CSR: The Joy of Giving

People often ask me, “Why do you love team building so much?”

My answers vary and often include:

  • It’s fun
  • It’s both creative and analytical, allowing me to use both (left and right) sides of my brain
  • It’s people-oriented
  • It’s gratifying to help organizations work together and communicate better
  • It beats digging ditches, flipping burgers, mopping floors and picking crops (and I can attest personally to each of those)
  • The pay is awesome... er, better than digging ditches, etc. etc.

But all of those reasons pale in comparison to the joy experienced at a CSR event.

Case in point:  a few weeks ago, we conducted a Freewheel event for a fairly large group - over 200 senior staff and managers from around the world competing to build 22 bikes.

For over four hours these intermingled groups patched and inflated tires (not the ones deployed on the bikes, thank goodness), attached seats and wheels and safety lights, tightened and tested and adjusted fittings.

We threw in enough silly side activities (things like balloon hats and team cheers) to get the entire group laughing while competing like Olympic athletes. The bike, it seemed, was just an excuse to give them some tangible task to complete, a physical representation of their day’s effort.

We announced the competition’s winners, and the participants all contributed good-sportsmanlike applause. Good for them, good for us, we’re a team now.

Then came the surprise.

We brought in 22 children. One per bike.

No, they hadn’t been told they were getting bikes.

No, the participants hadn’t been told that they would get to meet the beneficiaries of their day’s labor. That they’d get to help adjust the seats and handlebars to fit that child, to attach the helmet to that child’s head and give them their first push on the child’s maiden ride on their very first new bike.

The look of surprise on the participants’ faces was surpassed only by the joy on the faces of the children.

There is no sweeter moment - and no better reason to do team building.

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