Your team can realize the power of getting away from the office to bring about good ideas and open communication. Companies and work teams have used the offsite retreat for years as a mode to celebrate success, share knowledge and build stronger working units. What makes this process different is the combination of an outdoor setting and a physical activity with meaningful discussion. These factors contribute to teams successfully discussing sensitive issues or opening the doors for creative ideas.
The value of using a hike as the approach for a team development session is both physiological and intellectual. Many people find that their best thinking happens while participating in a physical activity - you can find examples in runners, swimmers, yoga practitioners and dancers. By bringing a work team into an outdoor setting, they relax and free themselves from day to day stresses.
First, the entire group is broken into pairs. For 15-30 minutes, they discuss a pre-determined topic. Then everyone swaps partners for the next 15-30 minutes. Before starting a new topic, the group takes time to share ideas and to record them in order to discuss and prioritize them at a later time.
To add adventure and to focus on different topics, the Breakthrough Trek can take place at night. Group members can use headlamps or flashlights if they like. The night environment allows team members to address difficult and sensitive issues that may be hard or impossible to bring up around the conference table: trust, equity, jealousy or leadership concerns. The lack of distractions (including the receiver's mannerisms) allow the speaker say more and with greater clarity.
Use the Breakthrough Trek as an opportunity to build the team away from the office. Share ideas or engage in tough discussions while breathing fresh air and stimulating the senses. The time spent walking and talking translates to better relationships, heightened creativity and a productive off-site meeting.