Last week, we discussed the four elements that make up a team: The Group Leader, Individual Contributions, Mutual Purpose and Outcome, and Cohesion.
This week we break down how traveling together builds teams and how we can help you become the creative and mindful group leader you’ve always desired to be.
Let’s continue our discussion on cohesion. It’s needed to bond a group, but where does it come from? It springs from the passion we share for a certain activity, mission, or cause; this bonds the group together.
The act of doing the activity you love, or working for the cause you care about creates the cohesion needed for a highly functional team. This comes from working, playing, or socializing together often, and understanding each person’s strengths and weaknesses thus knowing how each person will contribute to the team.
For a business, a path to team building would include socializing regularly together outside of work. Social interaction is necessary to get to know teammates on a more personal level. Understanding what motivates an individual at work involves knowing his or her personal interests and concerns.
Social interaction begins to build another level of trust between team members outside of work. A next step for a business may be an offsite work day. Taking the team away from the daily workplace can spark inspiration, enhance collaboration, and increase efficiency as you hunker down and accomplish the task at hand.
How can a business or group take its team building to an even higher level? How do you create even more cohesion? You can achieve this by taking the team out of its normal environment and applying just a little bit of intensity and expectancy.
Military units stress their teams with extensive training exercises prior to a deployment. The intent is to force the group to rely on each other for accomplishments of daily (often dangerous) tasks, thus tightening the bonds between individuals, bringing the group closer, and building the trust needed to deploy a team to a combat zone.
We’re suggesting a much gentler and fun version of this removal from the everyday environment by traveling together. Though not by any means a military deployment, travel to new places can cause anxiety for several people. Unfamiliar surroundings and language can discourage people from going to explore a new country.
But what if you went with your team or group? What if your strength for adapting to new environments and routines complimented your golf or business partner’s tendency towards anxiety in these situations?
He or she would become stronger as an individual from your support, and the bond between you would strengthen from the trust built upon the shared experience. These types of interactions happen between multiple people on different occasions in a single group on one trip. You’ve created cohesion.
The group returns home and is much stronger than if they had never traveled together. An annual trip with your team is a fun way to build and maintain relationships and see the world.
These trips do not have to be far away or that long. But we will say that the farther you get away from a person’s comfort zone, the greater the opportunity for personal and team growth.
So how specifically can we help you build your team for your group retreat or vacation? In addition to our expertise in mindfulness and planning group travel, we have extensive knowledge and experience in creative coaching and leadership.
Through our retreat design process, we can help you tap into your inner creator that’s bursting at the seams with delicious and rich content to share with your followers. We’ll help you discover your individual leadership style and how to maximize your strengths to inspire others. Together we’ll create an adventure of a lifetime for you and your group.
There are many ways to build relationships and build teams. We of course love travel as a creative and fun way to do this. Why travel? Before I get into that, let me explain what we mean by team.
Coming from an Army background, the 3-4 person fireteam is the foundation upon which all other teams build. They continue to increase in size and serve many functions.
In the civilian world, there are sports teams, corporate and small business teams, and in fact any group of people that socialize, or function together in some way has the potential to be a team.
Families can be teams, church groups, neighborhood friends, college fraternities or sororities, running clubs, golf clubs, or any type of club for that matter. If a team has to be a group of people, what makes that group of people a team? For not every group of people operates as a team.
Each team must at least have these four elements; cohesion, a mutual purpose and outcome, individual contributions, and a leader.
1. The Leader.
Each group must have an identified leader. You’ve heard the old saying of “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” A team will remain stagnant if there is not a dedicated decision maker that the group trusts and is willing to follow.
Sometimes the group chooses the leader and all agree; other times there is no choice, but regardless of personal opinions, someone must rise up to lead.
2. Individual Contributions.
Secondly, each individual must contribute something unique and of value to the group. Often people may not know what their unique contribution should be. One of my mentor’s, Meredith Hill, says “you have to identify your brilliance.”
In many cases, it may be up to the leader to pull a person’s brilliance out of him or her. But, somehow each group member must contribute and know that he or she is of value to the team as it accomplishes its objective.
3. Mutual Purpose and Outcome.
This leads to the next element; the team must have a mutual purpose and outcome towards which they are working. Otherwise why have a group in the first place?
The purpose need not be complicated; perhaps it’s just to get together while tasting and enjoying new wines. The outcome of the wine club may be simply that the group learns about new vintages each week or month and has fun. Outcomes can change, but this is why the team exists.
The individual needs the team to accomplish what he (or she) cannot do by himself. She needs the person next to her to achieve a task of which she is passionate.
We achieve more together.
An Olympic runner in an individual event has a team behind her in coaches, trainers, nutritionists, doctors, sponsors, and friends and family. No one achieves greatness alone.
The final and most difficult element required is group cohesion. How on earth do you achieve that? You cannot appoint cohesion like you can a leader. You cannot create cohesion as an individual, and you cannot achieve your mutual purpose and outcome without it.
It can seem like this abstract concept that must occur somehow. But, is it really abstract? What bonds you to another person? If you play tennis, you’ll gravitate towards others who play tennis. The same holds true for many hobbies and often we also become friends as well.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where I’ll discuss how travel builds teams and how we specifically can help you become the creative and mindful leader you desire to be to build your team and travel with your group.
By Benefsheh Verell, CEO
There are two ways to travel. One way is just like you’d expect; the other type of travel you can do without moving a muscle.
Let’s talk about the traditional way first as this is after all our specialty. Yes, I’m talking about going on vacation. Have you thought about what you want to do this summer or for the holiday season? Not sure? We can help you discover new adventures.
Have you ever considered traveling to an unfamiliar country alone? Solo travel is nothing new, but many people feel intimidated by the prospect of navigating unfamiliar territory and languages by themselves.
Did you know there are companies in the travel industry that specialize in taking care of people who want to explore on their own? We have the partnerships, the means, and the intuition to design a travel experience you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Is there a special group you’d like to take on an adventure? Perhaps your book club would like to walk the highlands of Scotland traveling back in time to Outlander days. Or, maybe your passion is hiking and you’ve always dreamed of conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro or trekking in Patagonia.
Whatever your passions, we can cultivate your desires into the journey of your dreams for both you and your friends, family, clients, employees, or coworkers.
But, wait! You’re thinking “she said I could travel without moving, how is that possible?”
Through the power of your mind. We are a mindful travel company, and I would be remiss if I didn’t stress the importance and effectiveness of visualization and meditation.
Studies have shown that when people who mentally rehearsed an exercise (such as playing the piano or bicep curls) were compared with those who actually did the exercise, physiologically the body changed almost as much as those who physically performed the exercise. (notes 1,2)
This is why athletes that visualize their desired experience ahead of time do so well during the actual event. It has already happened for them. So, you can essentially take 10-15 minutes to visualize where you’d like to go on vacation.
Think about what the landscape looks like, how the weather will be, the sounds you might hear, and the smells in the air. Think about what you would do and see, where you would walk or drive each day.
Most importantly, allow yourself to feel emotionally what you would feel as if you were actually on the trip. Would you feel joy, gratitude, peace, love, relief? Allow your body to experience these emotions.
Pretty cool, huh? You can travel to Hawaii today and Greece tomorrow. Not bad for never leaving your chair.
1. Cohen, Philip, “Mental gymnastics increase bicep strength.” New Scientist (21 November 2001).
2. Yue, G., and K.J. Cole, “Strength increases from the motor program: comparison of training with maximal voluntary and imagined muscle contractions.” Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 67(5): 1114-1123 (1992).
I’ve been contemplating lately how to be more present when all I want is for this windy, gray, and cold weather to go away. The last vestiges of winter are holding on here in PA and on the east coast and I’m done with it.
If you’re feeling the same way due to living in a similar climate, there are three changes you can make to break out of a weather induced mental rut.
1. Change Your Environment.
If you have the time and the means, then a short (or long) trip to someplace sunny and warm is an all time favorite to lift the spirits. This is where we can help you; by planning your trip and recommending locations and activities geared towards your desires and needs.
Even if a trip isn’t in your immediate future, taking a bath, lighting candles or incense, and playing music may change the scenery enough to where your thoughts and emotions shift.
2. Change Your Thinking.
It doesn’t cost a thing, but is arguably the hardest of the three changes. Why is that? According to Dr. Joe Dispenza in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, changing your thoughts without also changing the way you feel in your body doesn’t produce as effective results when trying to transform mental stagnation. Both the mind and body must work together; the mind thinking the thoughts and the body feeling the emotion.
Watching a funny movie, reading an engaging novel, or listening to a guided meditation like iRest or the kind you can find on Insight Timer are all quick and free ways to put you in the higher energy emotions such as joy, love, and gratitude. These activities will get your thoughts and emotions working together and on the route to improving your overall well being.
3. Change Your Body.
If the above seems too challenging or your body doesn’t want to sit still, you can change the feelings in the body using activity which will ultimately change your thoughts.
Exercise is a classic producer of endorphins, making the body feel pleasurable and in turn helping to produce more joyful thoughts. In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek talks about how performing an act of kindness for someone or something releases the chemical oxytocin and will make you feel good as well.
People watching you perform the act of kindness also release oxytocin in their bodies; so you really would be spreading joy! Also, the act of touch - getting a long hug or receiving a massage will release oxytocin.
Contact us for a trip design consultation call and sign up for our newsletter for more great tips on both travel and mindfulness.
Contributed by: Benef Verell, CEO
How often do you use all your hard earned vacation time for the year?
Have you ever lost vacation days simply because you didn’t have the time to research and plan your trip? Or perhaps you found the task overwhelming and put it off until the last minute and now cannot get the time off work.
A recent report entitled “The Power of Vacation Planning” listed the top three barriers to planning as lack of certainty in personal schedules, uncertainty in work schedules, and coordinating children’s schedules.
Lots and lots of schedules to consider.
However, not using your vacation days means you are losing your benefits and risk possible burn-out from not taking time off.
Sometimes the personal schedules just don’t line up until you are within that six week window. Rather than stress yourself out trying to plan at the last minute, hire a travel professional that can do the research for you and has access to a vast network of experts within the travel industry.
This is why we exist; we take that worry off your to-do list.
If you do plan in advance, the study found that managers appreciated knowing up to a year in advance of employee vacation plans and found those workers to be quite responsible.
Managers are more willing to approve requests when they know who will be gone and can balance workloads.
Planning a year out is also advantageous for us, your travel consultants, as we have more leverage to get you exactly what you want at a better value than if you book within the six week window.
Life being the way it is, unpredictable, we always recommend you get travel insurance in conjunction with booking your trip so that you are covered for unforeseen emergencies, schedule changes, or trip interruptions.
Ready to use those vacation days? Contact us to begin planning your trip.