PayItMonthly recently jet set to Croatia to develop our group experiences and improve our team-building skills! The idea came from our CEO -Chris Pursey- "[The motivation for going to Croatia was] to increase the bonds and communication between individuals and teams within the business. [By doing so] I think we learnt more about team members' strengths and weaknesses in a weekend than we had done in years."
The team-building experience came from the get-go. The 4-day excursion began at 3 a.m. with all team members meeting (excited but groggily) at PIM HQ. After a minibus to the airport and a flight across five countries, we arrived in Split, Croatia. The travelling was a team experience itself, with team members occupying their on-flight time with group games, inter-department discussions and pointing out landmark views (such as that of the Austrian Alps) from the plane's windows.
However, the journey didn't stop there, whilst in Split we kicked off our trip with a mad dash to collect groceries in Lidl before catching our ferry (that we marginally made it onto) headed to the island of Brac. A 20-minute car journey later we finally made it to our destination.
Once there, the activities began! Organised by Tam (our chief technology officer), we had an array of team-building activities for us to do, ranging from designing team t-shirts to racing to collect spoons at the bottom of the residence pool! "I wanted to do something fun, original and valuable that everyone can enjoy and builds team cohesion. It was a really exciting challenge for me too." -Tam.
Commencing the competition, we split into two groups: 'Brac to the Future' vs 'Disco Club Adam'. Things started with a bang! 1st challenge: create the best, most cohesive team t-shirts in 15 minutes. Brac to the Future winning 11 points to 12, also beating out Disco Club Adam in the balloon hide-and-seek and balloon-building competitions! However, Disco Club Adam had their comeuppance by winning the underwater spoon-collecting race, balloon conga race and the tallest free-standing tower competition.
Activities were selected with their outcomes in mind, the overall goal was to improve team communication and bonds and the tasks chosen all aided towards this objective. For example, designing team t-shirts required working under pressure, utilising competitiveness productively and team management skills from both team leaders and team members.
The result of the task created team cohesion, not only emotionally but also physically as we had established ourselves as a team through the branding of our team t-shirts.
The bonds being built were put to the test when it was revealed to each of the teams that there was a spy in their group who secretly belonged to the opposing team. Brac to the Future and Disco Club Adam were given one minute to try and oust the imposter -but in a turn of events both teams concluded that there was no intruder in their ranks, fulfilling the objective of the task!
The trip was also rooted in cultural elements, Chris (the trip organiser and PayItMonthlys CEO) travelled to Croatia on many occasions forming his appreciation for their food and history. Desiring to share his passion with the team, Chris treated us to a popular Croatian lamb dish, cooked in a traditional peka aka "under the bell". Whilst the technique is called 'peka', the lamb dish most commonly cooked via this method is also recognised under the same name!
This method involves roasting food over open flames using a clay or wrought-iron baking vessel. It is an ancient method of cooking traced back as far as 5,000 years ago, meaning even under Roman rule, Croatians maintained their unique cooking style, making it one of the longest-standing dishes in Croatian cuisine.
We enjoyed our Peka dish at the stunning Konoba Dol (Kaštil Gospodnetić) a family farm that has passed down through 12 generations. Fresh olives and vegetables are grown on their pastures, which are then served to guests during the summer. The noble house is a unique example of Art Nouveau interiors, due to this rich history and cultural heritage Kaštil Gospodnetić also offered us a tour -demonstrating how their family lived during 19th century Dalmatia.
On the final evening, everyone came together to contribute to a home-cooked barbeque, held 'potluck style' in which team members made dishes to share. The meal consisted of burgers, plates of pasta, vegan sausages, salads and more. It was a hearty and heartwarming meal dined around a large table, eating, drinking and talking late into the night. As dinner dwindled, we presented Chris with a scrapbook 'The Book of Brac' that the office had been making in secret throughout the trip, the inside was decorated with polaroids of our trip and messages from each of our team members -it was enough to make him (and a few others) emotional!
The team here at PIM gained lots of memories, methodologies and knowledge from this team-building trip. It's an experience I'm sure we'll all treasure for years to come, thank you to boss-of-the-century Chris! “I cannot thank everyone enough. Being together for almost 100 hours is enough to push any team to the limit. To see people still getting on and supporting each other after all that time was very pleasing to experience and is part of the reason why we have been successful! P... P.... PIM!!!” - PIM CEO Chris Pursey.
I asked the team what their favourite team-building activity was and why, and these were their responses:
💬 Designing the t-shirts was a lot of fun and really felt like everyone in the team worked together to get the results.
💬 [trying to] figure out who the betrayer is, because it's tricky and meaningful
💬 My fav was the balloon-building competition as I felt this had the teams laughing the most 🙂
💬 I just really liked how everyone really made an effort to work as a team. It was all so well put together! 😀
💬 Has to be the BBQ, with everyone contributed to the meal and it was great seeing everyone pull together. The super quick supermarket shop in Split was also great fun with everyone doing their task to make sure we got out with a few mins to spare!