Yes, the dreaded “S” word.
I’ve never done nor wish to present a scavenger hunt and I’ll tell you why.
This is the much over-rated, simplistic solution to filling time and calling it team building. In a scavenger hunt, people are tasked to get stuff, bring it back and score points – all three of which are anathema to true team building. Think about it. You are at a hotel conference center and you have paid the bottom dollar to make yourself look good to the boss. The scavenger company “associate” arrives to lead your top executives in a multi-faceted team building experience…or so you think.
Actually what you just paid for is an out-of-work actor or comedian who is moonlighting as a “team builder”. The mother company emails this dude the files that he prints out and distributes with a few instructions. Believe me when I tell you, they are paying this hapless jokester minimum wage (in our business, that could be as low as $150). So you’ve paid a couple of grand for a nobody to hand out a list of go-get-em’s that you actually could have downloaded from the internet anyway.
Is this anyway to give your important people an experience that will uplift them?
Then there is the mayhem that the scavenger hunt produces. You think I dislike them? Go talk to any hotel manager. If they could, they would outlaw them. Most hotels are done with groups of marauding executives invading their kitchens on a quest for a raw egg or a picture of the team in the walk-in freezer. They just don’t find the humor in it any more. Can you blame them? Then there are the teams that must take a picture inside a police car. Trust me, in this day and age of alerts and terrorism, you don’t want your people roaming around downtown looking for trouble.
And for what? Points? We did this at summer camp and brought back acorns for 10 points. Really? Is this what it has come to? More importantly, your team of 5,6,or 8 people never works outside itself. They become insulated and even antagonistic to the other teams. “You’re going down, Joe!”
This behavior is exactly what you don’t want to foster. This is the definition of “information silos” – insular management systems incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related information systems.
So what are your alternatives? How about a true team builder where teams start out with a competitive feel but must drop their guard and work together for the greater good of the company? A clever activity that never impacts the facility nor puts your people at risk with dangerous temptations to score points. How about a complex puzzle that all must complete, as a group, for success? And one that has a rich payoff?
The Treasure Hunt Adventure is just that. Important enough for Chevron’s China Energy Leadership Team to bring us to Hainan Island in the South China Sea to lead their top executives in a full day of exercises, culminating in the Treasure Hunt Adventure. The payoff always is the debrief, led by our seasoned veterans, that brings everyone into the discussion of how we can apply these lessons back at the workplace.
So, please, resist the temptation to save a few dollars to put your people in the hands of ineffective strangers who wouldn’t know a silo if they fell down it.
Call today and, please, don’t say the “S” word.
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