August 2011 will mark Fresh Tracks’ 20th anniversary. During the past two decades we’ve designed, developed and delivered hundreds of experiential team building exercises.
Along the way we’ve created some classics that we use again and again but we still get excited when a client gives us a brief to create something totally new.
For many years we’ve worked with a water company, monitoring their staff engagement and delivering an annual company conference. Part of the brief this year was to create a 30 minute team exercise for the conference that would entertain, involve and educate over 100 people. Ideally it would be linked to the client’s core business and pick up on the findings from the employee engagement survey.
In common with most organisations the need for clearer more open and honest communication was a key priority. We also wanted to put the delegates through a challenge in which success would not depend on tangible skills but on intangible attitudes and behaviours.
Each team was given a bucket containing some discoloured and contaminated liquid, along with ten components. No two teams had the same mix of components. The task was to build a pump and filtration machine that would help to purify the liquid. There were no written instructions but instead a working model in another room. The rules allowed one team member from each team to visit the working model for no more than a few seconds at a time. Using just their memory these individuals then had to communicate the correct construction plan back to their team.
As none of the teams started out with the correct set of components it was imperative that the teams negotiate and exchange so that they could successfully build their machine. Additional targets were set for the quality and quantity of the purified water that teams were tasked with producing, this created a sense of competition, urgency and focus.
After 30 minutes teams delivered their purified liquid and spent a few minutes reviewing their performance, finding parallels between the task and their normal work. The success of the exercise was summed up by the Managing Director, Stephen Kay:
“Fresh Tracks has become a trusted independent facilitator for our staff conference and their involvement has strengthened the trust that exists between the employees and management at Cambridge Water”