“How do you feel about walking in the wilderness, Kaisa?” asked Henn casually one morning from me. “Ugh, I’m not really a camper-type” was all that I had as an answer. Turns out that I’m in the minority that isn’t that fascinated about hiking in this group of merry Fleepers that celebrated their initial launch with a hike in Lapland last year.
Great startup teams spend time together, lots and lots of it. Since our team is distributed across two cities it’s quite an exception to have people physically in one place doing something together. So, no surprise, a few weeks back we celebrated our first Spring Retreat hiking in the woods finding treasures using GPS devices. It was a nice gesture from Henn to consider me not being overly enthusiastic about running around aimlessly in the woods and to incorporate a more interesting goal into this whole get-together.
It all started early morning with a muddy ride to Leppoja Puhkekeskus, a wonderful getaway place in the middle of a forest. Fresh air, lovely weather and the best team of 12 coming together. What could possibly go wrong?
Turns out, quite a lot – some of us were late, some of got lost on the way, some of us forgot the right clothing, but in the end everything got a solution. Henn, our experiences camper, had made sure everyone has the right boots and clothing to enjoy an afternoon wondering around in the wilderness. After all, we had ordered the perfect type of weather: raining cats and dogs.
“You work hard, you play hard!” should be the motto of every startup team. That said, regardless of the weather, we formed into teams and started with the hunt. We got lovely GPS-devices into our hands that had a constant 20-30 meter fail. No maps, just coordinates and random dots on an empty screen. If you think finding white paper plates in the forest is an easy task with a device that constantly lies to you, you’re wrong. It took us approximately 2.5 hours to find 16 points in the woods, countless miscalculations but in return we got a lot of fresh air and moments that can’t be forgotten. I’m sure that Andres, our web guru, will never forget this trip. He now has an icy wet reminder about it recorded on tape.
The way I think about it, this trip was quite an awesome teamwork exercise. As they say, when you want to know if how you get along with people, you should go traveling with them. Their “best” nature comes out in stress situations. That’s why I chose my team carefully! Marko and Kristjan, our two backend guys were perfect companions for this adventure in the woods. They didn’t even mind me occasionally whining about the rain or tweeting to the rest of the world what we were currently up to. I’d go hunting with them anytime whatever the circumstances.
It’s no surprise that we found all our points, had a lot of fun and ended up stuck under a tree hiding from rain, waiting for others way ahead of time… only to find out that some of our teammates had already decided to go chill in the sauna and let the eager beavers take the lead.
Anywhoo, heated discussions lasted until late night, the sauna was great and to prove that we had a lot of fun, here’s a quick video summary. Hope you enjoy watching our little roadtrip to the woods as much as we did being part of the adventure!
What do you think we should do next time? What has your team done in the past to encourage teamwork? Leave a comment or let us know via Twitter or Facebook, and of course, feel free to share the video! ;)