Company mergers can be a tense time for employees. Job uncertainty, management shake-ups and impending moves add to the stress of the normal workflow.
Some people would say it is the worst time to have workers take part in a company-wide day of competition; people are in bad moods, stressed out about their future, and eyeing every co-worker with suspicion.
We couldn’t disagree more.
We recently hosted a Boulder Amazing Race event for Biomet, which is currently undergoing a merger, with headquarters in New Jersey and Colorado and workers from places spanning the country, from Florida to Minnesota and beyond.
Eighty people came out to run around downtown Boulder, solving challenges and learning about the culture and history of the town.
The 14 teams were broken up by divisions; IT, finance, operations, communications, etc., meaning that some team members lived and worked on opposite ends of the country and had never met.
This event was the first of many times the teams would be working together once the merger is complete. Only hours after meeting each other for the first time, we threw them into some intense challenges that required plenty of communication and cooperation and some physical touch.
Walking the slackline was pretty near impossible without having a hand on your teammate’s shoulder. And moving bodies through the spider web involves complete and utter trust in your comrades, surrendering your physical safety into their hands.
Given this serious level of interaction, we were a little worried about how comfortable complete strangers — some of whom could be taking their jobs in the future — would be working with one another.
We shouldn’t have worried.
These people came out ready to go, with positive attitudes and lots of enthusiasm. We had so many great teams that we had to give out multiple prizes: Most Creative (for some very interesting pictures with the elk on Pearl Street Mall); Most Outrageous (for some very inappropriate pictures with the elk on Pearl Street Mall); Most Community spirit (for the group that rented bikes from University Cycles, therefore infusing the most cash into the local economy); and the overall winners, who completed all the tasks, revisited most sites more than once and solved all the bonus clues.
Instead of being competitive with one another — which you would understand given the nature of a merger — they were all about having fun and enjoying Boulder.
One group decided to take it slow, stopping to sample local food and beer at Mustard’s Last Stand.
Another fought the cold by purchasing animal-themed hats, no doubt inspired by one of our challenges; to draw in sidewalk chalk your team’s spirit animal.
When you really think about it, a merger is the perfect time for an event like this. Put people together for fun problem-solving, and that’s exactly what you get: Teams working together to solve problems and enjoying themselves while doing it. That sets them up for success in the future, when there’s more at stake than the title of Most Outrageous team.
You know what they say; those that play together, stay together.
Is your company going through some rough times? Want to promote teamwork and creative problem solving? Book your next team-building event by calling 720-242-9828 or sending us a message @COwildrideguide or on Facebook.