Team Building Through Strengths- Overcoming Team Challenges in High Ropes Courses

Have you looked around the office lately and seen your team just not performing as well as usual? Throughout the year we all go through personal ruts, but there are times when the entire office is in a “work rut”. This rut could be for a number of reasons- the weather, holidays, large and difficult projects, repetitive work tasks- the list is endless.

The work rut affects everything from morale to productivity.

To combat this work rut we’ve found that teams need a new setting and new challenges to refocus and get back to the basics of teamwork. The outdoors are the perfect atmosphere for teams to come together and work on their foundation. High ropes courses are the epitome of teams working through challenges together. Each obstacle in a high ropes course offers an opportunity to experience how people interact and how they can lean on each other to overcome challenges as a team. Teams must rely on partnerships and communication to get each other through the courses.

Each group dynamic is different. There are the groups that are full of strong leaders, the groups of timid individuals with no clear leader, and then there is the hybrid group with a strong leader and quiet followers. There are corporate groups, girl scout groups, National Guard teams, and various other types of groups out there. Each group has their own approach to the challenges in high ropes courses.

Full steam ahead is not always the best way through any given challenge.

The best way to approach challenges is to rely on the strengths of team members. Teams do not succeed because of one person. Success comes from the efforts and strengths of a number of individuals coming together and supplementing each other’s weaknesses.

How to build effective partnerships with your team members through strengths and weaknesses.

 

Experiencing how different strengths and weaknesses of your group play out throughout the ropes course is always surprising. The way people communicate with each other comes into play in many ways. Some groups come from very encouraging, uplifting foundations while others come with such a competitive spirit it can work against them in the long run. Furthermore, the communication in advance to starting the challenge is key. Group success in a high ropes course comes from knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses prior to being in the middle of a cargo net climb.

Make sure everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are known to the entire team. To succeed you will need to assist in naming the strengths of teammates, as many people take their skills for granted. Then come up with a game plan. How can each person’s strengths help achieve the overall team goal of completing the high ropes course.

Pair up or group up within the larger group to help supplement the weaknesses. For those that are not physically strong, pair up with those that are to overcome the climbing wall. Teammates that are great at encouraging and talking people through things should be with those that struggle with open heights like the cargo nets. Directing this type of teamwork starts with leaders.

The leader of a group can both make and break a groups time together. Some strong leaders have a very positive, uplifting, encouraging nature bringing their teammates up and pushing them forward, surpassing their previous boundaries. However, there are the leaders that are not born leaders and use different resources to lead their group. They allow all members to give input and assert parts of leadership skills. It is important for leaders to evaluate their team and the challenge at hand. In high ropes courses, leaders have to push themselves outside their own comfort zones. They may need to try new leadership and motivational methods.

A high ropes course provides other opportunities for growth than just physical skills.

 

High ropes courses test and refine confidence levels, allowing for moments of- literally- pushing yourself to new heights you may have never seen yourself attempting. People are always surprised at the mental testing and commitment it takes to conquer obstacles in the courses. The testing obstacles are different for each and every person. While some people are eager to jump across a 10 ft gap 30’ in the air, that’s not that easiest for a majority of others.

Skills you find within yourself and your teammates on a high ropes course have lasting effects in many areas of life. For some that may be a new boldness to try something new and out of their comfort zone. For others, it may be trusting their inner and physical strength more than they have before.

Confidence can go a long way in many areas.

Recognize the team bonding in challenges.

 

There are many ways to bond as a team. There’s 5 o’clock after work drinks, company BBQs, company retreats, gym partners, etc.

But there’s a different type of bond formed when teams overcome a challenge together.

Teams don’t just succeed at overcoming the physical and mental challenges of ropes courses, they walk away learning more about each other, as well as themselves. Teams often discover surprising things about each other. Take Bethany, the quiet one in the corner office. She turns out to actually have a strong voice and personality which leads to her stepping up in times of chaos.

It can be difficult to see full personalities of those you work with if you are never in a situation that calls for them to act differently.

High ropes course facilitators spend time working with lots of different personalities and skill sets on a daily basis. They know how best to address different personalities and what activities people find the most difficult both physically and/or mentally conquering. Therefore, facilitators adapt well and work with both the strengths and weaknesses of each group.

Teams walk away from high ropes courses, like Glacier Highline Aerial Adventure Park, with a well-rounded experience. Each team member experiences both a personal accomplishment and the group success. Team building experiences in high ropes courses create great memories that last a lifetime. Everyone will be reminiscing flying through the trees together for months to comes. 

And you know what they say, a team who plays together stays together!

 

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