The absolute best and surest way to teach somebody something is to provide a metaphor or in some way link the new concept to an already known concept. Teamwork can be quite abstract for individuals who have spent their lives living by such limiting beliefs as "I've got to do it myself if I want to be successful," or "It's a dog-eat-dog world."
Historical models of rugged individualism and fierce inner-corporate competition have given way to the appreciation that we are interrelated and that each of us effects the ability of the whole to thrive and grow. Such understanding has paved the way for organizations to recognize the need for teamwork-within departments, within projects, and within an entire organization.
The challenge remains-how to retrain the mind to think "team" instead of "me." This is where a low ropes course is worth its weight in gold! A low ropes course is a set of experiential activities designed so that the whole group must work together-communicating, trusting, supporting one another, thinking creatively, planning, and following through-in order to succeed. Low ropes activities are fun and typically non-threatening. People of all ages and abilities can participate equally.
Skilled facilitation following each activity is what supports the lessons of teamwork. After completing an activity the whole group has a shared experience of what it means to work as a team; they have the experience and the knowledge of what worked and what did not. During the debrief, carefully crafted questions lead participants to fully understand the impact of their learning. They are encouraged to draw parallels to the workplace and make the connections directly to their relationships with colleagues.
An example might help.
A ropes course is an experiential learning tool; people learn body, mind, and spirit. They get the lessons at the cellular level, which is what is needed if true change in behavior is needed. Skilled debriefing helps group members reflect on their previous limiting beliefs and see how teamwork can support their dreams and aspirations.
Traditional ropes courses are found in the woods, they consist of cables and beams strung between trees or telephone poles. Teams travel to these stationary sites for their ropes course experience. There are also professional portable ropes courses, which offer all of the same benefits with the added bonus that these courses can be done anywhere, anytime. Professional train-the-trainer programs are offered so that you can learn to facilitate your own portable ropes course or programs can be structured for your organization by skilled adventure facilitators.