With hybrid work a standard practice for many companies, time with colleagues becomes limited. Team building exercises seem more important than ever for colleagues to be able to see each other and get to know each other. Adventure challenges are one area which organisations can consider when thinking about team bonding. Jason Rawles, Founder & CEO, Aspire Adventures & Aspire Leadership, talks about the benefits of adventure challenges and why he set up a company to offer expeditions and adventures to businesses.
Gone are the days when ‘team bonding’ was a dirty set of words with zero justification. Perhaps build a raft and then to the pub. Why the hell would anyone justify spend for that?!
Over the past decade, since leaving the world of IT sales, I’ve been delivering adventure-based challenge events for teams and I see them thrive after our time together. Improved communication. Reduced friction. Improved loyalty. Reduced costs of attrition. Improved sales results and net promotor scores. To name a few benefits. But why?
Let’s start with some science and by no means am I an expert in the science of the brain. However, it’s really interesting to have a basic understanding that can fundamentally justify why these events are powerful.
We know of the happy hormones like dopamine that’s released when we exercise. We feel great. Sometimes after(!) but we do feel better after. Happier. Oxytocin is one of those happy hormones and it’s released when people spend time together doing pretty cool stuff. Like adventure challenges.
It’s a hormone of trust, empathy and togetherness. It’s also about reinforcing positive memories. Why is this important in the workplace?
Consider end of quarter and the pressure is on for sales. Teams under pressure and information flying around everywhere. People get frustrated, fast, and this could lead to slipped deals of client dissatisfaction. If your teams had spent time together taking part in an adventure challenge they would have more empathy, more understanding, and more tolerance. So, less friction, less upset and more focus on the task.
Same can be said for a new product launch, system upgrades, software releases and more. The principle remains. Spend the time together before the high stress times and let the wonderful oxytocin do its thing.
Let’s expand on this. Adventure challenges are also about shared adversity and the benefits that can bring. Controlled environments where people can make mistakes, learn and apply. In a recent poll on LinkedIn, people told me that in their teams, from a team perspective, being able to problem solve and improve communication were their top challenges, along with having more resilient people.
So, imagine being able to create an environment where people can learn, apply, tweak, change and re-apply without there being risk to the internal or external environment? This can be done via adventure challenges.
What we’ve talk about above are applicable to the teams and how they’ll help you smash the goals and objectives set down. Let’s explore what this all means to the people within those teams and therefore your organisations.
This will support people as part of your CREW…
What you’ll be doing is arming people to be their best in life, not just work, and that will significantly improve your business harmony.
Courage: The reality is you have to do the scary thing before you find the courage. It’s a line in a George Clooney movie about going into battle and it’s absolutely bang on. The less scary things we do, the more our courage is eroded.
In adventure challenges we can find the perfect balance between pushing people over the edge and them doing something amazing that fills up their pot of courage. In business they are more likely to lean into a challenge rather than lean away. In life they will be bolder and more confident. How thankful will your teams be for enabling this and how powerful for your organisation?
Resilience: The good old bouncebackability of people. Being able to quickly come back from tough situations and not retreat into their shell and/or become unwell due to feelings of failure or anxiety at how they are perceived. Being more resilient will stop your organisation from losing key resources but in their homelife people will feel more settled, content and able to withstand the pressures when things go sideways like the cost of living crisis.
(Self-) Esteem: Who doesn’t want to feel great, right? When people are loaded up with courage and resilience, they feel amazing about themselves. They walk taller, smile more and feel a whole other level of happiness. There’s less anxiety, less depression and less negativity.
Relationships with colleagues and bosses also massively improve. When people are in a constant state of flux with their self-esteem it can lead to negativity and friction. When life is bad, everything is bad, these are the glasses that are worn. Adventure challenges show and prove to people that they’re capable of more and that directly improves how they feel about themselves.
Well-being: I think it’s fair to say that all of the above will directly improve well-being in the workplace and at home, too. While we consider well-being, it really feels like it’s a platitude in a lot of places. Recommending a free 20-minute yoga class on YouTube before work or ‘Taco Tuesday’ doesn’t even touch the sides of what employers should be responsible for.
The reality is the world has changed. It used to be a load of drinks with colleagues, partners, clients etc. followed by a multi-day hangover and a large dose of beer fear. This is not conducive to well-being, productivity, togetherness, achievement or success.
Are adventure challenges the way forward?
Maybe, maybe not. They do cost some money and time away from the office. That’s a reality and not a reality that some businesses can stomach. However, I hope you can see how beneficially they’ll be for your organisation and the people within.
For those that do embrace these challenges, strap yourself in, you’re going to be rocketed to stratospheric levels of success.Click below to share this article