Overview

A major furniture manufacturing company asked us to create a unique and memorable team building challenge for 400 of their independent dealer sales representatives with a surprise element. Their independent reps are in different regions of the US and Canada so we created a team competition representing each region and corporate.  Each region had matching team colors denoted with color coordinated hats and shirts.

Action

Working with our partners, we created an event that emphasized team building which fostered out-of-the-box thinking and truly working outside of individual comfort zones.  Each team had one hour to build a seaworthy boat, then race it in a regatta.  The basic materials were provided, and special instructions were hidden in old-fashioned Treasure Chests buried in the powdery sand.  Critical pieces were omitted on purpose and, just as the frustration hit a fever pitch, two helicopters swept above the sand to the blaring sound of “Ride of the Valkyries” and dropped the missing pieces into the surf. Each team succeeded in building a boat, and each boat was in fact seaworthy.  This event developed team bonding, for sure. But it also aided in personal development, in accomplishing what seemed to be an impossible task through thoughtful problem solving and personal interaction. By definition, this was a perfect exercise in experiential learning, which is a unique way to achieve success through team-oriented, problem solving activities.

 

The challenges were threefold:

1.  Create a challenge event that united each region of the company in competion with each other 

2.  Create a surprise element to the event that would have all the guests talking for years to come

3.  Coordinate the logistics of the event with the resort, air traffic control, and local government

 

Each team was provided with bamboo sticks, plastic barrels, sheets of paper, cloth for a sail, spray paint, rope and thread, and was given 60 minutes to build a seaworthy boat.

Once built, the judges scored each boat in three categories:

1. Seaworthiness

2. Creativity

3. Enthusiasm/Team Spirit

 

What Happened

With an amazing surpise element of two corporate branded helicopters dropping missing supplies into the surf we harnessed the creative strengths in every individual to build, design, and race their boats across the crystal blue waters of Punta Cana. We produced an event that enabled leadership and design talents to emerge and flourish in a positive team setting. This interaction resulted in one of the most spirited challenges we've seen in the past 25 years.