Adventure Team Building And Leadership Courses

orange square Learning to work efficiently as part of a team is a valuable skill for anybody in business. It becomes especially important if the vitality and profitability of the company relies on its team working together effectively. Some people may be naturally good at teamwork, but most of us need some guidance, and unless every member of the team is working well, the team as a whole will fall below its potential. With so much at stake, it is perhaps not surprising that companies look for outside help when it comes to team development, either for their senior team through leadership enhancement courses, or for their core workforce through alternative ways of working and untapped potential in individuals.

A great way to get people motivated and responsive is to take them outside of the work place, and to get them working together in an unfamiliar situation. This is why so many outdoor activity centres offer team building and problem solving courses. The company paying for the exercise isn't going to have too much trouble getting the workforce to be happy about a day or weekend out of the office to take part in a day's climbing or canoeing, yet the activities themselves can easily be structured to make the most of the time out. It could be a full day rafting down a river, or a series of strategy or problem solving tasks.


corporate adventures

The main goals of corporate "away days" are to get colleagues working as a more cohesive group through improved communication and understanding, and by identifying the particular strengths that each member can contribute so that they can function better when working together. There is also a benefit at the individual level, as people are encouraged to take the lead and use their initiative where they perhaps would not normally have the opportunity during a typical office day. This improves self-confidence, which will aid both themself and their team. Team building trips also give the boss the opportunity to see how people act when they are a bit more off guard than they would be in the working environment, they will also highlight any potential problems or weaknesses such as overbearing individuals, or people who are key to the business process yet who are lacking in skills such as delegation or leadership. The whole process should be fun and engaging, much more so than you would be able to create in an office environment. At the end of the course, the benefits should be noticeable in every individual and in the team as a whole, making your team building day very cost effective. Those benefits are likely to continue into the work environment as colleagues remain inspired by what they learned, understand each other better and put into practice new ways of working together. People who are usually happier working alone or who do not like to tell other people what to do should be encouraged to interact better or pass instructions once they realise the outcome will be better for everyone. And people who like to be in charge but who are not very good at listening to other people's instructions should now be able to see that by listening to others, they could find better ways of working that will make their team more efficient, something that will reflect well on them as leader.

 

How to organise an activity based team building course

The first thing to think about is your motivation for organising the event in the first place. Are you working with a newly formed team, or trying to overcome some problems with an established team who are not meeting their potential? Or perhaps the course is for two departments who are not working together as well as they should and you are trying to break down a culture of them and us. Knowing the reason behind the team building will help the course organisers better tailor make the sessions to suit your goals.

Secondly, decide how long you want it to last. Some groups may take a whole week, quite a few will opt for a weekend or a midweek stretch of two days, but the most common duration is a single day. The length of time will also dictate what you can achieve. A couple of hours playing paintball or paddling on a reservoir is going to function more as a treat than a true team building event. What you can expect your staff to take away from the day will be limited.

When deciding what type of adventurous activities you would like to participate in, be sure to consider who you are taking with you. Outdoor centres are geared up for everything from a light introduction outdoor pursuits, to quite intensive adventures which require some previous experience and quite a lot of skill. Are your team young, fit and sporty, or are they ranging in age from school leavers to middle aged? Is there anyone with a disability which may affect their participation in certain activities? Make sure your team building course is inclusive - you aren't trying to find out who is the fastest on the assault course so look for activities that involve working together and that aren't particularly demanding.


team activities

With so many activity centres to choose from it is difficult to know where to begin. Looking for places closer to home may suit most companies, but even then there is so much choice that you don't have to limit yourself too much. Have a good look at their websites, which should give details of the activities they offer and plenty of photographs to give you an idea of what you would experience. If they are geared up for corporate clients then they are likely to have a separate section for this too, but don't be afraid to give them a call to ask what they can offer if you don't see any mention of team events. Remember that they specialise in providing outdoor pursuits, and not all of them are experts at marketing. Make sure you compare prices too. Team-building days should have a financial net benefit in terms of their cost and what you will get back from them in return, but that doesn't mean they have to break the bank. Don't be afraid to try to negotiate a discount for repeat business, especially if the event is a positive experience and is something you plan to do again on a regular basis.

Multi activity days are a good bet if you do not have a single activity in mind. You get to experience a range of activities, at least one of which is bound to appeal to every member of the group. It also means that you don't get the same person shining for the whole day, as someone who may be good at archery, isn't quite so good at climbing. Most centres will offer plenty of different options, and a lot of them will be perfect for incorporating problem solving and tasks - as an example, an obstacle course can be changed from an individual activity against the clock, to a team pursuit where working together is required to outwit the opposition.

A few more tips to consider - check whether you are sharing the venue with other guests, it may be easier to work as a group with less distractions. Look for accreditation and ask about it if there is no mention on their website. Outdoor centres worthy of the name will have some form of official recognition of their professionalism. The most popular is the AALA licence (Adventure Activities Licensing Authority) which tells you that they follow good safety management practices. Another good one is the Adventuremark. These awards are peace of mind to show you that they are professional organisation. Check whether food is provided. Some places do, some don't, but the last thing you want is the enthusiasm of your staff ebbing away as the hunger sets in if someone forgot to pack the picnic. Check you are all insured, because most activities inevitably carry a degree of risk.


Most useful qualifications?

Most useful qualifications?

People often ask us which NGB qualifications they should be looking at achieving in order to kick start a career in outdoor adventure. To be honest is isn't an easy question to answer because it really depends on what you are planning to do long term. If you are completely new to the industry and looking to get started, you can either build up a few qualifications on your own, or you can try to get employed with a multi activity centre, who will usually offer you some NGBs as part of your training and qualification - this way you will also get some great experience too. Whichever route you decide, this article takes a look at which qualifications are most useful for budding instructors.

Most useful qualifications? >>

DofE Assessor

DofE Assessor

The Duke of Edinburgh scheme is well known to most people, but how many know about the expedition element of the award which requires small groups to make their way, unaided, across wild terrain, for up to four days and three nights of wild camping? To make sure each group successfully completes their expedition, we enter the secret world of the assessors - the people who shadow the candidates, often unseen, as they trek through the wilderness. Read our interview with Georgina and find out how you too can add expedition assessor to your outdoor instructor profile.

DofE Assessor >>

Parent's Guide

Parent's Guide

Are you the parent of a child hoping to work in the outdoor industry? Or are you a young adult worrying about telling your parents that you would rather be working outdoors than sitting accountancy exams? As with most industries, career progression is competitive and based on an individual's performance, but skills acquired are readily transferable and so can aid your future career whether or not you choose to stay in the industry for a prolonged period. This handy guide discusses why the outdoor industry can provide a stable and fulfilling career path for young people.

Parent's Guide >>