For the ultimate exercise in developing trust, take your team out on the blindfolded 4×4 challenge for an experience that will never be forgotten.
Trust is something that is usually earned rather than gifted and without trust within the workings of a business, communication can become flawed, direction can be lost and ultimately the company can suffer as a result. Our blindfolded 4×4 challenge develops trust amongst colleagues. And it’s a real laugh too!
Teams of four are given a 4×4 vehicle. The driver sits in the front, alongside our instructor with three team mates in the back of the vehicle. The driver is allowed a cursory look at the course before the blindfold is pulled down over the eyes and they start driving toward the obstacles.
With three people at the mercy of the blind driver, they tend to shout directions over each other and forget the driver can’t relate to objects in the path as they do. Initially team members can be irritable, panicky and prone to shrieking but the challenge requires ‘a crash course’ to learn quickly how to work together to problem solve.
After the laughter has died down and it’s time for a second lap – the driver swaps with another team member and things begin to settle down – with calmer, more precise instructions. By lap three we ‘throw a spanner in the works’ and tell the team they are banned from communicating with words like ‘left’, ‘right’ and ‘straight on’ and for the final lap we ban speech – with hilarious consequences! Animal noises, grunts and all manner of creative ideas come to the fore under pressure. Interestingly teams that replace sound with touch invariably navigate the course most successfully. Suggesting that the reassurance of a hand on the shoulder communicates more than a barked order.
Whilst this exercise is prone to causing teams to burst into hysterical laughter at the sheer drama of steering a real car around objects blind, there are some key learns to take away from the day.
The development skills practiced during the blindfolded 4×4 challenge include:
1. Learning to trust your colleagues in a precarious situation
2. Coordinating a creative strategy to overcome a real time problem
3. Demonstrating how verbal communication can be effective and also ineffective
4. Helping team members understand the key messages needed to communicate
5. Developing a reliance on each other to maintain control in a difficult situation
The challenge simply has to be experienced to understand how much fun learning these skills can be. For more information on the blindfolded 4×4 challenge please get in contact.