Am not a fan of some of the techniques used by facilitators or group leaders for things like team building or enhancing management cohesion or improving team communication or relationship rescues or whatever name one wants to put on such activities. Sometimes these events are an excuse to take an afternoon or even a whole day off of work in order to attend “a workshop”. For others there can be weekend or even week long “management retreats” wherein participants are supposed to learn to bond with their team mates who are also forced to undergo the ordeal.
One of the main reasons I dislike this kind of activity is that I don’t feel they go far enough. People take these events as some kind of paid vacations in addition to not really participating whole heartedly. These kinds of soft skills, such as listening and sensitivity training, are quickly forgotten when the workshop or retreat is over. They are therefore a waste of an organization’s staff development budget.
With the aim of improving workplace situations to the maximal extent, and really wringing value out of these group experiences, I’ve decided to design my own unforgettable experiences to be used in any group situation. They can also be adapted to many Buddhist sanghas to build community cohesion since some already offer workshops and the like using techniques, funds and practices from such luminaries as Genpo, Frederick Lenz and that Holodeck…oh wait, no I mean Holosync guy.
If you find the thought “That’s just WRONG.” going through your head while participating or even reading the descriptions, I highly recommend you do some work to confront your shadow aspects since there’s obviously some kind of inhibitory mechanism in play within the psyches of those who would not unquestioningly, whole-heartedly and enthusiastically participate. “Don’t be a Negative Nancy!” has to be the mind set if you really want to benefit.
These techniques can be used individually, but for the best results they should be combined into one 12 day locked down retreat experience. Your best source of facilitators may be in the back pages of any local free newspaper. Look under the heading Adult Services–Domination or at ads which contain photos in which the facilitators are wearing leather undergarments and high heeled boots. If they have their own facilities which can be rented to your group so much the better. Perhaps you can arrange a package discount.
Extreme Trust Circle
The most troublesome members of your team, as determined by the three most recent performance reviews, are generally those who receive the least attention. That is why they persist in slacking off, mouthing off, irritating their co-workers and generally reducing productivity as well as alienating customers.
Desire for attention may be based in the individual’s trust issues. Or it may not. This is not about psychoanalysis but about finding the quickest way to solve your organization’s interpersonal problems. In any case trust is something everybody has a problem with, so it can’t hurt to give it a try right?
Those marked for special attention are surrounded by the rest of their team members, who hold loaded weapons aimed at them, with the safety off. The heat is then turned up in the room [this can also be done in a desert setting] until everybody sweats profusely. Sweaty hands and loaded weapons are a superb recipe for breakthrough trust experiences.
Although the occasional case of manslaughter has occurred that should not deter the determined human resources professional from their resolve to make their organization the best.
Improved Listening Skills
Especially effective for the shy members of your team, this marvelous portable device will insure they are never ignored again.
When coupled with the listener’s portion of the equipment, staff meetings are sure to raise the roof and bring a new level of alertness to your crew rather than put everyone to sleep.
This can also be set up in the home or office provided all other furniture has been moved out of the room and glass surfaces, including windows have been boarded up to prevent glass shrapnel in the event that decibelage becomes extreme.
Connecting with Nature
There’s nothing messier than nature. Nature needs all the help we can give her to get things in order.
Mountain vacuuming is the ultimate mindfulness exercise and is sure to be appreciated by hikers, park rangers and the general public.
Your staff will enjoy breathing the freshly vacuumed grass when they complete the task [if they complete it] and those with pollen allergies will be particularly relieved.
Should rain be in the forecast mops and buckets are preferable as vacuums do short out when rain enters their electrical mechanism. This is particularly uncomfortable to the staff member who might need to be resuscitated in order to continue the task.
Family Trust Workshop [in Which Children Play with So-called Inappropriate Objects]
In the good old days people trusted their children far more than they do today. The youngsters presently want all the entitlement of childhood without any of the risk or responsibility and parents are far too eager to provide that.
For example what parent would deny their child the pleasure of their own atomic energy lab? The miracles of science could be right there in their hands. Selfishly, parents are denying these little Einsteins the joy of discovering how to make glow in the dark pets or perhaps even their own micro-fission generators, which would certainly help out with the power bills. Who doesn’t want their own personal reactor?
Unfortunately, due to overzealous government agencies, the availability of radioactive material has been severely restricted so we must turn to less high-tech scenarios in order to develop that long lost trust in children’s own judgment.
We are at a crucial point with young people today. Autonomous decision making needs to be encouraged in children.
Children and carpentry equipment are a natural match. Children are naturally drawn to shiny, sharp things particularly if those things can be used to deconstruct other material objects.
This exercise is far more for the benefit of parents than children. Parents are tasked with silently observing various deconstruction methodologies employed by their children in assorted uncontrolled environments such as the home, school or shopping malls.
Pictured is the manual carpentry tool portion of the program. This child proceeded to slice the chair apart with great aplomb and this was greatly beneficial to his self esteem as well as social status among other children who lacked that level of trust imparted from their parents. Children should be encouraged to use power tools, particularly such items a welding torches, jackhammers and small bulldozers as soon as they can either lift them or manipulate the controls. They should be taught the use of wooden matches as soon as they can strike it on the edge of their first teeth.
The earlier one embarks upon trusting their child the better it is. Even the Gillette razor company was cognizant of that fact in their early ads. Babies love razors. It’s very easy to observe in the no doubt truthful advertisement that company put out many years ago.
So parents need to relinquish all their fear based control issues and trust that their children will have inherited some iota of what they carry in their own DNA. To distrust your child is, in effect, to distrust yourself.
Think about that for a minute.
Relationship Communication Enhancement
This particular exercise requires a certain amount of pre-planning since building a Wall of Death in the parking lot is no afternoon’s picnic. It can however be a pleasant prelude to the main event.
Partners are placed on a motorcycle or other suitable vehicle and in the sidecar to be chased by a gun wielding assailant at high speed. Partners are forced to communicate their feelings with increasing speed as the angle of the incline increases with the vehicles velocity. Optimum speed is 12o kph, which, when tested, seems to elicit communicative utterances that are so rapid they sound like one loud long wail. Upon completion the partners change seats and repeat the exercise.
The type of equipment pictured on the left is not appropriate for this exercise as it lacks sufficient speed and causes a great deal of giggling. When we tried it at the lab, we also found one couple had hidden themselves in the sidecar portion for some carnal indulgence while we were called away with “Wall of Death” structural problems, so that’s another reason to consider your choice of equipment carefully.
I do hope you benefit greatly from these small contributions of mine to the fields of personal growth, management team building and psychology. Please let me know how these work out for you by way of comments below or at my email address. Should you wish to serve me a summons for some kind of liability regarding reckless endangerment please use the gmail address “nobodyhome”.
Notes of thanks: I have to thank Duff McDuffee for the inspiration. I have taken some things to their obvious conclusions as he recommended in his post Lifehacking as Testing the Limits as well as certain Facebook comments.
Let’s stress test our communities, break our favorite techniques to make them better, imagine what would happen if we took everything to its logical conclusion. Don’t wait until it breaks on it’s own. We learn by breaking stuff, so break early, break often.
OH! I mistook the part about logical for obvious. I’m just so unmindful sometimes. I shall have to design a new reading comprehension course for myself. Maybe somebody on Craig’s list can assist me.
Stanley Milgram also was influential here but I’m not quite sure how.