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I really don’t believe in the much-hyped offsite team building activities that seem to be totally the craze right now. I’m amazed at how many resorts and camps in the Rizal area are now turning into these adventure and action-sport venues complete with obstacle courses, ziplines, and paintball fields. I think it’s because of the boom of office work in Metro Manila make such venues for offsites just an hour away are ideal.

The rogue in me frowns whenever a company announces that there will be an offsite event where employees will be asked to engage in whatever physical activity to “build stronger bonds of camaraderie so that me can synergistically drive towards higher baselines and move closer to our vision.” I hate it as much as I hate saccharine corporatese.

I mean how can you foster that sense of respect through tug-of-war? Wow, this guy strong, perhaps I could depend on this guy to help me sift through 1000 lines of code in a late Friday trying to beat a deadline. That thinking doesn’t necessarily apply.

And what more if you’re already dealing with people who hate each other at work? I swear if I’m tasked to catch someone I don’t professionally respect and whose work ethic I revile in a trust fall, I’d let that bastard fall to the ground. Head first. On a pile of poo.

I think there’s no better way to build teams other than to build a culture that fosters a mutual professional respect among team members. The trust must come from the sense of integrity, of dependability, that, if push comes to shove, you can always rely on the guy next to you to do his job.

It’s always easier to use that as platform for connections than the inverse. I’ve seen friendships dissolve when friends become colleagues and they realize that their work ethics don’t quite match. I’ve seen personal bonds better forged over some decent conversation over pizza and beer or even just cake and coffee. Those cost just a fraction of whatever companies spend on an offsite.

Better yet, if you’re all for that whole social responsibility thing, why not organize charitable event of social work? At least those hold much more meaning than rolling in mud. But then again, regardless of event, slackers will slack. And I’d hope they’d fall. Head first. On a pile of poo.

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