Team Building and Duct Tape!

What do you get when you give a group of Type A personalities 3 rolls of duct tape, 2 sheets of cardboard and a knife? Some would say it’s a recipe for a Grimm’s fairytale, but we had Cinderella on our team, we would be just fine… When we first decided to join the Cardboard Boat Regatta the emails flew.  We quickly realized most of us wanted to be in charge.  So everyone became in charge of SOMETHING. entire crewThis group came about by our involvement in the Chamber’s WWWednesday.  We all love social media so we get together to help each other with this ever-changing marketplace.  We decided we needed an outing that had NOTHING to do with the computer, had food, some margaritas and we would all blog about it.


Our team consists of the Queen (me), HR Midwest provided a training manual.manual  Elizabeth from Sail Away Girl provided the sailing knowledge and gave us our assignments.  Kristi from KZ Photography chronicled our adventure on film.  Viki from Mortgage Essentials financed us in the form of food.  Nicole from Dreams Do Come True Tours (our Cinderella) planned our trip.  Theresa from Shaklee provided sunscreen and labor.  Maggie runs Smashed Peas and Carrots and brought her little sailors to test the boat for comfort and durability. We had a great support team of friends and family taking bets for and against our success. Can you guess which side my husband was on?

I’ve watched this race for before, it’s an exercise in people watching.  This would be a great interview process or team evaluation.  Watching how people came up with a plan, how they worked together, who sat back and let the others do the work.  foodMy favorite is the actual plan for their boats.  It amazes me how many people on a team will agree to a bad plan.  Wet cardboard WILL NOT float.  There is a surprisingly large group that doesn’t get that.  I may make this an interview question.

I’m a planner.  I want to be there, reserve our space, have a cooler and be the first in line.  I had a manual, a t-shirt with my logo, chairs and a cooler.  Kristi, the creative photographer bought pirate props.  We all had hoop earrings, swords and eye patches.  Our intention was to put skinny Maggie in the boat but she wasn’t having it, so Kristi and I were elected to sail.  I was certain we would.  My new plan was to not die.  But the rest of my team is very competitive. bulding me writingElizabeth came up with stabilizing supports and shaped the hull and sides with minimal cuts which adds to structural integrity.  Theresa does not lose, so with Elizabeth’s direction she was in charge of sealing our boat in duct tape.  Ok maybe we won’t die, but probably sink.  So we decorated our boat with all of our logos.  The Advenger is dying right now with our poor interpretation of the Queen, but hey we were only allowed a sharpie and two hours.  Next year we need someone who can draw.


The rules are you have to row this boat (I use this term very loosely) to the middle of the river and back.  We made paddles and were ready to go.  When we jumped in the boat it moved and I couldn’t get on my knees because I was afraid the adjustment would do us in and we never had time to put the paddles on.  So we paddled with our hands and moved that boat with pure adrenaline. Kristi was paddling and putting water in the boat so we adjusted our strokes and before we knew it we were at the halfway point!  OMG we are not going to die and we may finish.  omgSo we paddled like crazy and watched our support team screaming with excitement and shock.  We made it and were in 5th place but then 1st place was disqualified so we jumped to 4th!   We couldn’t believe it!  Ok I couldn’t believe it.  Kristi is competitive and was hoping to win!


So why did I take an afternoon off work for this and what did I learn from my team of Type A’s?  I learned that leaders want to lead, so break it down instead of fighting for who will be in charge.  I learned there is nothing like a competition to bring a team together.  These kind of memories last and will create a bond that lasts long after the event.  We’ve shared these pictures on Facebook and other places and everyone gets excited just talking about it.  I think we’ll have a bunch of teams next year.  Fun is contagious and can give people an avenue outside of the office to have to work together and talk.  finishersIf Snow White and the Evil Queen would have built a boat maybe they would have saved themselves years of issues!

Try working some team building in before the summer ends and see what comes of it.  Get a team together to pour beer at a festival, try a bags tournament in the parking lot on a Friday afternoon or volunteer together on a project.  Let us know how it goes.  If you have done events like this before, comment on how it went!


About evilqueenhr

Once upon a time there was a boring HR person sitting in a back office filling out paperwork spouting sections from the handbook. I’m not that HR person. Work is a scary and sometimes funny place with lots of lessons to learn along the way. People don’t follow the rules, it’s HR’s job to steer them in the right direction. Unfortunately there are no apples with spells to make the bad employees fall asleep until we can recruit new ones. My Name is Denise Benages and I have been in the Human Resource field for over 16 years. I am president of HR Midwest, Inc. I plan on telling the epic lore of the workplace and help with solutions. Don't Bite the Apple...Work is not a fairy tale!
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