We all know driving days are insane amounts of fun. But what do your employees actually learn when putting the pedal to the metal? We thought we'd take a look under the hood and find out what makes a team building activity run sweetly.
Building trust is deeply important, and nothing does it better than a bit of blindfold driving. Stick a team member in the hot seat, strap on those eye-masks and get the rest of the crew to guide them through an obstacle course!
Business thinkers reckon trust is the key ingredient in collaboration. You can't truly delegate, or let others take on elements of a project, if you don't believe they'll deliver. Once you've been in the driving seat of a 4x4, with your compadres making every turn on your behalf, you'll never question their trustworthiness again!
Best driving activities for trust: Blindfold driving, Powerturns
Problems come in all shapes and sizes - like Powerturns, awesomely powerful rear-wheel drive monsters with no steering wheel or pedals! Working out how to get one going in a straight line is only half the fun. Once you understand that the two joysticks control separate throttles for engines independently driving the back wheels, the effectiveness of the activity really begins to kick in.
To get a Powerturn to do what you want, its two occupants have to work together to find the right combination of forward and backwards thrust. To turn in a circle, for example, one driver needs to push the throttle all the way forwards, while the other pulls hers fully back. Navigating an obstacle course complete with slaloms and turns becomes much more than just a driving exercise: it's a crash course in communication, thinking creatively and trusting your co-driver.
Best activities for problem solving: Powerturns, reverse steer driving
It doesn't matter whether a member of your team is trying to engage a collaborator or a meeting room, a client or a new business partner - communication skills are what she needs. The key to effective communication is impact, which is broadly defined as the ability to get information across with clarity and concision. Hit your listeners with a short, arresting presentation, speech or idea and they're much more likely to sit up and take notice.
In the passenger seat of an off road vehicle, with the driver blindfolded and the truck about to end up in a ditch, you've got no choice. Concision, precision and decision are all that stand between your team and a completely different kind of impact - that of bumper and front wheels against a massive, muddy berm!
Or imagine this. You're sitting in a golf cart with a partner. Your job: to get her to drive the vehicle around an obstacle course. The only problem is the steering has been reversed, so when she steers left the cart goes right. Trying to get your head around giving back to front directions is a masterclass in communication skills!
Best activities for communication: Powerturns, reverse steer driving, blindfold driving
Building a team takes more than a few plates of biscuits. Get them out of the boardroom and into the mud, and you'll learn everything you need to know about the individuals inside the suits!
Most driving activities can be tweaked to address teamwork specifically. Set up a Grand Prix style endurance race or time trial event to get the team pulling together to achieve a common goal. Introduce your workforce to machines they've never driven to encourage listening and learning.
Off road driving is particularly well suited to team building. While some of your crew may have dabbled in karting before, fewer are likely to have burned rubber in the dirt. To be cast in a new light, all you have to do is get muddy…
Best activities for teamwork: any driving activity
Healthy competition is a key ingredient of profitable behaviour in the workplace. And it isn't just about giving your employees a chance to beat each other hollow. Sometimes, just conquering an activity is empowering.
Personal growth and outstanding performance are two ends of the same spectrum. Can you remember being afraid to answer the phone on your first day in your first ever job? Give your overall sense of self-belief a boost - say by smashing high-powered Rage buggies round a dirt track - and you can do anything. Vroom.
Best driving activities for competition and confidence: Rage buggies, Powerturns