoors! The key point of outdoor team building activities is their competitive or cooperative nature. Ideally, they must contain both elements. Guido Jansen, a cognitive psychologist focused on eCommerce, calls this combination “coopetition”.

Editor’s Note: Check out our interview with Guido to learn more about Growth Hacking and Magento community.

Perfect Team Building Event

Calm water, warm sun, picturesque nature. It already sounds peaceful and relaxing, doesn’t it? That’s why our team chose kayaking as a team-building event this summer. Moreover, it’s one of the best outdoor activities to bond staff. It requires good teamwork, precise and coordinated movements.

I think no one will describe this experience better than our lovely teammates.

Rita, Marketing and SEO

It was a great experience. I was fully concentrated on the process and my movements. If you lose focus, things get out of hand. My mind was clear and fresh. I didn’t think about anything except the current moment. I like activities that help to reboot my mind. 

There was only one tricky moment when I almost lost self-control. We had to go under a tree. It was a little bit dangerous as there were a lot of branches which could hurt. You have to lie back to go under a tree safely. At that moment, you can’t see anything except the tree. We were floating slowly and I panicked that I couldn’t control the situation because I was lying on my back.

I was kayaking with Artem, our General Manager. He said that everything was under his control and there were no reasons to panic, no branch would hurt me. I had a choice to continue panicking or to rely on my teammate. I chose the second option. I picked myself up and we managed to pass this part of the river successfully.

Vladimir, HR

If you’re kayaking with someone it’s impossible not to communicate. People in the front and the back have different tasks. A front person acts as a navigator, a back person is a helmsman. A navigator should analyze a waterway and share the information with a partner. A helmsman, in turn, should coordinate the way the front person paddles. This way you diminish risks to run aground or bump into a tree or rock.

Even a lunch halt required teamwork. We had to chop woods, start a campfire, cook lunch, etc. Everyone had their own task and it was very family-like. As a result, we made delicious soup together.  

The day ended with gathering near the campfire, singing, and warm talks. It was one of the sincerest evenings I had this year. 

Ilya, DevOps

I liked the competitive spirit of the event. However, no one had a goal to reach the finish line first. It happened occasionally. I was floating calmly when I heard someone shouting from behind. I turned my head and saw our General Manager furiously chasing me. 

It was the moment when I accepted his challenge. I let him get me and we started our “death race”. It looked like more Formula 1 rather than kayaking. I think we could be fined for speeding. A couple of times we went too far, ramming each other on the river bends. Nevertheless, it was extremely fun and no Mobecls team members were harmed during the team building.  

Roman, Business Analyst

I pay a lot of attention to my physical health, so I was glad to escape the concrete jungle and feel free. Kayaking was a breath of fresh air for me. Nature, physical activity, campfire, nice people around. It sounds like a perfect summer day, doesn’t it? Yep, I’m a man of very few words. 

Alex, The First Lady in the Republic of Belarus who passed Magento 1 Certification

To be honest, I expected it to be more extreme. There were only a few rapids! Nevertheless, I enjoyed the event. The most exciting thing for me was the total synchronization between you and your partner. The work in tandem makes you feel valuable. One man, no man. 

It took some time to get used to working as a single mechanism. It was a cool feeling when we finally found the right rhythm. Then, I knew what to do and was just admiring nature, having a nice talk. 

Despite the lack of rapids, I quench my thirst for extreme as we had to go under numerous trees. It was thrilling. I think I’ll do it again next month.

Artem, General Manager 

Team building helps not only to improve the company’s “ecosystem” but allows learning more about your team members. For example, who is good at managing people and who doesn’t like it at all by nature. It was quite easy to define these categories. 

A person with good leader qualities handles the whole process: guides a partner coordinates paddling, calms a teammate when it’s necessary. The second category is “team players”. They are hard-working and responsible. Simply put, they do their best to complete a task but feel uncomfortable managing people.

During the event, we were changing partners several times, so it was obvious when “team players” were on one kayak. They needed more time to work out a strategy. They were also bumping into the river bends more often than kayaks with “leaders”. 

This “research” can help to understand how to distribute tasks among the team more effectively, taking into account their capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses.   

The event itself was awesome. The only thing I regret is that the route was quite short and 5 hours wasn’t enough. Next time we’ll do something really big!

Don’t Be Afraid To Invest

As I said before, people are the most valuable asset that every company has. Don’t regard team building as a waste of money. Think about it as investments. It’s vital for any company. A team that doesn’t work well together will cost the business more. Make people love working in your company and they will do the rest to succeed.

Alex Yermak

Alex Yermak

Content Manager at Mobecls