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Thomas Yoon

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Business Team Building Strategy In the Jungle
By Thomas Yoon
Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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We had been expecting an attack, but we did not expect it so
soon. We did everything possible to protect ourselves, but
the only cover we had were some bushes, tree trunks, leaves
and the natural foliage. If we protect ourselves from the
front, we could not cover our backs. Such was the defense we
managed to set up.

"Tak kenak! Tak kenak!" "Adak Orang sanak!…………"

The quiet jungle has suddenly become noisy with intruders.
Strange voices and shouting seemed to appear all around us.
They were definitely foreign. We were being attacked!

We had been expecting an attack, but we did not expect it so
soon. We did everything possible to protect ourselves, but
the only cover we had were some bushes, tree trunks, leaves
and the natural foliage. If we protect ourselves from the
front, we could not cover our backs. Such was the defense we
managed to set up.

Our casualty was very high. Nobody could escape the onslaught.

Luckily, this was not real and nobody died.

This was just a Wargame and the weapons were eggs.

The event was an Outdoor Survival-like Jungle Training.
Organized by the training department of our Company, a group
of staffs went over to the forest reserve at Lata Mengkuang,
Sik, Malaysia to take part in Team Building.

The 3-day training started off with the usual briefing, and
ice-breaking sessions on the first day. Each person was given
a dome tent for spending the night. Various camp crafts were
taught. Lectures were given on Motivation, Compass usage,
Mission, etc throughout the day and night. In between lectures,
there were group management activities, which put into practice
what was taught. The management activities took the form of
games, where the participation of everybody in the team and the
clarity of direction from the leader are of utmost importance.
In the games, the team and leader had to work together to
fully understand their own capabilities and weaknesses in order
to overcome obstacles, and to achieve the target in a limited
time. The first day session finished at nearly 12 midnight.

Almost all the participants could not sleep very well in the
first night. The ground was hard and cold. The portable
generator set, which supplied electricity supply for lighting,
was really noisy. Mosquitoes were not a problem, because we
had taken the precaution to spray the enclosed tent with
insecticide beforehand. There were some expression of fear of
creepy-crawlies from some female team members, and also of the
tent being washed away if it rains. Other than that the night
passed on without any incident.

We started the second day morning with jogging. The distance
was very far. Our muscles got more and more tired. After
breakfast, the lecture and management activity sessions was
conducted like the previous day. The topics and activities were
of course different, and were more interesting. We were taught
Principles of War, and also briefed on Jungle Mission. We were
to enter the jungle at about 5.30 p.m. on the same day.

The Jungle Mission was about camping in the jungle at night,
attacking other teams, and protecting your own camp. The whole
group of people was divided into 4 teams, each with their own
leader, scout, navigator, deputy leader, and members. The team
was guided by experienced jungle guides from the organizers
whose job was to only take us to our jungle campsites, and offer
advice if needed. The challenge for each team is to capture the
flags of other teams, which also included a team of Orang Asli's
(jungle dwellers). All the teams are free to make their own
decision on whether to seek and attack or to stay put for
defense. But it is only in attacking that a team can achieve the
target of capturing other team's flags. However we could also
lose our own flags if we go on an attacking spree without
guarding our own camp.

Rain was falling all around in the early evening before we left.
My team left the base camp at about 6 p.m. The whole team walked
in single file towards the jungle camp. The jungle path was
steep, muddy, slippery and full of protruding roots and rocks.
Sharp torns on the jungle plants could easily cut anybody. My
team reached the jungle campsite at around 7.30 p.m. We quickly
pitched camp, set up 3 hammocks, made a small fire for cooking,
cleared the area of obstruction, and set up our defense. We ate
our dinner very quickly as our cease-fire ends at 8.30 p.m. and
we can expect any attack from our enemy from then onwards. Our
food was simple camp food - rice, canned sardines, and canned
beans. We had plenty of eggs, but these were our ammunition, not
our food.

The Wargames was an eye-opener for us. We could experience how
a soldier fighting in the jungle and going on a mission feels.
It is to kill or be killed. He has to use his wits to survive.
His eyes must be sharp. He must be sure where his enemies are
and where his comrades are in order not to shoot his own people.
His sentries must be alert all the time. His camp perimeter
should have booby trap to prevent enemy's approach from an
unexpected direction, maybe from the tree tops…..

A lot happened during the night. Each team has its own tale to
tell. To make a long story short - the mission was successful.
But it was a long, long night.

On the third day morning, all the teams made their way out of
the jungle at about 7.30 a.m. after breaking camp and packing.
It was a battle-weary night. All the teams who emerged from the
jungle were a sorry sight to behold. Covered with mud, and egg
slime from head to toe, unkempt hair, wet clothing, tired bodies
we were thankful to be able to reach base camp.

After washing up, we were transported by mini bus to a riverbank
where lorry wheel inner tubes and bamboo had already been prepared.
We were taught how to fabricate rafts, and when the rafts were
ready, we paddled downstream for about 3 miles and presented our
prize (the flags) to a "Penghulu" (village headman) who was
waiting there. The mission has been accomplished!

These were just brief summaries of what happened during the
Experiential Team Building exercise. It has taught in some way or
another something of value to all the participants.

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Reviewed by Sandie May Angel-Joyce 7/13/2007
I'm glad you had the training. Team building is very important, as in most businesses as well.

Your experience was an eye-opener for many. Thank you for sharing this!

Sandie May Angel :o)

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