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Thread: Team-Building Exercise - Arctic Survival?

  1. #1
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    Team-Building Exercise - Arctic Survival?

    Has anyone out there ever been invited (read "required") to participate in a team-building exercise called "Arctic Survival"?

    We were just told we need to go to one this week, and I wondered what it will be like.

  2. #2
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    I haven't, but I did co-lead a group of high schoolers on a winter camping trip! It was in January a few years ago.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  3. #3
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    Do you really have to go somewhere cold? with coworkers?

    Who is your boss? Satan?
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  4. #4
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    I've never heard of this, but you've piqued my curiosity - I am really interested in hearing more about what you'll have to do. Do you know any details?

  5. #5
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    I'm interested in hearing more about this as well. I did a quick web search, but the one thing that keeps turning up is an actual adventure trip, 3-5 days, that starts in Norway, where you actually have to bivouac in the snow or build an igloo and fend for yourself for several days. I'm assuming if your company planned to fly you off to Norway this week, you would hvae been given more advance notice.....

  6. #6
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    I had to do this a while back. It's a bit foggy, but this is what I remember. They gave us a situation where we were stranded in the Arctic. You get a list of items that you have and you have to rank them in order of importance. First, everyone worked alone. We calculated our score based on our answers. Then they broke us into groups and we did the exercise again as a group. Of course, the scores were higher as a group, proving the point that when you work together, you accomplish more.

    That was my experience. I wonder if this is the same thing that you're going to do. It was okay- nothing earth shattering. I think it was a half day thing.
    Wouldn't you like to be a Susan, too?

  7. #7
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    I've done the camping version of the Arctic survival. You are given 10 items, asked to rank them in order of importance and explain your reasoning. First alone, then in a group like Susan did.

    Ours was that we were in the woods and our guide got ill and we had to find our way out for help for the guide without letting him die.

    It was fun and when the moderator finally read us the "right" answers and why they were right, no one had been thinking that way! But it's the team-building experience more than the right and wrong of your answers. There's always someone in the group that takes charge, someone who doesn't contribute, someone who insists they're right, etc.

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by Gracie
    There's always someone in the group that takes charge, someone who doesn't contribute, someone who insists they're right, etc.
    Hmmm...sounds like Survivor.
    Linda

    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say “I used everything you gave me.”

    Erma Bombeck

  9. #9
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    Well, I won't argue the comparison between my boss and Satan but no, we don't actually have to go out into the cold. I think Mrs. Reber has it right, but I have yet to see for sure.

    I had to attend something similar a couple years ago, in which the pretend scenario was that you were having a late night meeting in the basement of a corporate building, and suddenly there's an earthquake. The exits are blocked, the elevator won't work because the power is out, there's limited food and water, you can smell natural gas coming from the water heater, and you only have such and such items to work with - what do you do?

    Just as Mrs. Reber mentioned, the take-home message is supposed to be that the answers you come up with as a team are better than the ones you think of on your own.

    At least they'll be taking us to a very nice place to do this. We get cocktails and dinner the night before, we spend the night, then we have an all-day meeting and this arctic team-building exercise the next day. Take a look at this place:

    www.skytop.com

    Should be interesting!

  10. #10
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    Wow, my SIL's ex-byfriend used to work there as a grounds keeper (He lives in Pike County in PA). He says he was the head honcho grounds keeper. Anyway, he was always saying how beautiful it was there. Have fun!
    Wouldn't you like to be a Susan, too?

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by HejazSunKat


    Hmmm...sounds like Survivor.

    Actually it sounds like "The Apprentice" to me!

  12. #12
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    that place is beautiful, gotta love the pocono's! Have fuN!
    "...having dogs forces us to keep living in places that are right for us. And I think of all the things I might have given up had my dogs not shown me what was important in my life: fresh air, a garden, an eleven-thousand foot mountain in my backyard." - Pam Houston "The Bad Dogs of Park City"

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  13. #13
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    At least the venue looks gorgeous!

    I have to wonder (this is going to sound sarcastic but I genuinely wonder) if anyone has ever experienced any tangible long-term benefits of one of these "team building" excursions? Do you three, six, 12 months down the line find you approach yor projects differently? Respect your coworkers more or engage them more? Find that you're more productive or producing higher quality work?

    I know I'm skeptical, but I look at that Web site and wonder what an event like that costs and how great the ROI really is for the company.

  14. #14
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    I wonder about that, too. The time I did this, it was a half day event in the office. I dare say that drinks and nice accommodations would have made me remember it better!

    Anyway, at this point in my life, I'd consider it an intrusion on my personal time if my employer made me stay overnight somewhere with my co-workers. The idea was tossed around here and everyone nixed it. Our feeling is that our personal time is our own and we shouldn't be forced to spend it somewhere else. They wanted us to consider a weekend away! For me, personally, this would have created a burden because if my husband had to work on Saturday, we'd need additional care for our kids. They have had a couple of offsite things, one was a team building day, but they were kind of silly. I think it created some commraderie, but it doesn't last forever.
    Wouldn't you like to be a Susan, too?

  15. #15
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    Its a relief that you don't actually have to go out in the cold somewhere...although if it was a place with a walk in freezer, you lure your boss in, everyone else runs out, and you keep your boss in deep freeze until he gives up the stupid idea.

    I guess if you have a good team the exercise will work. I'm in school, and we have "group" projects. That means the smart kids do the work and the others free-load. If that's the case, I'd rather hike out of the woods or scale the elevator shaft by myself. I've always been a MacGyver type anyway.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  16. #16
    Originally posted by mbrogier
    I guess if you have a good team the exercise will work. I'm in school, and we have "group" projects. That means the smart kids do the work and the others free-load.
    Oooh! Don't get me started on group projects. In my case, it always turned out that I and one other person did the majority of the work. (I'm not saying I'm one of the "smart ones," just a conscientious one that wanted an A in the class.) One time we had a guy in our group who showed up for maybe one meeting. At the final presentation, we handed him a script (everyone must participate, you know), which he did a lousy job of reading. Aaargh! It affected everyone's grade.

    I got tired of asking my professors what the value was in group projects and repeatedly hearing it was "real life." Right. Oh, I don't argue that there is value in working as a team but having one or two people do all the work and having to live with a grade - something that stays with you for life - that's brought down by non-performers isn't fair. In a real-life situation, they would lose their job. In a school project, we were stuck with them.

    As for team-building exercises at work, I've always enjoyed them but view them as boondoggles because they're usually a lot of fun. I've never really seen any measurable ROI resulting from these group exercises, but I think there's a benefit. Probably the most positive result I've seen is that you get to connect with people on a different level and speed up the relationship-building process. It's most beneficial when there are a lot of new people in the group and/or a lot of telecommuters in the group. It's been a good way for all of us to get to know each other quickly and work more effectively together thereafter.

  17. #17
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    My math professor started letting us do out "group" project by ourselves if we wanted. It didn't affect our final "group participation" grade. I did much better by myself. I didn't have to coach the people in my class that weren't serious about learning. My grades on the project went up.

    I am not a genius. I just try to take my studies/work seriously. There are so many people that don't care about what they do at work or school. Its depressing.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  18. #18
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    Yet another reason to be grateful for self-employment.
    For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It's an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once.

    --Bill Bryson, "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

  19. #19
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    LOL, I *knew* that's what your comment was going to be!
    I'm not exactly self-employed, but I freelance. No team-building, no "off-sites" and no performance reviews.

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by Canice
    LOL, I *knew* that's what your comment was going to be!
    Oh dear, now I am obnoxious AND predictable.
    For you to be here now, trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It's an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once.

    --Bill Bryson, "A Short History of Nearly Everything"

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