Monday, June 2, 2008

Extreme teambuilding Seagate style

I was inspired by the Fortune article in last week's issue - Team building in paradise. It tells the story of the 200 Seagate employees who, led by their CEO, Bill Watkins, will spend a week in an extreme Eco Seagate competition in New Zealand. His start to the pep rally says it all:

"Everyone here's going to die."
Yes, everyone in this room will die - at some point. But before then they'll face important choices about where to work, what to believe in. Choices, really, about change and ultimately happiness. "Are you doing what you want to do in your life? Or are you just blowing through?" Watkins continues. "I'm challenging your life right now. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Would you take a trip around the world? Run a company? If you're not doing what you want, that's where I want you to go. This week is about you doing what you want to do for every week of the rest of your life."

Taking a team out of the office to work on a project or problem together almost always changes their relationship. I've taking a team camping, rented beach houses and of course done the requisite offsite meetings, but never something that was really physically challenging.

So, given that I and 12 of my employees are competing in the Aquabike in Sonoma this August, I found this article tapped right into the heart of what I am trying to do. And it's an experiment this year with just a small group of volunteers, but the principle is the same. If we're successful then maybe we can put some relay teams together next year and so get the non swimmers into the race. We're also putting the pit crew together now of FirstRain employees who will come up and support us through the race, so I expect we'll get more than half the company involved.

This makes my training more important than ever so I don't totally embarrass myself. Like much of my life, my training is feast or famine but this last week was a good week. I rode 122 miles and swam 1, following a week of London, New York, Denver and no training. Extreme in both directions!

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