Unlike what most companies/employees are used to, Competitours defies team building in the normal sense of the word. Our trips offer “stealth team building.”
You at Microsoft, and we at Competitours keep that goal of team building very much at the forefront of our planning. However, what sets this apart, is the competition aspect, which allows the team bonding to feel like an accidental consequence, rather than contrived and predictable; this is far more organic and effective in our experience.
What allows us to push this agenda forward, without any semblance of force-feeding camaraderie, is the competition aspect of the trip. The challenges motivate people to both head out of their comfort zone (with their teammates and fellow competitors), but also to work together towards a common goal of winning a prize. Only at the end of the trip do most teams realize that their newfound friendships are far more valuable than the monetary reward that the top two or three teams take home.
We can appreciate that the stealth aspect of our team building approach still delivers quantifiable/tangible results. We will summarize how he trip leader has many tools at their disposal to foster and sustain the team bonding that we all seek, but that the participants need not be privy to.
Our challenges are crafted to be flexible enough to ensure that we meet the team bonding threshold that are being sought as goals.
We use scoring as a means of keeping the teas motivated to participate fully in each day’s activities. We also have some informal, discretionary scoring strategies to keep the standings relatively close so that frontrunners dont get cocky and laggards dont lose hope.
Points are awarded to top 5 teams for each challenge. Teams can decide before each challenge if they want regular points – 10 if finish top 5 or 0 if not as well a as risk/reward- 25 if finish top 5 but -15 if not.
We can use ground transport travel windows to create challenges that demonstrate how teams are paying attention and perceiving each other.
– other teams compete to give a team a new team name based on something they said/did/etc.during the trip, that can be scored
– teams can select photos from the group whatsapp photo share and submit funny, silly, snarky, clever captions that can be scored
We can and usually do increase the point values toward the end of the trip as the increased earning and losing point potential gives hope to the rear and looking over the shoulder to the leaders. And some challenges we require only risk/reward scoring. The purpose is to cluster the team standings as best as possible.
Almost every challenge activity has a solid problem solving agenda at its core, but the beauty is in the subtlety and surprise.
Teams go to market and have to choose 10 out 20 available ingredients to make their own custom recipe. Upon returning to kitchen, each team hats pass their bag of ingredients to the next team and scramble to create a recipe with unfamiliar ingredients. Crazy fun and unexpected with the problem solving quietly built in. Terrific inter-team camaraderie as they watch each botch up working with totally strange ingredient combos.
Far more than just finding random stuff, our customized scavenger hunts integrate hands-on activities to accomplish, require strategic use of time management, and we always throw in some red herrings to determine how long teams will bang their heads on dead end before they realize its a dead end.
Teams not only have to master the technical and creative skills of a new artistic endeavor, but they are painting on the same canvas from each end and when they meet in the middle, it has to look like just one person pained a seamless painting. Great example of who wins that challenge is not the best, but rather the least worst. A great but again, subtle lesson that sometimes there isn’t always a best or even adequate solution, but the least of all evils.
Has become a rtip staple because the activity is so intense (mentally, not so much physically!), that the teams are all invariably watching out and supporting each other. Everyone is out of their comfort zone so everybody is looking for someone to lean on. Because thee are no via ferrets in the USA and no travel company that I am aware of, offers on their itineraries, our guests are doing a literally one of a kind, once in a lifetime activity and their sense of mutual accomplishment of that shared experience breaks down any artificial walls of separate teams or cliques. etc.
Because of the logistics involved with most of our challenges and the short 5 day time frame, we think that the challenges themselves will accomplish the team bonding without needing to have any more ‘real world’ problem solving sessions in a conference room.
We welcome you to contact teams from past years who will all attest that they were all surprised that the takeaway of the trip was not what place they finished, but rather the genuine surprise they felt about all of the legit new friends that they bonded with. In fact, there was a documentary made about our 2015 trip called www.trippedupthemovie.com (full disclosure, my Mom was a producer and was just the hired help on screen with no editorial input), and 2.5 years later when the film was included in the Cleveland Intl. Film Festival, 8 of the 10 teams from that trip scattered all over the US, at their own expense, came to Cleveland for the film premiere. Nuff said.
Bottom line is that all of the moving parts of the trip are flexible enough and our staff is sensitive enough to do the necessary tweaks on the fly to lock in the team building/bonding goals you seek. Our ongoing research for new challenges will have the corporate team building theme more at the forefront of our thinking.
Over the five days, the decision maker can advise us how thy would like to mix and match these challenge types.
Instead of truly standardized trips, I’d propose we offer standardized budgets, with certain guarantees of what types of challenges will be involved. For example, we can ensure that each trip has least one cooking-related challenge, one mountain-related challenge, one cultural challenge, etc… This way, you at MS know what each group will be getting (in a sense), but we maintain the ability to create each trip as its own customized masterpiece.
We find, for the same reasons above, that “forcing” group meals as part of the daily routine has a potential to negatively impact the organic team-bonding chemistry we so carefully try and foster. Some nights teams are exhausted and prefer to be on their own, but often times it’s one or two teams who will post “We’re headed to _______ at 7:00pm” in the group message thread, which really helps to nurture that organic bond, and is the catalyst for fantastic chemistry and a healthy group dynamic. Since we’ll be offering a per diem for meals, I think we can make it work for a bit less than $500. Generally, we encourage big breakfasts so that lunch is little more than a quick grab-and-go. And while most dinners are in the $25-30 range, we understand some may want to splurge one or two nights.