The Taupo Great Lake Relay is a 155 kilometre running relay. There’s 18 legs (and aching legs at the end) with hills up and down, flats, dangerous cliff runs, heat, exhaustion, pulled muscles and lots of fun. When our work team went over the finish line the DJ said we’d been supporting the event for at least twelve years.
I don’t think that there was anybody there from that first team – in fact every year the team is different, but for the three years I’ve participated, I’ve felt the same enthusiasm, connection and commitment.
I’ve run plenty of team building and development sessions and one of the issues which always comes up is “what do we do now that Sarah has gone?”, or Lance has joined?
Should we start all over again and do a new charter, vision and values or what? And what of the cynics who say that the team building is artificial anyway and not necessarily relevant to the work?
A event like the relay this weekend teaches us quite a bit about the process of team building.
You need a goal. All members have a role and if you remember the goal, you should find that part to play that suits – no passengers on board. Flexibility is important – a support person took a leg of the relay today on account of an injury – perfect! it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been there before – others have, go with the flow but new ideas are welcome and expected.
I bet if someone from the team twelve years ago had come along and checked us out, it would be much the same experience that they had all those years ago.
They’d be welcome, just like the newbies were today, and we’d find a role no doubt.
So if you’re new to the team, watch, think about the purpose but get in a do something for the team. Before you know it you’ll realise you are the team. That’s team building.