Many years ago when I was a manager, I remember a team building activity that my administrator organized for the managers on our campus. We spent a day canoeing down a section of the Shenandoah River near our facility. Most of the trip was relatively smooth flowing, but there were spots where the river became shallow and quick moving. There were multiple times that some of the canoes flipped, and we had to help each other get them upright and bailed out. We laughed a lot on that trip, and it is one of the most positive memories I have from my time working at that agency not only because of how much fun the trip was but also because of how it enhanced our work relationships afterwards. That experience of being together and supporting each other strengthened our relationships in many profound ways that positively affected the people we supervised and the individuals we served.

When we talk about team relationships in the instructor workshops I teach, I often ask participants what kind of team building activities they do in their organizations. Many people respond that they don’t do any. Over the years as budgets have become tighter, things like team building activities have often been one of the first things to get cut. This is very unfortunate, as I think the potential benefit to our teams and the quality of care we provide in our programs far outweighs the cost.

In the Mandt System, we believe and teach that the healthier the relationships between staff the better and more effective the quality of life for the people we serve and in turn the more effective our services will be. Let’s work to find ways to support those relationships and build teams even when we are faced with limited resources and high demands on out time.

Doug ZehrVogt – Mandt System Faculty