According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of a lifeline is ‘a thing on which someone or something depends on or which provides a means of escape from a difficult situation.’ When we developed our ‘GPS Lifeline’ activity, the dictionary’s definition is precisely the idea we had in mind to help teams better problem solve, think creatively, and communicate. The GPS Lifeline experience is a cross between ‘Capture the Flag’ and the board game ‘Battleship,’ as the experience has a ‘seek and return’ component while also requiring teams to be strategic in their approach. At the start of this activity, a group is broken into two teams and each team must use GPS units to set custom waypoints or markers for the GPS to track. Then, the competing teams will swap their GPS units and try to find the other team’s waypoint. The twist with this activity is each team is linked together by a single rope, or a ‘lifeline,’ as we like to call it. The activity is timed and the team that finds their waypoint and returns to home base in the shortest amount of time wins. You could think of the experience like a high-tech version of hide and seek that requires a fair amount of team strategy, communication, and creativity.
When MD Live, an innovative, virtual doctor and healthcare service, came to us looking for unique and outdoor-geared team building activity, we knew the GPS Lifeline experience would fit the bill. While some team building activities can incorporate problem solving and communication skills, very few do so effectively in the outdoors. Our approach is not to just plop people in some empty field with a ropes course or climbing wall. Instead, we take teams to locations where nature is so impressive, it can have a powerful effect on people. In this particular case, enter the beautiful Burro Trail in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Each team had the fortune (and the challenge) of hiking the scenic and secluded trail to complete their ‘Lifeline’ challenge. If there was one word to describe this day’s activity for MD Live, it was ‘cross collaboration.’ A big reason for this was that only one person on each team had a GPS unit. This person is thereby essentially telling the people nearest him or her where to go and then those people have the responsibility of communicating with the rest of the team. Sound familiar for your company? The point of this activity is to highlight what is required for teams to successfully complete challenging tasks – trust, communication, alignment, creativity, and support – and to emphasize what can result if these ideas aren’t practiced- dissent, frustration, disappointment, and confusion.
Both teams completed the activity and ‘escaped their difficult situation’ thanks to the ‘lifeline.’ While there’s a winner and a loser in this activity, MD Live had a bigger takeaway: growth and friendship. You could see teams stretching their critical thinking and effective communication muscles during the activity and realizing new capabilities through the experience. At the same time, we witnessed new bonds and relationships being formed over the course of the day, as believe it or not, tying a group of people to a long rope requires them to engage and interact with one another, oftentimes in ways they haven’t before. Seeing this brings a smile to our face because we know such new relationships and insights probably wouldn’t have happened without this event. That’s why we commend companies and teams for taking time out of their busy and important businesses to get outside and have a unique, team-driven experience. In our opinion, it’s too important not to.
If you’re interested in creating a similar experience for your team or just want to learn more about how we can help your company, give us a shout! We’d love to hear from you!