How Walking 100km for Oxfam Builds Effective Teams

The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.

If Arnie (quoted above) has taught us one thing, it’s that your mental strength is just as important as your physical strength in building resilience, endurance, and the necessary capabilities to extend beyond your comfort zone.

At least that is what we are hoping: as two teams of four Peace of Mind Technology staff train to complete the upcoming Oxfam 100km Trail Walker event in Sydney’s outer regions.

While we walk through several early morning weekdays and most of our weekends, we find ourselves pondering what makes an effective team. After all, the difference between those teams who make it to 80km and crash, versus those who make it over the finish line seems to lie in their ability to collectively support and embrace their teammates and work towards a common goal.

Harness individual skills and personalities

Playing to the unique strengths of each member can often far outweigh the weaknesses of any individual. Work together to discern what everyone is best at doing and try to play to these strengths for the betterment of the whole team.

Work towards a common goal

It can be hard for teams to walk across the 100km finish line together if everyone isn’t on the same page. As your team comes together, invest the time to establish a mutually shared set of goals and objectives. Each team should play to the individual strengths of its members for the very purpose of achieving a common goal.

Communicate clearly and openly

Part of the process by which goals are achieved and effective teams are born is through constant communication and reinforcement. For teammates to openly contribute and share ideas that lead to innovation, there must be open lines of communication that encourage such behaviour in the first place.

Be willing to help

As teams journey along the same path, there can be bumps along the road as individual strengths, weaknesses, motivations and desires often intersect, overlap or outright clash at alternating points in time. In many instances, individual wants and needs must be foregone for the sake of the team, starting with the ability of one teammate to put up their hand to help another.

Allocate tasks and responsibilities

Distribute team responsibilities to those teammates with the skills, abilities, and inclinations to complete them. Allocating tasks can work to avoid unnecessary clashes in authority while boosting team efficiency and productivity through shared responsibility.

Spend time together!

While this is easier said than done, the Oxfam Trailwalker can be so effective in building strong teams because it encourages you to spend lengthy periods of time together with minimal distraction. In so doing, you can get to know your teammates on a more personal level, building trust, honesty, and openness along the way. As the walk kicks off and the pace to 100km builds, you also get to see a potentially different side of your coworkers as mental and physical fatigue sets in. This is a good thing; as it works to give you a more well-rounded understanding of who they are and where their mental and physical limits lie.

The Sydney installment of the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker is happening from August 19 to 20.

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