How Trek Management Is The Future Of Team Building

Have you ever considered how trekking fits into your business world? Many of you would be pleasantly surprised at how it can help build terrific teams at the workplace.

Trek Management is a new idea never explored in our country before. It is going to be the future of team-building.  The organisation and the execution part of a trek expedition has all the required elements to foster teamwork.

Let me take a moment to explain.

The problem facing most companies today is that they struggle building truly functional and effective teams. Without great teams, company goals will remain elusive and a leader will eventually fail to deliver.

So, how does trekking connect to teamwork? Planning & managing a trek expedition is a rigorous activity where working as a team is an inbuilt feature. Without a group effort, the activity cannot be successful. Organising a trek by itself forces you to naturally depend on one another which helps create tight-knit and high-performance teams. Think about it.

Upcycling activity

Imagine a remote outdoor setting in a mountainous region. Here, you have no one but your teammates to rely on. For everything.

From finding a drinkable water source to putting food in your mouth, to cleaning utensils to pitching tents to stay. From motivating each other to reach the summit to lending a helping hand to negotiate the the challenging sections of the trek.  From treating and evacuating the physically injured to overcoming all kinds of obstacles. From jointly marvelling and rejoicing at the breathtaking sights of high mountains to finally celebrating success together.

Here, the interpersonal interactions are raw and actions real; reactions are authentic and emotions all genuine. Pretentious and fake behaviours become obsolete in such real-life experiential settings. In such contexts, it becomes readily evident how much more a team achieves compared to an individual slogging it out. You will stumble at every step here if you work only in an individual capacity. In such situations, your team becomes your strength.

People also become aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They acknowledge and appreciate everybody’s differences which help in proficient delegation of tasks.

Such authentic experiences create a psychologically safe environment with a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass or reject someone for asking questions or speaking up. A team climate characterized by a profound sense of mutual respect and interpersonal trust is developed. Not afraid of being vulnerable in front of others, unfiltered discussions and passionate debate helps them arrive at quality decisions in a timely manner.

People become extremely comfortable being themselves and are more empathetic to one another.
A genuine sense of collective purpose is noticeable and goals are no more an individual pursuit, but a shared one.

Dayara-Bugyal-Indiahikes-campsite-1
Trekkers making their way to one of the most beautiful campsites in the Himalayas – Dayara.

This is exactly how an effective team should function at the workplace. These qualities or attributes are the most important ones when it comes to shaping the foundations of effective teams. In fact, almost every dysfunctional team in the world lack these qualities.

Keeping these thoughts and ideas in mind, Indiahikes is introducing a unique program for companies. With an aim to sculpt the strongest teams, the program has been designed to engage employees of a company in planning and executing a trek all by themselves.

Indiahikes will guide them with proper safety, experienced and trained personnel and equipment support. The employee participants will completely own the program and will be divided into teams similar to a corporate structure. With budget and timing constraints, the teams have to properly plan and collaborate to complete a trek expedition successfully. They will carry out all the operations of the trek. From budgeting to transportation, to logistics and cooking.

Defined roles will be assigned and specific responsibilities will be delegated. A meticulous plan has to be chalked out and executed with outstanding clarity and excellent communication among the teams. To achieve success, maximum cooperation is necessary and seamless coordination is a must.

The outdoors will force them to work together as a team. It mimics a real life survival situation. It is almost a make or break situation every time. For example, if the team is not able to cook a meal together within a stipulated time or because groceries are over due to lack of prior planning, then everyone goes hungry. While going hungry is fine in the city, in the outdoors with no other means of food around, the stakes are high.

Trekkers marching in snow PC: Reyan Hazra

This kind of situation gets repeated almost every hour for the duration of the trek. By the time the trek gets over, the team has been through an intense but a remarkable team building process.

The results are quite extraordinary as we have seen with the IIMs. They rate this program as their best program in their entire two years of study, even above all their academics. So much so that final year students of IIMs now have to do a mandatory outdoor leadership credit course with us. We have been fine tuning the Experiential Learning Program with the IIMs for the past 7 years. We have worked closely with the professors and the IIM teams. The program that we are offering has been 7 years in making. While all these years it was restricted only to campus management students, this year onward we have decided to roll it out to selective groups of companies.

The reasons why we are selective about the company we work with are two. One, the program is very serious and intense. While there is lot of fun and thrill on the trek, it is not wise to work with companies who think this is an alternative to a team outing. The second reason is that our team is small. Not everyone in our organisation can carry out these training programs. We can only work with a few organisations at a time.

The Dayara meadows on the Bhrigu Lake trek

The Team Leadership Programme(TLP) provides a real experience so fundamental and intense that a major change in how team members interact and work together becomes imminent.

If you are a leader and wish to bring about a change in how your team works, let me make an earnest appeal. Please STOP wasting  your money on those team-building exercises which ultimately turn out to be mere recreation and glorified picnics. Instead, prepare for the future and send your team for the Team Leadership Programme to see a change.

Get in touch and let us help you build your dream team!


What you should do now

1) If you would like to read more articles on Experiential Learning, click here.

2) If you are interested in signing up for this programme, then contact us here.

3) If you ended up here by chance and were actually looking for treks to do, then head over to our upcoming treks page. You’ll find all our Himalayan treks there.

4) If you want to see the 13 best treks of India, then get our free guide book here.

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Lavanya Pangtey

Lavanya Pangtey

Lavanya is our very own Uttarakhandi in the office. She is a law graduate but works as Indiahikes' Content Manager. Lavanya shares a strong bond with the mountains and has seen their face change since she was little. She believes sustainable development is the way forward for Himalayan states. At Indiahikes, she is doing her bit to promote sustainable trekking.

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