Author: Doug Ramsay
Doug handles the marketing and web presence for Adventure Associates. If he's not geeking-out with the latest, greatest web marketing tools, then you'll find him swirling and sipping his way through wine country.

The Importance of Psychological Safety in the Workplace and How To Achieve It

Psychological safety at work

Have you ever had a job where you were too terrified of the boss to ask questions? I think most of us have. I remember a job I had wherein my boss assigned me a project focused on using a new technology on a very tight deadline – when I expressed my concern about being able to both learn and produce the end product on time and in a quality way, his flush-faced response was essentially, damn it, what am I paying you for? This is your responsibility to figure out! Not exactly a reassuring response to a fresh-faced college

Corporate Culture, Creativity, and Rule-Bending: How Team Building Can Be a Revealing Exercise

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, team building activities can be an excellent forum for practicing group behaviors and establishing group norms. The activity itself can act as a sort of microcosm in which behaviors can be viewed in full relief and addressed accordingly. One interesting phenomenon that crops up from time to time, are groups that seem to have a loose relationship with the rules. While a little rule bending now and then might not be cause for concern, amidst the rash of recent – and very public – ethical failings in companies such as Uber, VW, and Zenefits,

Top Reasons Why Team Building is Important

A lot of managers wonder to themselves about the actual benefits of team building. Barring a few misconceptions about team building, most know that it will be a fun time, but is there something more? If you haven’t participated in a professionally facilitated program, it makes sense that you might be a bit skeptical — and honestly, in this metrics-driven world, it’s tempting to think of the merits of team building activities in measurable ROI. However, I’d ask you to suspend this mentality for a moment and instead think of things that are less tangible but still beneficial: heightened goodwill,

Why You Should Question Assumptions with Your Team

Assumptions are a natural part of life. Despite the negative connotation they often convey — like stereotypes — their purpose is to provide a shortcut to understanding. This can actually be a good thing in many cases, especially when we need to rapidly assimilate information. However, as you probably well know, there can be downsides. Assumptions that are never questioned can lead to serious dysfunction. Organizations often run on a slew of different assumptions that end up being passed down from one employee to another, either explicitly or more indirectly. You’d think more people would ask, “Wait, why do we

Maintenance is Critical for Your Team’s Professional Development

What do fitness bootcamps and Tony Robbins-esque motivational weekends both have in common? Besides, of course, the fact that both give you a metaphorical high – leaving you eager and enthusiastic to change yourself – it’s the fact that their effects can quickly wear off. Kind of like the luster of our New Year’s resolutions, which are lucky to survive all thirty-one days of January. (P.S. – Only 8% of resolutions are kept.) Look, it’s not anyone’s fault, it’s something endemic with to the human species. If we don’t make things a regular practice, they’re bound to fade to the

Get Your Team Outside for a Multitude of Benefits

get your team outside for many benefits

Thoreau may have been onto something with his classic treatise on outdoor life, Walden: getting outdoors is good for us! Here at Adventure Associates, we’ve long known and seen the benefits of facilitating programs in nature. It can do wonders for the mind and for the collective energy of a group. It’s for this very reason that we offer so many outdoor team building options. But while we might anecdotally “feel” like the great outdoors are is good for us, is there any harder evidence for this? As a matter of fact, there is. Increased Creativity Studies like this one

Using Team Building to Explore Design Thinking

In our last post, we discussed one of business’s current buzzwords, design thinking. This is a process of problem-solving developed in the design world which takes an approach focusing on the end-user, with an emphasis on prototyping and testing. It’s a really effective way of looking at problems and devising solutions that might have otherwise been outside of your realm of thinking. Undertaking a new process for anything in business can feel like a risky proposition. When we are dealing with real-world deadlines and the pressures of keeping clients, both internal and external, happy, it can be hard to experiment

What is Design Thinking?

There are a lot of big, hairy problems out there in the world, and for folks in business, it’s often your job to figure out a solution. But is your process for coming up with this solution an effective one? Do you even have a process? If you’re like many of us, you don’t actually have a set procedure for figuring out solutions to difficult problems. For the most part, we just sit down with some peers and try to come up with a few ideas—perhaps by having a brainstorming session. Eventually, we try to get to some sort of

The Leader’s Role in Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Last week we examined Tuckman’s highly influential Stages of Group Development, which include Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Each stage marks a progression within the group – the way group members interact and function as a whole. Below you’ll find basic explanations of the stages (for more detailed descriptions, check out this post): Forming: The group is coming together for the first time and members are being polite, while also sizing each other up. There’s little unity and potentially limited buy-in to the group’s goals. Storming: Members reveal their true opinions and conflict arises between members and leadership. Norming: People

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Only in the movies do groups come together and magically coalesce as if they were long lost soulmates, destined to come together for the greater good. In reality, things are often a bit less smooth. In most cases, teams go through a definable set of stages—something that Psychologist and professor Bruce Tuckman identified and developed a model for back in 1963. Tuckman’s “stages of group development” (sometimes referred to as “team” development) progress through the following phases: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Understanding the steps along the way can be helpful in speeding up the process since you’ll know what

The Leader’s Role in Change Management

Change is difficult for most people as it is something that can bring about feelings of uncertainty and doubt, especially in a corporate environment where people’s livelihoods are affected. A good leader recognizes this and does her best to guide her people through this often troubling process. Whether it’s a merger, acquisition, change in management, product pivot, or other upheaval, the leader’s role is to manage in a way that puts people at ease. While in certain scenarios there may be specific to-dos that are a part of change management (create documentation, organize all-hands meetings, etc), below we’ll explore a

How Team Building Challenges Can Help Surface Potential

A common experience among many of our clients is that they feel surprised at getting so much more out of our team building programs than they had expected. They gain insights and experience breakthroughs that they wouldn’t have normally associated with a team building exercise. People just don’t realize the far-reaching benefits of a structured program involving fun and engaging team challenges. More than just providing a fun way to interact, get to know one another, and have a good time, they are an excellent way to surface a lot of potential in your team.

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

As we discussed in a previous blog post about emotional intelligence (EI), it basically refers to one’s ability to detect, understand, and interpret emotions – both yours and those of others – to make better choices and decisions. With studies finding that EI is a better predictor of success than IQ, it’s understandable why so many people are interested in improving their emotional intelligence. The great news is that EI is indeed malleable, and something that you can actually improve upon – unlike IQs which are pretty much fixed. Keep in mind, though, that EI is actually a catch-all for

How to Increase Creativity in Teams

Creativity can be an ethereal thing. Some of us claim to be creative, others say they’re just not creative people, whilst others say it’s something that comes and goes. Whatever your relationship is with the muse, we can all agree that thriving companies are highly reliant on the creativity of their people. Creativity is involved in so many more aspects of business than those areas traditionally thought of as creative, like advertising, spilling over into product design, innovation, and problem-solving. With this being the case, it is important to encourage and foster creativity in your company. Here are a few

Emotional Intelligence: A History and Definition

Despite the fact that the term “emotional intelligence” (EI) dates back to a 1964 paper authored by Michael Beldoch, the concept really caught the public’s attention in the last couple of decades as a result of Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence — Why it can matter more than IQ (1994). The idea that something other than raw intelligence was a better predictor of success was a compelling thought, and though the concept of this new form of “intelligence” started out somewhat amorphously in its previous incarnations, many people have sought to create a model for studying what exactly emotional