In our cooking team building events one of the objectives organisers often come to us with is the team needs to interact and actually speak to each other more. In our world of technology, many people working for large companies never get a chance to actually speak to one another. Messages are exchanged on email, SMS, Twitter or even FaceBook and chat services. The technology shapes how people get their information on what is happening in the office. As much as this gives people updated information quickly, it also challenges their skill of communicating with individuals. It fails to satisfy the need to actually speak directly to people and see them in order to form more long lasting business and personal relationships and get their messages across clearly. Without those personal bonds, people are more likely to miscommunicate, and to drift away from their work and their workplace; ever ready to take the next opportunity that comes along. I reckon “The Company that Cooks Together Stays Together”. Here’s why…
I have been doing interactive team building cooking classes now for over 10 years. Increasingly I find people embrace the fact they can actually spend quality face to face time with their mates. I love the fact that our events bring people together instantly, as teams have to produce the goods, so they have to interact and they have to communicate otherwise their food will lack passion, or worse.
As we take teams on the journey of cooking, I always make sure they are comfortable enough but also challenge them to “step up to the plate”. They often love a bit of competition, and knowing they are going to “eat what they cook” helps increase the emphasis on the need to communicate and work together for maximum effectiveness.
Team building cooking classes can be adapted for a range of outcomes and messages. We have done events using food to bring together people of different nations with different languages – the language of food gives them a medium for connecting. One of our events was to bring an incentive group from China together with a group from Malaysia. Once I did an event where the organiser only thought to tell me the clients didn’t speak much English while I was standing in front of them with the recipes. Immediately we gathered them around and used mime, pointing and colours to communicate how the food was suppose to look as well as how to cook it. The group rose to the occasion and produced some wonderful dishes. Even the most ‘basic’ forms of communication are enhanced when you can see the other person and there is a common bond.
I have seen many team building event formats with wildly different content. I always come back to cooking as the most effective for team building after our last feedback survey in which 97% of participants said they would love to do it again. This gives me the confidence to know I am on the right track. People always gather together around food. It is a natural, almost tribal / genetic bond. Knowing how to use that to achieve various outcomes is the art we bring. (Don’t for a minute think that any ‘celebrity chef’ can do what we do!)
So I am a firm believer that “The Company that Cooks Together Stays Together” as it gets people connecting and communicating while having fun, in a way no other activity can. Those bonds keep them focused and connected as a team to each other, and as individuals to the company.