Does your team work together?

The other day, I went to a team building activity that my comapny arranged and I learnt a lot of good lessons there. So I would like to share them with my readers.

Why did we do this in the first place?

Our company is in international marketing research and has branches around the world. Tokyo, Shanghai, Manila, Seoul, L.A. The services we provide to our clients all depend on smooth teamwork among the branches. For example, we have a sales team in L.A., they deal directly with our clients. In marketing research, speed and availability is very important, and this is why we have a 24/7 operation center in Manila.
When we receive an order from a client, it sets a whole process in motion. Our operation center will manage our local marketing research teams in Asia and assist them in conducting the research. It will then process the results and deliver them to that client.
So our business depends a lot on teamwork between branches.

What did we do?

That's why we went to a team building exercise.
We did some outdoor activities in a recreational forest near Mt.Fuji.
For example, there was a giant seesaw we used for an activity, we divided ourselves on both sides and kept it in balance. Then we had to switch places while keeping the seesaw balanced. We spent too much time arguing on how to do it and didn't agree on a solution. So we failed to finish it within the time limit.
We learned that in a group everyone has different opinions and ideas. And nobody knows if their ideas work out or not. Unless we eliminate ideas by trial and error, we can't solve it.

Another activity we did is a spidernet activity. In this activity we had to go through the holes in the net, one by one without touching the net. Every hole had a different size and we could only use every hole once. Anyway, the point of this activity is that we have to work together as a team to achieve our goal. It took many tries, but in the end we could clear it.

In this activity I realized everyone is different. No two people are the same. Everyone has their own skills and weaknesses. To overcome challenges as a team, you have to use everyone's skills in the right way as to negate the weaknesses of individuals. If you look at yourself, you have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes you focus too much on your own weaknesses, but as long as there is someone in your team who complements your weaker points, there is no reason to worry.

I always thought that to make a team as efficient as possible, it's best to get only people that are perfectly qualified for the problem at hand. But I realized this is not necessarily true. Highly specialized people are good for a small part of a team, but in business diversity matters. It's better to have many people with different skills and ideas. That way you can tackle any kind of problem that arises.

Throughout these teamwork building activities, we learned to work together a lot better and we can solve any problems we face as long as we work together as a team!

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