Team Building Faqs
It is difficult for people who are not familiar with the genre to compare programs and the various providers in the field. By default, cost may become the deciding factor. We suggest further consideration, as we do not aim to be the low cost provider, but rather the greatest value provider.
For anyone else on a fixed budget, it makes sense to let us know what your constraints are from the outset. Our objective is to give you the best program to meet your needs given your constraints. We don't charge a client more or less simply because they can afford more or less, so openness about a fixed budget is appropriate from the outset. We aim to find a formula to meet your needs and that totally appreciates your situation. If you know you have a certain budget you need to stay within, it makes sense to tell us up front, as we may be able to offer a variation in program design that can save money. If it reduces quality in some way, we will let you know what the trade off would be, so you can make an informed decision. If after we've quoted a price, you need to ask for a lower cost in order to obtain approval, it doesn't hurt to ask.
Team Craft does have cooperating relationships with some great hotels, resorts, and executive conference centers. However, we are not facility bound, nor do we provide food or lodging services. We can suggest options and refer you to them, so you can make suitable arrangements. We can then coordinate with those locations as appropriate.
InterActive Team programs can be conducted either indoors or outdoors, so if it rains, we will be prepared to move the program indoors. We take responsibility to modify the program to best meet your objectives if we have to move it indoors. Other program formats can often be conducted in spite of rain like City Sleuths or Movie Studio. It is possible to switch form a format like Raft Craft to an indoor program like The Egg Games with a day or two advance preparation. We have a thorough "Rain Policy" that details all the factors to consider. This is available to prospective clients during the planning process.
The most typical arrangement is to have teams made up with people from across the organization, so participants can get to meet new people at the program and expand their informal network back at work - a major benefit of doing an activity like this. We can do a random selection activity at the outset, if you prefer.
It can also makes a lot of sense to have intact teams do the program as a team, so that what they observe and learn can be applied directly to their work situation. When they participate as a team they will tend to reach agreement about what they experienced together and have more likelihood to act on it together back at work. If they are split up on different teams during the program and don't share the same experience, the shared motivation probably won't be as great.
We know how to ask good questions, get everyone involved in the process, and, at times - most important - know when to step back and let the group be itself. Discussions that follow activities are designed to lead the group to figure out what is most applicable to their work setting; not what an outsider might assume to be important. And we know how to keep the process fun and insightful - no matter what happens. Background information on Team Craft staff can be found at "About Team Craft". You may request a specific staff person if you like.
It is important to set realistic expectations about what can be achieved in a short time frame. Very short programs (2.5 hours or less) can act as ice breakers or theme setters at the start of a meeting. Half day programs (3 to 4.5 hours) provide great opportunities for relationship building and can suggest ways a group can improve its performance. Longer programs (4.5 to 8 hours) actually allow teams to identify new work processes and have a greater likelihood of having key learnings transferred to work situations. A program to effectively address conflict within a team typically needs more than one day to resolve the situation.
We believe that the best learning occurs when learners own responsibility for it from the very begriming. In effect, people get more out a program when they are personally invested in it. If people come expecting us to do something to them, making us responsible for their outcome, then they won't likely act on their experience. We encourage participants at the outset to identify what they personally and collectively want to get out of a program. At the end of a program (relative to time availability and setting) we take time to have participants identify their key learnings and help them identify ways they can take action back at work.
People who leave clearly understanding their responsibility to make a difference are more likely to make it happen. We are very grateful for the complimentary feedback we get on a regular basis from people telling us how our program contributed to their success. But they made it happen, not us. We provided a positive catalyst, they made the transformation.
Some people are concerned for their safety. How do you ensure our safety?
It is extremely rare for someone to become injured during a program. In over twenty years at Team Craft we have noted only a handful of injuries in total, ranging from a strained back to a cut finger. Nothing more serious. Injuries that do occur in this field are almost always related to a previous condition, resulting in a recurrent injury. To eliminate this possibility, we require every participant in potentially rigorous physical activities to complete a short medical history and sign an acknowledgement of risk form. We emphasize that each person needs to carefully monitor their own level of involvement, and not to do anything that, given the safety briefing and their own assessment, would put them and others at risk. We have found that participants monitor themselves well, and we encourage restraint. We want our programs to be fun and enjoyable. Fear of injury or intimidation has no place in our programs.
The Challenge By Choice option is employed in all of our programs. Part of our Letter of Agreement stipulates that participation in any part of any Team Craft program is up to each individual's own personal choice. Peer pressure is not to override this option. The activities are of a nature that most people can participate with the expectation that they can achieve the objective. But some folk simply shouldn't for good reason, and along the way a participant may choose to curtail their involvement. This is always an option in our programs, though it is extremely rare. In the context of everything that happens in a program, opting out of a particular activity presents its own opportunity for positive learning. If someone chooses not to participate in a particular activity, we identify a support role for that person to play, so that he or she remains an active participant in the group process.
Given the effort to promote safety and efficacy within the field, much has been done to standardize the technology used on a ropes course. However, the ropes course is different from other standardized activity devices (like at an amusement park) in that they are tools designed to promote interpersonal skill development.
The benefits from a "ropes course" are not inherent in the mere fact that you used the device. How the activity is facilitated to promote your specific learning objectives relates to the skills of the experiential educators who are providing the program. Team Craft staff are highly experienced professional facilitators knowledgeable in both the experiential learning process and the dynamics of many work environments. We have developed a refined methodology that uses this environment to promote an effective team problem solving process for adult work groups.
Our programs focus on adult learning pedagogy. The vast majority of our "ropes course" programs are, in fact, InterActive Teams programs (see our team building programs listings). This format focuses on ground level activities that involve two teams challenged to solve a problem sharing the same goal and resources. It is designed to reflect the dynamics of many work settings. These programs are very mobile and can be conducted indoors as well as outside. You can be assured that a Team Craft program is of the highest quality available for adult learning applied to adult work groups.
Some people think of any social event that they provide to their employees as a form of Team Building. A sense of purpose and design can help make these events useful, but they are not Experiential Team Building just because they involve an activity. Team Craft Experiential Team Building Programs are designed to combine the pedagogy of experiential learning with the skill sets of corporate Team building to provide a highly effective means of internalizing interpersonal and problem solving skills among program participants. Our experiential learning process is inherently fun and engaging, as well as insightful and educative.
Is this the same thing as Action Learning? Action learning has grown in popularity as a concept in the past decade due in large part to the phenomenon of The Fifth Discipline. Based on the work of Chris Argyris at Harvard and Peter Senge at MIT, Action Learning has its roots in systems theory and more formal organizational development. It is useful to think of Action Learning as the ongoing process of organizational learning back at the workplace that we can promote and encourage through Experiential Team Building Programs. The two approaches are very complimentary and share many of the same principals for promoting effective adult learning.
Is it the same thing as holistic learning?
Holistic learning promotes the theorem that people learn best when they are engaged using multiple senses - and multiple intelligences. If we are promoting skill sets based on behaviors, then the learning process would most effectively employ our intellect, our physical actions, and our emotions. The learning likely needs to occur on all three levels - and be integrated as a "mind-set". Experiential Learning is an effective form of holistic learning. Employing the ideas of multiple intelligences, we take into account the learning orientation of our participants. Do they learn best with special consideration toward language (i.e., international groups), logic (i.e., engineers or marketers), space (location - indoors or outdoors), or kinesthetics (types of body movement)? We adapt our programs in consideration of our learners.