Monday, February 2, 2009

Perceptions of Challenge Courses: "We have already done that"

I work mainly with corporate clients.

Many of them have given me the pleasure of consulting with them for many years now. Many at this point know and have a good idea of my bag of tricks as well as have dialed in to ask me the questions to receive the answers that they require.

How does this apply to Challenge courses & Ropes Courses - everyone has a perception that is created within their minds I will call this perception individual construct (IC).

Also the team creates a perception, almost shared I will call this Team Construct (TC).
The power of the IC affects the one who holds it.

If a person has experienced a team building activity and has knowledge of a solution or best practice this is their IC. It may very well be wrong and it may lead them to a false IC.
This creates a deep brain rut causing a repetition of false beliefs. The more this IC of false belief is repeated and the person feels that they know they are right the further it will set the team back.

Once the TC is instituted the team can begin to openly share insights of perceptions shared from all the IC's into a shared pool of knowledge, Deepening the TC pool.

With business and behaviors we feel that many habits we have are the correct ones. Why - because they have never been challenged, our IC's are a safety mechanism the comes from practiced, learned and repetitive behaviors.
What can be done to re-direct and connect neurons for changed behaviors is get to the TC and have all the members openly share their best practices for solving challenge course initiatives.

Only once we have a firm understanding of what all our IC's are. Can the team begin to develop new patterns of behavior that lead to greater success. Is the spirit of Kaizen (continuous improvement).

If a participant has experience I encourage them to share the experience, although I also force the team members who have never experienced the ropes course element and team building initiative to share their ideas.
Once you get all the data and Constructs on the flip charts and planning sheets the team can them decide what is the greatest and currently necessary solution. Also once individuals who have experienced a challenge course share, they find that the experience they had (IC) is nothing like the experience that the same person who was next to them the entire time had (IC). This is the joy of experiential education - we can be together and doing the same thing and have absolutely different experiences Individual Constructs.

People at work do the same jobs everyday, continuously, they fall into behaviors and ruts that are repeated and scripted continuously, "Do you want fries with that".

Think about yourself what behaviors do you fall into habitually, are these behaviors damaging your your effectiveness and ability to contribute to your team, your actions to your family and loved ones.

This is why we need a culture of continuous learning and development - the longer you have been doing something the stronger your IC that it is right and the only way to do it, I call this the "folkloric Construct".

As a team building consultant one of my responsibilities is to allow teams to see these continuous ruts of behavior, discuss them in to TC context, then transfer these behaviors to the work place.

Continuous learning and improved patterns should be, must be facilitated.

Photos - Gaetan Lee


-Michael Cardus is the founder of Create-Learning-Team Building, an experiential based training and development consulting organization, as well as a blogger for TeamBuilding NY. Mike specializes in team development and leadership development consulting and training, creating team-building programs that retain talented staff members, increase production and effectiveness of your team. He lives in Buffalo, NY, and travels to you to serve your team-building and leadership training needs, wherever and whenever fits your schedule.