Nature gave us all the resources that we need to learn how to adapt to every situation, how to fill our soul with a good vibe and how to be kind. And, on top of the positive effects that it has on reducing stress-levels and improving mental health, the open and unstructured space of the outdoors also has an up-side in social interactions. Natural environments have the power to encourage social cohesion through group activities and cooperative problem-solving.
That’s why teambuilding activities in the middle of nature are a good ideea for developing useful traits and abilities for a functional team. Let’s take for example rock climbing. Studies applied on groups of rock-climbers and non-rock-climbers revealed that those who practice this outdoor activity tend to be more intelligent, have a more abstract-thinking pattern, are more trusting, adaptable, free of jealousy, more confident and serene. Moreover, this type of people are more liberal, analytical and have a free-thinking mindset, all valuable traits for developing a healthy organizational climate.
Or, let’s entartain an analogy between rafting and leadership. The golden rule in rafting is to always remember that the river is constantly changing. Just when you think that the waters are calm and steady, you can hit a rough patch of whirling water. As the rafts surge over stormy rapids, the rocks may tear you apart. The same thing happens in business, especially when you have to lead. That product recall. That PR disaster. That market nosedive. That restructuring.
What rafting teaches you? To keep your cool under any circumstances. Sometimes it’s better to pause, stay still on your boat and think for solutions. Sometimes they come to you naturally if you go with the current.
Moreover, rafting, like any other outside activity, teaches you to properly equip your team. When you arrive at the mustering location for the rafting trip, you usally receive the appropriate equipment for the project and an introduction to your raft. Now, back to the office. Ask yourself how often do we ask people to take on a project with insufficient resources?
Then, you have to learn to train your team. After an equipment check, your guide explains his role and your roles. He provides instruction for a correct rafting. In that way, he sets the expectations for the team and provides instructions on how to meet them.
Reading the river ahead, the guide can issue commands to propel the raft forward, turn it left or right, slow it down, or literally “Hang on”. A team leader can do the same when he’s back at the office: he can set the context of the project in addition to directing the actions of the team. It’s all about communication.
Another outdoor activity that can develope your character is group camping. When you camp, you learn how to work with others, build meaningful relationships, accept guidance and develop decision-making skills. All of these life skills nurture independence, confidence and of course great .
First, at camping, you learn teamwork – working together for the benefit of something bigger than you: the team. You’ll learn that your relationships benefit from the investment you made in “we”, and that the team benefits as a whole when individual relationships are strengthened. Living in a tent, cooking food, climbing ropes and overcoming obstacles are life accomplishments people can achieve that help build strength of character, courage, determination, and focus for something bigger than yourself.
While more and more of our culture allows people to seek out what’s enjoyable and avoid what’s unpleasant, camping can nudge you to move out of your comfort zone to overcome your own limits.
There is a lot of excitement and fufillment in every outdoor activity that you undertake. That also brings acknowledgement to the fact that even small project achievments can go a long way in building team morale and keeping a project on course.