When I first came across the pitch to feature a company and its CEO’s adventurous efforts at team building, I practically yawned.
Everyone’s heard about those outdoor challenges that supposedly teach employees to push themselves harder and help their fellow teammates cross the finish line. Who among us hasn’t been instructed to link arms or wear a blindfold and rely on his co-workers in the name of a team-building exercise dreamed up by high-priced consultants?
I admit it; I’m a bit of an eye-roller about these sorts of things, even when it comes to team scavenger hunts at staff get-togethers (which I’ll grudgingly admit end up being fun). I’m not much for getting sweaty with co-workers; I prefer my bonding in air conditioning, or at least poolside, preferably with a celebratory cocktail in hand.
However, after reading the Business feature on California-based Seagate Technology, It’s Not Just A Job, It’s An Adventure Race
, I changed my mind about the story. And when I saw the photographs that accompany the piece, I understood that this isn’t about rah-rah morale boosters. The disk-drive giant’s president and CEO, William Watkins, doesn’t just pay lip service to team-building talk; this man lives, breathes, and bleeds it. An avid athlete, Watkins embraced adventure racing himself before realizing that his employees, and his company, might benefit from it as well. He soon introduced in-house races that he believes show his employees the power of teamwork.
I haven’t yet changed my mind about pulling on my own racing jersey, but the story motivates nonetheless.
Speaking of sports, check out our Lifestyle feature, Rocks And Hard Places
by Ben Hewitt, which showcases the latest in mountain bikes, and offers tips on where to ride and what other gear to buy. (Cool tidbit: According to the Travel Industry Association of America, biking vacations are among the top outdoor vacation activities in the U.S., attracting more than 27 million travelers in the last five years and ranking just behind camping and hiking.)
All of our stories are collaborative efforts between many people and departments, and this feature is a good example of the teamwork it takes to get something as good as it can be. Because he’s an avid biker himself, design director Scott Jackson took a close interest in this one and kept editorial on its toes with oh-so-polite suggestions that this headline or that subhead could be even more in-the-know with just a tweak or two. And the piece is perfect for it. Talk about the power of teamwork.