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team-building and bungee cords

August 17, 2009

in talent

i was part of the most fabulous team-building exercise on saturday, and i’m not saying that tongue-in-cheek or with great gobs of sarcasm.

it alternately required strapping oneself to a pvc-wrapped rope with a bungee cord, whaling on a ball, dancing with wild abandon, and whooping and hollering for a courageously bad karaoke elvis impersonation.

ordinarily, i’d sooner strangle myself with the bungee cord than use it during a fabricated team-building exercise designed to foster reliance and sharing. perhaps i’ve been scarred by my experience at an organization-wide celebration where hundreds of us simultaneously pinned our neighbor with a company logo pin (long before the flag pin brouhaha). or by hearing my husband’s recounting of rappelling from extreme heights while relying on his teammate—who’s brand new to the sport—to spot him. then again, it could simply be a natural reaction to corporate adventures touted as the solution for toxic corporate relationships.

but i wasn’t at an official team-building event. i was at a client’s second annual human foosball tournament. peers, direct reports, bosses, external partners (like me), friends, and family came together to play, cheer, and spend the day—and well into the night.

throughout the day, pre-arranged foosball teams competed in the purposefully made arena. they sported team-designed uniforms and settled scoring debates amicably and humorously with a dance-off, for which we—the unruly crowd—determined the outcome. our halftime entertainment was the wellness coordinator, in full elvis attire, singing to the crowd from the bed of a pickup truck. those not interested in the games sat together, filling themselves with food and chitchat (or simply dessert, if you’re my eldest daughter). people laughed, made fools of themselves, and built great stories that will carry them through those inevitable trying times ahead.

it was team-building at its finest. no pin needed.


p.s. i’ll dig up that pin (or a reasonable facsimile) and ship it free of charge to anyone who can top my team-building experience. community voting rules apply!

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

autom August 17, 2009 at 2:41 pm

you hit on a subtle note here—one which likely deserves more attention than most of us realize: the less contrived the efforts are at community building, the better the chances are of people being more willing to join in and be part of the experience.


Mark Bednar August 18, 2009 at 10:06 am

I wanna go! sounds like it was SUCH a blast.


Crystal Peterson August 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Fran – sounds like a good time was had by all. I agree with you – true team-building at its finest!


fran August 19, 2009 at 7:30 am

autom, i think that actually you hit on it. 😉

mark and crystal, it was a great time. i reserved myself a spot on next year’s team.



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