Teambuilding: Cows, Maps, and Collaboration

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October 9, 2012 by ramidaniel

By Rami Daniel, MSc in Management Consulting 3 student

Cow Eating Map

“The cow ate the map!” is not something you would usually hear, but in our case during the hike in Le Sappey en Charteuse, it was true.  The hike-orientation course was part of an exceptional teambuilding experience led by Executive Coach, consultant, and professor Eric Morel.  The MSc in Management Consulting students, along with the MSc in Strategic Marketing students rose early the morning of September 21st to catch the bus up to the village 13 kms above Grenoble at 1 000 meters altitude.  We were split into groups and one team member was handed a map which was meant to navigate us to different pole locations throughout the area.  Each pole was equipped with a stamp which we needed to use to prove that we had indeed reached the pole. The ‘navigator’ was not allowed to show the map to the other group members, but was supposed to lead the group through active communication.  Being part of a demographic in the current generation which is lacking interest in outdoor activities, we were not able to find the first couple of poles.

At that point, we met with Eric Morel, who through calm logic, illustrated to us the several reasons why we got lost.  It wasn’t that the group navigator was not accustomed to reading maps, but it was the lack of understanding of the strong and weak points of every member of the group that were not shared at the beginning of the hike.  With the leadership of Eric Morel, we changed  roles and I became navigator. At first, we were doing well until somehow we ended up having lunch with a herd of cows, who were somewhat too friendly, in an area off the charted course.  One cow enjoyed our cookies, while the other enjoyed eating the map.  Eventually, we found our way back to original meeting point.  This experience showed us all the importance of earnest and open communication when working in a group.   Focusing on each member’s strong points, being clear on our weak points, knowing when to ask for help, and collaborating across teams to gain additional skills were just some of the lessons we learned from our approach to this activity.  We learned that by taking on too much responsibility, regardless of our intentions, we may indeed harm the overall performance of the team.  These key takeaway points are essential to any group activity that we undertake, whether it be in our professional careers or in our social lives.


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A blog by Grenoble Graduate School of Business students.

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October 2012
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