The Weekend Warrior: How American Workers Cram a Week’s Worth of Exercise into Two Days

Weekend WarriorThe average American adult employed full time works 47 hours per week, according to a Gallup poll, and four in 10 workers put in over 50 hours each week. As you can imagine, this does not leave a lot of time for exercise, leaving many workers to try and cram seven days of physical activity into the weekend.

“The best advice is to keep in mind that any amount of activity is better than none and it’s important to select exercise that is consistent with your goals,” says Brian Parr, associate professor of exercise and sports science at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. “And, if you can’t make time to exercise during the week, you can get at least some of the benefits by being a weekend warrior.”

What’s the RIGHT Amount of Exercise?

The World Health Organization recommends that adults get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise, each week. However, “Quality may be more important than quantity,” says Gary O’Donovan, a research associate at Loughborough University in England.

Weekend WarriorO’Donovan and his colleagues found that no matter how often people exercised in a week or for how long, the health benefits were similar as long as they met the certain activity guidelines – good news for Weekend Warriors.

“Even if you only have time to do something once a week, this study would suggest it’s still worth doing,” says Dr. Daniel Rader, preventive cardiology chief at the University of Pennsylvania. After all, “You are not going to fidget or stand your way to health,” adds O’Donovan. The important thing is to get up and get moving when you have the time – even if that is only for a few hours on the weekends.

“My take home message is that the greatest risk reduction and the greatest gain for the individual and for public health is if those who are physically inactive take up some activity,” says Ulf Ekelund at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo.

Making Exercise Fun!

“One of the main problems is that people associate exercise with a gym or equipment,” says Dr. Marc Tinsley. “I tell people to think ‘outside the barbell.’ Fitness isn’t about sweat, six-packs, and sex appeal; it’s about having enough energy to do your activities of daily living safely and effectively.”

The challenge course, also commonly referred to as a ropes course, is a great way to exercise without even realizing you’re exercising.

Weekend Warrior“The elements produce powerful memories and provoke deep thoughts and emotions, while challenging physical abilities,” write Brent D. Wolfe and Diane M. Samdahl.

Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! Each of our 19 traverses is designed to entertain and challenge participants. But what makes our ropes course truly unique is our continuous belay system. You only have to secure your safety line once for each level, letting you focus on your next challenge with confidence.

Terrapin Adventures also lets guests…

Fly through the air on our 330 ft. zip line!

Jump from 40 ft. off our Drop Zone element! You all experience free fall until the brake kicks in controlling your descent after the initial 6 ft.

Experience a swing on steroids on our Giant Swing with 2Gs of adrenaline!

Try all 12 routes of the Climbing Tower including down headfirst through the rainbow serpent!

Younger guests can try the integrated Terrapin Explorer with 20  different traverses and a 20 ft. rock wall

Book Now!

All adventures are led by our expertly trained Aerial Adventure Guides and Facilitators who will be there for you every step of the way.  Everything you need including harness and helmet is provided.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “Maybe that workout can wait till the weekend?” CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  2. “Turns out Americans work really hard…but some want to work harder.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  3. “Weekend exercise alone ‘has significant health benefits’” BBC News. BBC, 10 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  4. CBS/AP. “Do “weekend warriors” reap the full benefits of exercise?” CBS News. CBS Interactive, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
  5. Sample, Ian. “Weekend workouts can benefit health as much as regular exercise, say researchers.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 09 Jan. 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Leaders Are Not Born; They Are Made on the Challenge Course

Leaders Challenge CourseThere is a common saying that goes “Leaders are born, not made.” You’re probably heard it before, but we are hear to tell you that this just simply isn’t the case. There is no special genetic code that makes a great leader. It takes time. It takes commitment. And most importantly, it takes practice.

The challenge course can help.

Leaders Are Not Born

“Most folks who start out with a modicum of innate leadership capability can actually become very good, even great leaders,” says Forbes contributing writer Erika Andersen.

Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell agrees – leaders are made, not born. Successful leaders know how to communicate their mission to their subordinates and ensure they have the right tools and training to get the job done.

“Leadership is all about people…and getting the most out of people,” says Powell.

But the question is how do you first get the most out of yourself? How do you first become a good leader?

“In the same way that naturally occurring events create changes for an organization, an organization has the ability to create a team building event that contributes to a culture of dynamic leaders who naturally adapt and respond to change,” writes researcher Katherine T. Whitnah.

Leaders Are Made on the Challenge Course

“Leadership is not a personality style; it is a learned set of skills attained through development opportunities that are integrated to a lifestyle of learning,” says Whitnah.

Becoming a great leader means working to become a great leader. And the only way to do this is to put yourself in positions where you are forced to act, you are forced to make tough decisions, you are forced to lead. As American psychologist, philosopher, and educational reformer John Dewey once famously said, “there is an intimate and necessary relation between the processes of actual experience and education.” This is the basis of the challenge course (ropes course) experience.

“Data support[s] the notion that participation in a four-hour challenge course significantly increases the participants’ levels of leadership and work efficacy,” write researchers Theresa Odello, Eddie Hill, and Edwin Gómez. The team measured leadership and work efficacy levels pre-challenge course, immediately post challenge course, and six weeks after.

“Results were significant” and longlasting, say the researchers.

Learn to be a Better Leader

“There is no one-size fits all approach, answer key or formula to leadership,” says Activate Your Talent founder Katie Christy. This is why Terrapin Adventures, conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, creates customized team building programs (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) designed to meet the individual needs of organizations. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills. Let us help you grow as a leader!

“In many [team building] activities, a leader is needed to step forward to assist the group in reaching a common goal,” write Odello et al.

On a challenge course, leaders look to take a diverse group of individuals and channel their creativity and energy to a common goal. Leaders stimulate problem solving and provide opportunities for staff to support the group in different roles so that the team performs better.

“Individuals who took on leadership roles during the course had noticeable increases in their leadership efficacy scores,” write Odello et al.

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Session!

After each team building exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

“We appreciate the opportunity for this adventure. Throughout the full experience, your facilitators were professional and supportive. They allowed us to be creative and fun our own way. At the end of the day, the importance of leadership, openness, trust, and creativity among the team shined through.”

John Cave, Director Supplier Management, Boeing

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “Effective leaders made, not born, Colin Powell says.” Stanford Report. Stanford University, 30 Nov. 2005. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.
  2. Whitnah, Katherine T. A Phenomenological Inquiry: In the Context of Organizational Development, How Does Experiential Team Building in the Form of a High ROPES Course, Contribute to Positive Leadership Development, and How Can It Be Improved? Adler Graduate School. Web.
  3. Odello, Theresa, Eddie Hill, Suny Cortland, and Edwin Gomez. “Challenge Course Effectiveness: The Impact on Leadership Efficacy and Work Efficacy among College Students.” Journal of Unconventional Parks, Tourism & Recreation Research 1.1 (2008): 18-22. Web.

The Physical and Physiological Effects of Stress on American Workers

Stress WorkersA certain amount of stress and anxiety in the workplace is normal – it’s unavoidable. However, persistent and/or excessive stress and anxiety can interfere with everyday functioning, as well as employee health. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America’s (ADAA) 2006 Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey, 72 percent of people with daily stress admit that it interferes with their lives at least moderately. In the workplace, specifically, employees say stress and anxiety most often impact:

  • workplace performance (56 percent)
  • relationship with coworkers and peers (51 percent)
  • quality of work (50 percent)
  • relationships with superiors (43 percent)

83 percent of men and 72 percent for women admit that workplace stress carries over into their personal lives as well.

The Effects of Stress

On the Brain

When a person becomes stressed, their brain undergoes both chemical and physical changes. During periods of high stress, certain chemicals begin to rise in the brain, chiefly  dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This causes “fight-or-flight” hormones, like adrenalin, to be released by the adrenal glands, resulting in certain physiological effects – rapid heart rate, higher blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Stress can make it difficult to focus, make decisions, and recall information, while chronic stress has been linked to depression, anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks.

In 2007, 24.3 million adults (10.9%) in the United States suffered from some type of serious psychological distress (SPD), according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On the Body

One of the most common physical reactions to stress is the tensing of the muscles, which can lead to tension headaches, migraines, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Stress can also wreak havoc on the digestive system, directly affecting which nutrients your intestines absorb and influences how quickly food moves through your body. This can cause nausea, pain, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, acid reflux or diarrhea. Chronic stress can also lead to overeating and weight gain.

Chronic stress has also been linked to significant health risks, such as stomach ulcers, asthma, stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and even cancer.

Dealing with Stress the Best Way We Know How – On the Challenge Course!

According to researchers Tracy Hecht and Kathleen Boies, the stress relief solution you’ve been looking for could be simple: exercise. According to the pair, “sports, recreation, and fitness programs lead to less somatic complaints and higher life satisfaction,” as well as “lower absenteeism and higher job satisfaction.” Meanwhile, researchers Douglas Kleiber, Susan Hutchinson, and Richard Williams found that leisure activities play four important factors in overcoming negative life events:

  1. Leisure activities can help distract participants from negative life events.
  2. Leisure activities can provide temporary reliefby generating optimism.
  3. Leisure activities can provide a sense of control and normalcy.
  4. Leisure activities can bring motivation of attaining new goals and looking forward to the future.

In 2010, researcher Jenny Phan tested this notion with an emphasis on challenge courses and team building activities, testing the benefits of these activities on 120 subjects. The results revealed that challenge courses and team building activities “impacted the participants at an emotional and social level,” and most participants saw a noticeable increase in their “emotional and social skills.” Of the 120 participants, 79 stated that the activities had some type of an impact on their ability to overcome fear, 76 noted a positive impact on self-esteem, 104 trust, 97 confidence, 83 empathy, 75 ease of stress, and 94 noted a positive outlook on life after their afternoon on the challenge course.

“It is clear that challenge course experiences are beneficial tools for participants” and can impact “a variety of educational and psychological constructs,” write researchers Gillis and Speelman.

Reward Your Employees with a Day on the Challenge Course

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three fun-filled levels, taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! We employ a continuous belay system, and all aerial adventures are led by our uniquely trained guides who are all about making sure you stay safe while having a great time.

Reservations are suggested for all adventures to make sure you won’t have to wait too long.  

Schedule Your Adventure Today!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Dr. Isaac EliazJune 8, 2011 3:30 PM. “Why Stress Management Is So Important for Your Health.” Mindbodygreen. N.p., 08 June 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
  2. “Highlights: Workplace Stress & Anxiety Disorders Survey.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2017.
  3. Rohnke, Karl, Catherine M. Tait, Jim B. Wall, and Jim B. Wall. The Complete Ropes Course Manual. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt Pub., 1997. Print.
  4. Gillis, Lee H., and Elizabeth Speelman. “Are Challenge (Ropes) Courses an Effective Tool? A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Experiential Education 31.2 (2008): 111-35. Web.
  5. Haras, K., Bunting, C., & Witt, P. (2005). Linking outcomes with ropes course program design and delivery. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 23(2), 36.
  6. Hecht and Boies (2009). Structure and correlates of spillover from nonwork to work: An examination of nonwork activities, well-being, and work outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(4), 414-426. Retrieved on October 14, 2009 from Ebsco Host.
  7. Phan, Jenny. “The Impact of Therapeutic Recreation through Ropes Courses and Teambuilding Activities.” Diss. 2011. Abstract. Print.
  8. Kleiber, Douglas A., Susan L. Hutchinson, and Richard Williams. “Leisure as a Resource in Transcending Negative Life Events: Self-Protection, Self-Restoration, and Personal Transformation.” Leisure Sciences 24.2 (2002): 219-35. Web.

Simple Tips to Motivate Your Employees

Motivate EmployeesAccording to the Business Dictionary, motivation can be defined as “Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.” That much is pretty straight forward. What is difficult for employers is figuring out how to motivate their employees.

How to Motivate Your Team

“In about 85 percent of companies, our research finds, employees’ morale sharply declines after their first six months—and continues to deteriorate for years afterward,” writes researchers David Sirota, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer. This data is based on surveys of more than 1.2 million employees conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence at 52 primarily Fortune 1000 companies from 2001 through 2004.

So, how do you ensure your employees stay engaged and works remains at a high level? How do you keep your employees motivated? Here are a few tips:

Walk a Mile in Your Employees’ Shoes

As an employer, it is important to look at things from the employee’s perspective and realize that they are most likely not in the same place you are, whether professionally, financially, or even personally. It is important to be able to empathize with your employees. According to a 2012 study published in the Academy of Management Journal, leader humility is associated with positive outcomes. Humble leaders have more learning-oriented teams, more engaged employees, and lower turnover rates.

Communication is Important

An Ohio State University study found that “feelings of being in on things” was the seventh most important factor in motivating employees. Open and honest communication across all business levels is critically important. In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm, reported that companies which communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the Watson Wyatt noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.” Conversely, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration (just another word for communication and teamwork) for workplace failures.

Set Goals & Define Success

It all starts by setting attainable goals – expectations.

“Once a team is created and its composition is established, the next team leadership function is to define the team’s mission,” write researchers Frederick P. Morgeson, D. Scott DeRue, and Elizabeth P. Karam. “This involves determining and communicating the organization’s performance expectations for the team in such a way that they are broken down into tangible, comprehensible pieces.”

And when team members actively participate in the goal setting process, the team is more committed to team goals, achieving greater efficiency and overall performance, suggest researchers.

Show Appreciation

Overall, more than one in five (21 percent) working Americans said they do not feel valued by their employers. However, research from the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that showing your employees that they are appreciated is a simple way to boost productivity. According to the study, “Almost all employees (93 percent) who reported feeling valued said that they are motivated to do their best at work and 88 percent reported feeling engaged. This compares to just 33 percent and 38 percent, respectively, of those who said they do not feel valued.”

There are several ways to show appreciation. It could be as simple as recognizing a job well done, or it could come in the form of monetary bonuses. It could mean the potential for professional growth and work advancement, or even a more flexible work schedule (work-life balance). It is really up to you and finding a method of appreciation that resonates with your employees.

Relieve Stress

Two out of five (41 percent) employees report feeling tense or stressed out during the workday, according to the APA. The most common causes for work-related stress include:

  1. Low salaries (46 percent)
  2. Lack of opportunities for growth or advancement (41 percent)
  3. Too heavy a workload (41 percent)
  4. Long hours (37 percent)
  5. Unclear job expectations (35 percent)

In order to combat work-related stress and ensure your employees are happy and motivated to perform their best work, it is up to you to “create a healthy culture where employees and the organization can thrive,” says the APA.

“The business world is in the midst of a sea change,” says David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program. “Successful organizations have learned that high performance and sustainable results require attention to the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community.”

Furthermore, forward-thinking employers are “taking steps to create a positive organizational culture where employees feel valued and, in turn, help drive bottom-line results,” adds Ballard.

Get Out of the Office

Ballard identified five motivational activities shown to be successful time and time again. These are: volunteering, physical activity, field trips, professional development, and shared meals. Now, we can think of a single activity that hits on almost all of those points. Can you guess what we are talking about? Team building, of course!

“An entire industry has grown around corporate team-building programs, from ropes courses, wilderness programs, and paintball to ice breakers, trust exercises, and coaching sessions based on questionable personality tests,” says Ballard.

A day at Terrapin Adventures is a great way to get out of the office, get some exercise, and do something meaningful that will not only show your employees that you care, but also help motivate them to work harder and, thus, boosting productivity. It’s what we like to call a win-win!

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized team building program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our team building programs are designed to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with, challenging groups to break down communication barriers and work together to grow as a team.

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Session!

After each exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “APA Survey Finds Feeling Valued at Work Linked to Well-Being and Performance.” American Psychological Association. N.p., 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  2. Harper, Jessica. “The 5 Best Bonding Outings for Co-Workers.” U.S. News & World Report. N.p., 23 Aug. 2012. Web.
  3. Sirota, David, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer. “Why Your Employees Are Losing Motivation.” HBS Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School, 10 Apr. 2006. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.
  4. Morgeson, F. P., D. S. Derue, and E. P. Karam. “Leadership in Teams: A Functional Approach to Understanding Leadership Structures and Processes.” Journal of Management 36.1 (2009): 5-39. Web.
  5. Lindner, James. “Understanding Employee Motivation.” Journal of Extension 36.3 (1998): n. pag. Web.

How Exercise Benefits Children Physically and Mentally

Children ExerciseIs your child getting enough exercise? The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends children receive at least one hour of physical activity every day:

  • Toddlers:  30 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes of free play
  • Preschoolers: 60 minutes planned physical activity AND 60 minutes of free play
  • School-Age: One hour broken up into bouts of 15 minutes or more

“Physical activity and sports are generally promoted for their positive effect on children’s physical health,” writes Dr. Amika Singh. “There is also a growing body of literature suggesting that physical activity has beneficial effects on several mental health outcomes, including health-related quality of life and better mood states,” as well as “enhancement of brain function and cognition, thereby positively influencing academic performance.”

Tips to Help Promote Exercise

Make it Fun

“One of the main problems is that people associate exercise with a gym or equipment,” says Dr. Marc Tinsley. “I tell people to think ‘outside the barbell.’ Fitness isn’t about sweat, six-packs, and sex appeal; it’s about having enough energy to do your activities of daily living safely and effectively.”

Children ExerciseConveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures has ropes course specifically designed for children ages 5-10 – our  Terrapin Explorer kids’ course. With 22 different fun elements, the Terrapin Explorer lets kids walk, balance, swing, zip, and crawl as they get the physical activity they need.

“Once limited to corporate and camper bonding, ropes courses have recently become a walk-in-friendly option for anyone seeking a heightened exercise experience,” writes Washington Post author Vicky Hallett. “Although you must be reasonably active to be able to do such things, the idea is that the ropes courses are accessible to almost anyone who’s willing to cling and scamper. As long as you’re old enough and tall enough and can handle light exertion, you’ll survive.”

Make it a Family Affair

“Parents who exercise with their children are not only teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle, they are also reinforcing the family bonds and creating wonderful family traditions,” says Pam Howard, certified health coach and mother of two.

Children ExerciseSo make exercise a family affair. Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course for older children, teens and adults, with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! Each of our 19 traverses is designed to entertain and challenge participants. But what makes our ropes course truly unique is our continuous belay system. You only have to secure your safety line once for each level, letting you focus on your next challenge with confidence.

“The elements produce powerful memories and provoke deep thoughts and emotions, while challenging physical abilities,” write Brent D. Wolfe and Diane M. Samdahl.

Schedule Your Adventure!

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. “Kids and Exercise.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2017.
  2. Singh, Amika. “Physical Activity and Performance at School.” Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 166.1 (2012): 49. Web.
  3. Saunders, Len. “Encouraging Family Fitness & Healthy Habits.” PBS. PBS Parents, n.d. Web. 28 July 2016.
  4. Wolfe, B. D., and D. M. Samdahl. “Challenging Assumptions: Examining Fundamental Beliefs That Shape Challenge Course Programming and Research.”Journal of Experiential Education 28.1 (2005): 25-43. Web.
  5. Hallett, Vicky. “Learning the Ropes Can Teach You about Yourself.” The Washington Post. N.p., 22 July 2010. Web. 2016.

The Many Benefits of Indoor Team Building

We know that team building works (when facilitated by qualified professionals). That much is certain. Team building has a “positive moderate effect across all team outcomes,” write researchers Deborah Diazgranados, Cameron Klein, Eduardo Salas, Huy Le, C. Burke, Rebecca Lyons, and Gerald Goodwin. The uncertainty lies in those aspects which cannot be controlled, like the weather. And as much as we love our ropes course, sometimes indoor team building activities are best.Business CollaborIndoor Team Building

Why You’ll Love Indoor Team Building

Comfort

When it comes to opening up and growing as both an individual and team, comfort can mean everything. Some people are hesitant to let their guard down and open up in a strange setting. Sometimes a familiar location can work wonders, and even enhance a team building program.

The Weather

As we already mentioned, the weather is unpredictable. In fact, the only thing predictable about the weather is just how unpredictable it is. So, as the only saying goes, sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry. This is especially true during traditionally cold or rainy months. The last thing you want is for your well-planned team building event to have to be postponed because of a little rain.

Inclusion

While we always do our best to make sure everyone is included, some members of your group may not be physically able to participate in some of the events on our low ropes course. Our indoor team building programs, meanwhile, are a bit less physically strenuous. This is often a benefit to groups with older members or those with disabilities.

Perfect for Follow-Up Sessions

Indoor team building sessions can be a great way to refresh previous lessons and expand upon what it means to be a “Good Team.” After all, team building is not a one-and-done activity. It takes practice. Researcher R. Wayne Boss writes that “When team building is coupled with follow-up sessions in which team building commitments are reinforced and renewed, the positive effects of the team building are prolonged.” This is why Terrapin Adventures recommends a follow-up session every three to six months.

We Come to You!

“Team building activities should be designed, planned, executed and monitored so as to create synergy, increase skills and knowledge, create organizational flexibility, provide members satisfaction and allow members freedom to participate in decision making and implanting changes,” write researchers Jacqueline M. Omuya, David M. Kungu, Leonard S. Mulongo, and Dedan O. Ong’anya.

In order to be truly effective, team building programs should be designed and facilitated by a qualified professional. This is one of the many reasons people trust Terrapin Adventures. We have a proven track record for excellent team building programs. And, best of all, we will even come to you! As long as you have adequate space – your office, a hotel, a gymnasium, a conference center, etc. – our creative facilitators can bring our portable equipment to you.

Our off-site team building programs typically run between 2-8 hours. Below is a video of an indoor team building program we did for Under Armour.

Plan Your Indoor (or Outdoor) Team Building Program

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Ourteam building programs are designed to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with, challenging groups to break down communication barriers and work together to grow as a team.

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Session!

After each exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited

  1. Klein, C., D. Diazgranados, E. Salas, H. Le, C. S. Burke, R. Lyons, and G. F. Goodwin. “Does Team Building Work?” Small Group Research 40.2 (2009): 181-222. Web.
  2. Omuya, Jacqueline M., David M. Kungu, Leonard S. Mulongo, and Dedan O. Ong’anya. “Effects of Team Building on the Performance of Employees in Organizations towards the Realization of Millennium Development Goals: A Survey of Selected Banks in Eldoret Town.”International Journal of Current Research. Web.
  3. Boss, R. W. “Team Building and the Problem of Regression: The Personal Management Interview as an Intervention.” The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 19.1 (1983): 67-83. Web.

The Seven Characteristics of Good Teams

Team BuildingThere is no perfect team. But there is a recipe for success – many similar characteristics shared by effective teams, independent of industry or function. Throughout this blog series, we have taken a closer look at each of these characteristics, and explored why each is important. Now, we have compiled these seven characteristics in one place.

The Seven Characteristics of Good Teams

1) Clearly Defined Expectations

“Once a team is created and its composition is established, the next team leadership function is to define the team’s mission,” write researchers Frederick P. Morgeson, D. Scott DeRue, and Elizabeth P. Karam. “This involves determining and communicating the organization’s performance expectations for the team in such a way that they are broken down into tangible, comprehensible pieces.” This has several benefits.

Read more

2) The Importance of Selflessness in Teamwork

In order to truly become a good team (or even a great team), each member must put aside their own personal agendas and work toward the common goal, whatever it may be. This is what we are talking about when we say Selflessness.

“Selfishness destroys, but selflessness builds,” says Coach Scotty Kessler. This simple distinction can be the difference between success and failure for a team. And it takes just one selfish employee to drag a team down.

Read more

3) Many Opinions, One Goal

Another important aspect of any good team is individuality. You see, one can be both selfless – working as part of a team towards the common goal – and an individual. Take a soccer team, for example. Each member is unique, and was brought onboard for a specific reason. It would be pretty disastrous if every member of the team was exactly alike. After all, it’s tough to win a game with 11 goalkeepers, 11 defenders, or 11 strikers. You need a diverse group – strikers, midfielders, forwards, and, of course, a goalkeeper. Many individuals working together for a common goal.

The same is true in the business world, with one major difference. While it is true that different employees have different skillsets within a team, there is another form of individuality that is also critical to any successful team – individuality of thought.

Read more

4) Encourage Open Communication

Communication plays an important role in every aspect of business, taking many forms: written, verbal, and nonverbal. The ability to communicate clearly is critical, and yet it is something that many companies take for granted.

In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm, reported that companies which communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the Watson Wyatt noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.” Conversely, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration (just another word for communication and teamwork) for workplace failures.

Read more

5) Why Flexibility Matters

“Being flexible is a key trait of any team player,” according to America’s Job Exchange, a company specializing in online recruitment advertising and OFCCP compliance.

Nothing ever goes according to plan. As German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke once famously said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is just as true in the war room as it is the conference room. Throughout any project, there arises unexpected hurdles that must be addressed. And often the difference between success and failure is how your team adapts to those hurdles – flexibility.

Read more

6) Constructive Conflict Drives Innovation

As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the best way to grow as a team and foster creativity and innovation is through conflict – constructive conflict. This can be a difficult stage to go through, but this is also the point where real teamwork and communication begin to develop. Team members start to settle into their individual roles and learn to put aside their differences and listen to opposing viewpoints in order to solve problems as a unit.

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7) Many Voices, But One Message

American poet Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

With any team, unity or teamwork is important. It is what allows a team to run like a well-oiled machine and achieve success. As the title of this section says, “Many Voices, But One Message.” Without such unity, your team – ANY team – is doomed for failure. This is perhaps never more important than in the workplace, where you throw a group of unrelated individuals together and expect them to easily communicate and work together to achieve a common goal. In fact, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration for workplace failures. So, it is up to senior leadership to breed unity, encourage collaboration, and ensure the team works together and not against itself.

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Learning How to Become a Better Team

At Terrapin Adventures, ourteam building programs are customized to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with, challenging groups to break down communication barriers and work together to solve certain problems as a team. After each exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

 

What Makes a Good Team? Part Seven: Expectations

There is no perfect team. But there is a recipe for success – many similar characteristics shared by effective teams, independent of industry or function. Throughout this blog series, we will take a closer look at each of these characteristics, explore why each is important, and provide you with ways to instill and improve each characteristic within your own team.

Part Seven: Clearly Defined Expectations

Expectations

noun

ex·pec·ta·tion  ˈ/ˌekspekˈtāSH(ə)n/

  1. the act or state of expecting
  2. anticipating with confidence of fulfillment
  3. a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

As the old saying goes, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Similarly, in the workplace, too many leaders – too many voices – slow the process, lead to missed deadlines, unproductive behavior, errors, and ultimately failure. This is why it is so important to clearly define expectations – both individual roles and team goals.

Expectations“Once a team is created and its composition is established, the next team leadership function is to define the team’s mission,” write researchers Frederick P. Morgeson, D. Scott DeRue, and Elizabeth P. Karam. “This involves determining and communicating the organization’s performance expectations for the team in such a way that they are broken down into tangible, comprehensible pieces.” This has several benefits:

  • Identify Shortcomings: By “identifying specific outcome levels, teams can determine what resources are needed,” suggest researchers Deborah Diazgranados, Cameron Klein, Eduardo Salas, Huy Le, C. Burke, Rebecca Lyons, and Gerald Goodwin. This allows teams to determine where they are lacking in certain areas, both in terms of personnel and, perhaps more importantly, inter-personal relationships: communication, teamwork, morale, etc.
  • Easily Measure Success: Clearly defined goals and expectations allow teams to more easily measure success. Without a finish line or check points along the way, how does a team know they are on the right track?
  • Individual Motivation: On an individual level, “goal setting theory suggests that clear and challenging goals are important for directing individual action and motivating individuals to achieve performance targets,” writeEdwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham.
  • Establish Unity: American poet Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” In a case study of four virtual team leaders, researcher Anu Sivunen determined that teams with established common goals and standards for performance also had a strong common team identity.

  • Group Motivation: When team members actively participate in the goal setting process, the team is more committed to team goals, achieving greater efficiency and overall performance, suggest researchers.

Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan. As German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke once famously said, “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is just as true in the war room as it is the workplace. This is why there must also be a degree of flexibility within any good team.

“While it is important to have a clearly defined set of roles and responsibilities for each member, on the most effective teams tasks and responsibilities are not rigidly adhered to,” writes Traci Schatz. “Team members are willing to cross lines of responsibility and do something that may not be in their job description, if that is what’s required to get the job done.”

Learning How to Work as a Team

At Terrapin Adventures, our team building programs are customized to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with, challenging groups to break down communication barriers and work together to solve certain problems as a team. Each activity will tasks group members to stop, think, brainstorm solutions to complex puzzles, and express their individual opinions/solutions.

After the exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind what they just did. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited:

  1. Klein, C., D. Diazgranados, E. Salas, H. Le, C. S. Burke, R. Lyons, and G. F. Goodwin. “Does Team Building Work?” Small Group Research 40.2 (2009): 181-222. Web.
  2. Schatz, Traci. “What Makes Teamwork Effective?” Small Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.
  3. Morgeson, F. P., D. S. Derue, and E. P. Karam. “Leadership in Teams: A Functional Approach to Understanding Leadership Structures and Processes.” Journal of Management 36.1 (2009): 5-39. Web.
  4. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. 1990. A theory of goal setting & task performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  5. Sivunen, A. 2006. Strengthening identification with the team in virtual teams: The leaders’ perspective. Group Decision and Negotiation, 15: 345-366.

Tips to Follow Through with Your New Year’s Resolution

http---10.1.10.228-advpgallery.com-wp-content-uploads-2016-09-76746889‘Tis the season for…planning your New Year’s resolution. According to Forbes magazine, more than 40 percent of Americans make such resolutions, ranging from saving money to quitting smoking to the No. 1 resolution year after year, losing weight. However, just eight percent of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals, according to the University of Scranton. Why? Well, many people focus on large bucket lists or attempt extreme makeovers, which, according to most experts, is just too psychologically daunting.

Tip #1: Keep it Simple

Set “small, attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a singular, overwhelming goal,” recommends psychologist Lynn Bufka. “Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

Tip #2: Make it Tangible

“We say if you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution because vague goals beget vague resolutions,” says John Norcross of the University of Scranton. Instead, be as clear as possible. Don’t pledge to lose weight. Pledge to go to the gym or maybe even an exercise class every Tuesday night. Start small, set realistic goals, and then expand upon those goals.

Tip #3: Make it Fun

If your goal is to get healthy and ultimately lose weight, but you hate going to the gym or running on the treadmill, “think ‘outside the barbell,” advises Dr. Marc Tinsley. “Fitness isn’t about sweat, six-packs, and sex appeal; it’s about having enough energy to do your activities of daily living safely and effectively.” Get creative and have fun. Instead of going to the gym, why not challenge yourself on the challenge course?

A challenge course, sometimes called a ropes course or adventure course, involves several fun, high-flying elements, such as climbing walls, zip lines, and more, designed to entertain and challenge participants physically. These courses are usually 25 to 50 feet tall, and requiring belaying.

“The elements produce powerful memories and provoke deep thoughts and emotions, while challenging physical abilities,” write Brent D. Wolfe and Diane M. Samdahl.

Challenge courses can be a great way to exercise without even realizing you’re exercising.

“As long as you’re old enough and tall enough and can handle light exertion, you’ll survive,” writes Washington Post author Vicky Hallett. “Although you must be reasonably active to be able to do such things, the idea is that the ropes courses are accessible to almost anyone who’s willing to cling and scamper.”

Conveniently located in Howard County, Maryland, between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures features the ultimate challenge course with three levels taking you up to 40 ft. in the air! Each of our 19 traverses is designed to entertain and challenge participants, and all of our adventures are led by our expertly trained Aerial Adventure Guides and Facilitators who will be there for you every step of the way.  

What makes our ropes course truly unique is our continuous belay system. You only have to secure your safety line once for each level, letting you focus on your next challenge with confidence.

Book Now!

Everything you need including harness and helmet is provided.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited:

  1. Diamond , Dan. “Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s How They Do It.” Forbes 1 Jan. 2013: n. pag. Print.
  2. Saunders, Len. “Encouraging Family Fitness & Healthy Habits.” PBS. PBS Parents, n.d. Web. 28 July 2016.
  3. Wolfe, B. D., and D. M. Samdahl. “Challenging Assumptions: Examining Fundamental Beliefs That Shape Challenge Course Programming and Research.”Journal of Experiential Education 28.1 (2005): 25-43. Web.
  4. Hallett, Vicky. “Learning the Ropes Can Teach You about Yourself.” The Washington Post. N.p., 22 July 2010. Web. 2016.

What Makes a Good Team? Part Six: Conflict

There is no perfect team. But there is a recipe for success – many similar characteristics shared by effective teams, independent of industry or function. Throughout this blog series, we will take a closer look at each of these characteristics, explore why each is important, and provide you with ways to instill and improve each characteristic within your own team.

Part Six: Constructive Conflict Drives Innovation

Conflict

noun

con·flict  ˈ/känˌflikt/

  1. competitive or opposing action of incompatibles
  2. mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands

Team ConflictWe often think of teamwork as meaning a cohesive, well-oiled group devoid of conflict, where everyone gets along and everything runs smoothly. However, that is just not reality. Every group – every team – goes through some form of conflict as some point. It is part of the Five Stages of Team Development, known here as “Storming,” and most often occurs when a team is first formed or during the early stages of a new project as team members have different opinions and compete with one another for status and for acceptance of their ideas. “Conflict arises from the clash of perceptions, goals, or values in an arena where people care about the outcome,” says researcher Tony Alessandra. But conflict doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” Conflict can be handled in a positive and meaningful way.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the best way to grow as a team and foster creativity and innovation is through conflict – constructive conflict. This can be a difficult stage to go through, but this is also the point where real teamwork and communication begin to develop. Team members start to settle into their individual roles and learn to put aside their differences and listen to opposing viewpoints in order to solve problems as a unit.

Constructive Conflict vs. Destructive Conflict

There is such a thing as positive confrontation. While many team leaders are focussed on how to resolve conflict, strong teams use conflict as a means for open, honest communication and team growth.

  • Destructive Conflict: When two team members refuse to respect one another’s opinions. Productivity comes to a screeching halt and everyone suffers.
  • Constructive Conflict: When two team members have differing opinions, but respectfully talk through their thought processes and come to a mutual agreement that allows the team to move forward. Productivity skyrockets and the whole team benefits.

Studies show that innovation emerges from groups where conflict is welcomed rather than discouraged. In 2009, Watson Wyatt , Inc., a global consulting firm, reported that companies which communicated effectively had a 47% higher return to shareholders between 2004 and 2009. In this report, the Watson Wyatt noted that “Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders.” Conversely, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration (just another word for communication and teamwork) for workplace failures.

However, without strong leadership, conflict can tear a team apart.

“As a team leader, one must realize the paradox that surrounds conflict,” says researcher Erich Brockmann. “The team needs to embrace conflict as a means of generating and evaluating ideas. While at the same time, it must shy away from it to prevent anger, frustration, or alienation. The biggest challenge for the team leader is figuring out how to balance these two forces”

Embracing Conflict and Learning to Work Together

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

- Rollo May

Through a series of exciting and carefully designed Corporate Team Building activities, your group will find better, more effective ways to communicate and work with one another in a respectful and meaningful way. Each activity is led by one of our experienced facilitators, who will not only help guide your experience, but also tie the lessons back into the workplace. We do this during our debriefing sessions.

After the exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind what they just did. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help better your business. Our programs provide for exciting activities that bridge the gaps in communication, improve collaboration, and expand your group’s problem solving skills.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

Works Cited:

  1. Carter McNamara on April 30, 2013. “How Constructive Conflict Can Supercharge Teams – Team Building and Performance.” Team Building and Performance. N.p., 2013. Web. 09 Dec. 2016.
  2. Alessandra, Tony Ph.D. & Hunsaker, Phil Ph.D. (1993) Communicating at Work. New York: Fireside Publishers.
  3. Brockmann, Erich. (1996, May). Removing the paradox of conflict from group decisions. Academy of Management Executive. v10n2, p. 61-62.