Outdoor Team Building Worth It?

Recently while searching the Internet on team building articles, I came across this blog posting by a woman who calls herself “Team Doc” who says she has been working with teams for years improving leadership. She wrote, “For identifying specific leadership traits, I think an outdoor team building activity is a poor method. I?m a strong leader and do lead in outdoor activities, but I?m not athletic and would probably not demonstrate what someone was looking for.”

As the owner of the largest Team Building and Outdoor Challenge Course Company in the Washington DC Metro area, I wanted to offer my comments on this topic.
First I would like to say that outdoor team building activities like climbing tower
does NOT require athletic ability. It’s all about being willing to do something that may not be on the top of your list and also gaining the support of your team for encouragement.

UEI encourages everyone to participate to the degree that they can and are comfortable with (challenge by choice). We never leave anyone out or feeling they are not part of the group team experience.

The activities nor the location of being indoors or outdoors, are not the important factor in a successful team building program.

How you approach a task as a team is the most important and sometimes the right activity and a different location can enhanced that development. Getting away from your normal environment where you always perform well, (well you should because you?ve been doing it for years) and experiencing the unknown is a key way to accelerate the learning.

Secondly team building doesn?t always have to be done outdoors because that would mean I wouldn?t work very much during the winter. We like to sequence our activities, from the apparently simple tasks, to the more mentally challenging and indeed to the upper level of the challenge course. That is not to say that everyone goes to the high challenges in a day or even at all. Something to consider would be an indoor activity like an escape room. Lockdown Escape Rooms offer team building san diego and has proved to be a more exciting activity over the likes of sack races, trust falls and drum circles… With movie-quality sets, immersive story lines and fun puzzles, this truly will be an unforgettable team building experience for all employees.

The apparently simple tasks need to have the goals defined as do the more complicated ones. Communication and trust with the support of the team has to develop before any ideas on the solution to the problem can even go beyond the proverbial drawing board. ?Leadership will develop in due course and it may stem from different and unexpected sources. The trend is to role play within the team in a position that the individual sees themselves in. The point is that most people in our team building environment end up falling into a natural role that both suits them and the nature of the task. This role, however, is not always what is expected from themselves or their team members.

Through simple tasks we set a pattern for problem solving and getting the job done. Upward Enterprises assesses the team goals, helps the group identify resources to achieve those goals then watches as the group puts in place the best person available for a particular task ensuring the learning that goes with such a task is carried forwards outside of the team building exercise and into every day practice.? Whatever type of group you might be, youth to adult, we strive to have everyone who leaves our team building program with that ?ah ha?? moment where they see the synergy and the power of group dynamics.

I would like your comments and please do not hesitate if you want to discuss further.


  1. Karen Highland on June 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I recently participated in a team building event at your Buckeystown location. There were 12 of us from a real estate office. I thought it was well worth it. I learned a little about myself and about other people in the office, a little more about their personalities and communication styles. I think everyone came away with something to help us work together better. And the zip line and big swing was like icing on the cake for this adrenalin junkie!! Loved the big swing:)