As a sole trader, I spend the majority of my time working alone. So, to work with three other women for five months on top of my other commitments was sure to test my 'team' adaptability.
Completing the OXFAM Trailwalker (100km | Team of 4 | 48 Hours ) was the test and it's great to be a statistic. We were part of the 54% of teams which completed the 100km as a team of four and we did it in the average time of 28 hours.
From the time the initial idea was mooted, the planning started. We were a team of three in search of a fourth team member: who could we work with; who would add value, what strengths were we missing and who couldn't we work with? These initial thoughts and questions put us in good stead as we witnessed too many sole walkers during the event. Our research advised us to set the critical team rule: always walk together and ensure you could see each other at all times (even while taking a bush pee!)
Success was attributed to the planning, training and our communication. Like any other project, the ingredients and method were the same:
Planning: we met several times, identified roles, fundraising goals and physical team training dates and an important element - we created a crew of supporters to fulfil roles which we couldn't do. One task kept within the team was the spreadsheet operator - every minute, dollar and detail was recorded and data extracted.
Training: when the official trail walk commenced, we didn't need our map. We had walked every hill, track and step and we knew where we could potentially get lost in the dark. We consulted specialists: physiotherapists, podiatrists and doctors to prepare our body for the gruelling adventure.
Communication: our forte was our communication! Sharing the challenge with all our connections, we created a swell of followers to keep us on track with support and motivation. As a consequence we raised $9500 - way beyond our original $2000 target. We asked every imaginable question to assess the risk and understand what might happen if ... .
Whilst other teams deployed these three skills, I believe what made us a statistic, was our continual drive to complete the challenge as a team and to enjoy the journey together - a journey of friendship which increased over the project period. This differentiated ourselves from the many 'corporate teams', we pounded the trails in our soles and our souls connected and strengthened our energy and determination.
The questions is, "is it possible to achieve this success in a business situation?" Do we bare our souls enabling us to connect at this deeper level? I know I have in the past and the common passion of the cause has taken us to a new level of relationship. One obvious element is the conversation level - taboo subjects are on the agenda with all souls bared.
It only took 48 hours to eat our "never again" commitment to each other. Yes, we're already playing with the concept of OXFAM 2017 - feeding our souls with anticipation and excitement. Only problem is, we may need a fourth member!