Why Short Treks Can Make A Big Difference To Team Synergy

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Why Short Treks Can Make A Big Difference To Team Synergy

Category Experiential Learning

By Janusa Sangma

2023-10-16

Indiahikes believes that trekking transforms the body, mind, and spirit, and it doesn’t always need to involve scaling high summits or long stints in the Himalayas. 

The positive impact of treks on overall well-being, health, and social dynamics can manifest during the briefest of journeys outdoors, even in a matter of hours. 

We saw this unfolding first-hand when the Palo Alto team came with us on a team-building trek in September 2023.

“The way every participant experienced the trek in a span of just 24 hours, we were taken aback and moved by what they shared with us after the trek.” - Indiahikes trek leader, Ravi Ranjan. 

How it began

The genesis of Palo Alto’s trekking journey began much before. Some time ago, Shivaram, a Palo Alto team manager, signed up for a family trek with Indiahikes to Channarayana Durga. That trek gave him first-hand experience of the transformational power of trekking. The proverbial seeds were sown.

When the opportunity arose later to take his team for a team-building outing, Shivaram was keen on them experiencing the same trek.

The setting

The Palo Alto team | Photo credits: Indiahikes archive

We met the Palo Alto team at Channarayana Durga, a village located approximately 100 km from Bengaluru. The serene village lies at the base of a hill that houses the majestic 500-year-old Channarayana Durga Fort. 

The team was in for an adventure. They would be trekking to the fort on top of the hill. Most of the trail is on boulders with a few steep sections at the base and just before reaching the summit. Their task was to make it to the top together. 

The energy and motivation levels were high. Off they went, experiencing the trek’s literal and metaphorical ups and downs with every step. 

On returning to camp after completing the trek, we noticed a quiet but decisive shift in the air. 

This team seemed different from the one that had arrived mere hours ago. Their spirits were even higher. Additionally, the team seemed far more tight-knit and cohesive than before. 

What had happened on the trail? We got to chatting with a few participants after the trek, and here’s what they shared.

The Learnings

Overcoming struggles together

Some trekkers found the hike challenging, but giving up never occurred to them. Participants persevered, and in the process gained a renewed sense of self-assurance. The entire team came together to offer support and motivation. 

What’s more, even participants who trekked without much incident were inspired by their teammates and saw them in a new light.

“I was inspired by my colleagues and their never-say-die attitude. What stood out for me the most was how they gathered the strength and courage to keep trekking, despite it being difficult for them,” shared Anchit.  

What makes a difference to team dynamics? A meaningful experience where participants work towards a shared goal. | Photo credits: Indiahikes archive

Tackling fears head-on and emerging stronger

Another trekker shared how she suffered from a debilitating fear of heights which left her feeling queasy. 

“My colleague and I are terrified of heights. We supported each other while climbing and held hands while descending. Everyone on the team was so encouraging. I feel we understand each other better and have come back stronger mentally as a team," said Apoorva. 

Rediscovering nature and gratitude

One participant mentioned how it had been ages since he had looked up at the sky. The trek was a reminder to connect to the natural world. He said he hadn’t felt a sense of peace and gratitude in a long while.

Discovering unexpected commonalities and connections

Two participants found out on the trek that they had attended the same college! It was only during the trek that they truly connected, uncovering shared experiences and several other common interests.

Nostalgia and reflection

Others remarked that the trek evoked memories of their childhood. They fondly remembered how everyone eagerly awaited nightfall to descend in their hometowns. Power outages were welcome events, in fact! As the town plunged into pitch darkness, everyone would gather outside to gaze at the night sky. 

The difference being outdoors can make

Teamwork makes the dream work, especially outdoors. | Photo credits: Indiahikes archive

“Most corporate companies conduct team building exercises by taking the team to offsites, restaurants or resorts. But I feel coming out into nature, out of your comfort zone, and being vulnerable in such a setting is a better way to hone collaboration within teams,” shared Shivaram from the Palo Alto team.

Research shows that spending just 120 minutes a week in nature significantly impacts good health and subjective well-being.

How people achieve 120 minutes of time in nature isn’t of much consequence. It can be several times over a week or one long stint in nature, as long as the endeavour is mindful and consistent. 

What we observed when the Palo Alto team trekked with us is a testament to the research. 

This team demonstrated how the length of the journey doesn’t determine impact. What matters is heart, spirit, and willingness to step out of one’s comfort zone.

Janusa Sangma

Content Writer

About the author

Janusa is most at home exploring a faraway mountain trail. She follows the music wherever it may lead, guided by her ever-constant anchors – a love for writing, the mountains, wildlife, and grassroots work in the social sector.

She enjoys writing for organisations and individuals creating meaningful impact.

Before taking up writing as a full-time profession, she worked with corporates, non-profits, social enterprises, education companies, and PR organisations.

When she's not bent over a computer or buried in a Word Document, you will find her befriending a dog (any dog), swimming, or running for the hills.

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