Out Of Our Comfort Zone

Posted By: David Robertshaw - Monday, 17 February 2014  |  Comments: 0

Out Of Our Comfort Zone

david & jeanetteAs fantastic as the Senior Team of Access Point is there are a couple of things that are unknown; things that are best to uncover, determine and resolve within an environment we can control rather than just waiting for something to happen!!

Also because the team is made up of strong characters there is always the issue of allowing and encouraging the next level of management to blossom and show their own strengths, flex their own muscles and make decisions without the usual support structure.

Over time an idea grew and I thought that to achieve personal growth both within the team and with the rest of the company it would be necessary to remove ourselves from the office, I also wanted the Senior Team to work together more closely and for each to understand what makes up our team – this would not be achieved in a day making rafts in the Lake District!

The next thought was “where would we go and what would we do?” I didn’t want a beach where you could stay in your comfort zone and be able to escape if things got on top of you. It also needed to be physically and mentally challenging so it could be observed how we coped with extreme conditions.

sleddingDog sledding in the Arctic ticked all of the right boxes and the more I thought about it and discussed it with Gaynor who runs the travel company, Voyage Active, it began to take shape. (http://voyageactive.co.uk)

One worry was that this was taking things a little too far, pulling people a long way out of their comfort zone, but better this than something that didn’t test us as a team. The plan was that by choosing this activity we could work as a team and see how each of the team members reacted with each other in extreme conditions. Despite some initial resistance I came to the conclusion that it was a done deal and I just needed to make sure I used my best selling skills and sold it to the team.

It was with trepidation that I spoke to the team, foremost in my mind was that everybody who boarded the plane to Kiruna was aware of what we were doing and what would be expected of them. It turned out I needn’t have worried! Everybody was enthusiastic and raring to go.

iglooOver the next couple of months I was bombarded with questions about what we would be doing and what kit they would need to take. I briefed on activities as much as I could but wanted to keep some things back as a surprise and in other blogs you will no doubt read of some of these activities.

Did I achieve my aims?

Most certainly. There were several reasons for arranging this five day trip of which the most obvious was getting the Senior Team working closely together over a sustained period of time.

ice fishingSure they come together every few weeks but never do they take on tasks together as a whole.

Again the extreme conditions helped accelerate the bonding process. It was also a chance for everybody to get to know each other on a personal level, living and working in very close proximity, carrying out tasks that require trust in each other. It was also a reward for helping Access Point have a fantastic couple of years.

What about the team left behind?

By removing ALL of the Senior Team it was a great test for everybody left behind to run the ship and deal with any issues that arose. I needn’t have worried as they all performed fantastically well and who knows whose turn it may be next time…. Watch this space!

I joked during the trip that all of the team turned right and headed south out of the UK and headed south when going on their travels – I think a few may now think about turning left in the future!


arctic team


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