| | | |
| | |
by Roy Rivenburg
Some workers would walk over hot coals for their jobs. Or fly from a trapeze.
In the name of teamwork, companies are asking employees to perform all sorts
of odd feats.
...At Latitude Communications in Santa Clara, employees have dangled from
a circus trapeze, ridden mechanical bulls and rushed into a flaming trailer
wearing firefighter suits. Other team-building schemes on the market include
rattlesnake roundups, race-car driving, grape stomps and a "sea rescue" in
which toy helicopters airlift bikini-clad Barbie dolls from a shark-infested
pool. (Apparently, nothing improves morale like saving Barbie from Jaws.)
...Make your own merlot. In Napa, employees can stomp grapes and blend their
own wines as a team-building exercise. Hostage negotiations. In this simulation,
teams of employees negotiate with fictitious animal-rights activists who are
holding hostages at a research laboratory. Other simulation games let employees
investigate murders, run fictitious governments or search for Arizona's legendary
Lost Dutchman gold mine (players wear cowboy hats and bandannas for added realism).
The games are designed to teach decision-making, creativity, risk-taking and
Barbie heroism. Using cranks and pulleyes, four people guide a toy helicopter
as it rescues a bevy of Barbies from deadly plastic sharks. This adventure
is by Total Rebound, a Benicia, Calif., company that also conducts a "Survivor"-style
game on Angel Island and takes clients aboard the aircraft carrier Hornet to
build and launch their own missiles.
The list of gimmicks is endless: cornfield mazes, rock music lyrics that teach "valuable
learning lessons," sumo wrestling in inflatable body suits and listening
to dead presidents."Did you know George Washington believed and practiced
team-building and collaboration as a central part of his leadership style?"...
Does any of this stuff work?
Latitude Communications' DeLeon agrees. The daredevil lessons have "benefited
us greatly," she says. As the economy stumbles, "a lot of companies
are thinking about cutbacks, but this is one thing we wouldn't want to skimp