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28 August 2018

Teamwork takes pole position at this year’s ForrestBrown summer away day

ForrestBrown team on summer away day

As British summers go, this year’s offering has truly been one for the books. For weeks on end emergency umbrellas remained untouched in our desk drawers, with colleagues everywhere opting for the much more optimistic sun-cream stockpile.

Fitting then, that bang in the middle of that glorious heatwave came our ForrestBrown summer away day 2018 – a chance for employees to leave the office behind for a fun-filled day of teamwork and collaborative learning. This year we ventured to Buckland Hall in Wales, taking with us a Formula 1 themed set of challenges designed to take our team communication up a gear. Here’s how it shaped up:

Colourful communication

Whether we knew it or not, preparation for this year’s away day started the minute each of us joined ForrestBrown. Our onboarding process involves these really useful psychometric testing that help us understand our dominant communication styles. Each of four styles is characterised by a colour – red, yellow, blue or green – and we use our own dominant colours, along with those of our teammates, to identify how best to communicate with different types of people.

The benefit of doing this is that it enables us to create high performance teams as individuals, as well as the teams we are a part of. By looking at the way we behave and understanding each other’s preferred way of doing things, we communicate better, increase our individual and team effectiveness, and maximise opportunities for personal growth. And this is just one of many focused training opportunities at ForrestBrown.

So how did we build these colour profiles into our away day? Every person attending wore their primary and secondary colours, before getting together in teams to take on the day’s F1-themed challenges.

Alex Price addresses the ForrestBrown team

Challenge 1 – qualifying laps

Our first challenge served to kick off the day with some problem solving. In our teams, we were tasked with finding two-part clues around the expansive grounds of Buckland Hall. Each clue required us to solve a logic puzzle that we couldn’t possibly have prepared for, giving us a fantastic opportunity to start putting our team communication to the test.

And what a warm up it proved to be. All of our teams rose to the challenge, putting their minds together to reach solutions while racing around the gardens on foot. With health and wellbeing such an important focus at the company, we all enjoyed having a good run-around as part of the problem-solving process to keep our energy up.

Team run to find clues at Buckland Hall

Challenge 2 – the pit stop

For our second challenge we set our sights on deepening the team connections formed during challenge one. In Formula 1 racing, pit stops require a team of individuals to carry out a variety of tasks quickly and in perfect synchronisation, so we wanted our teams to try and replicate that.

Each team was given a stack of wooden puzzle pieces to build into a structure, with time allowed to practice the assembly so that it could be done without a diagram to help. Sure enough, all of our teams demonstrated mutual understanding and slotted the structures together in under a minute – some quicker than others mind you, but that just added to the fun and competitive atmosphere of the day.

ForrestBrown team competing in pit-stop puzzle

Challenge 3 – the Grand Prix

The third challenge saw us bring different elements of our team-building challenges together for one final hurrah – the pedal go-kart Grand Prix. Each team started by personalising their vehicles with decorations, before rigorously practicing pit-stop changeovers ahead of the big race.

Finally the time came to get into the driving seat, with the green light sparking a pedal-to-the-metal frenzy among our teams. Despite two instances of chain failures and go-kart breakdown, all teams eventually made it over the line. In true Formula 1 style, the three winning teams took to the podium and couldn’t resist spraying champagne over us all!

Go-kart racing and hay bales

After a fun-filled day of challenges, the time came to relax and reflect on everything we’d achieved. One of the most impressive things we noticed was how everyone had really taken each other’s communication styles into consideration, adapted their own style to others, and used them to make working together more efficient.

ForrestBrown winners celebrate with champagne

As the day came to a close we also enjoyed a talk from our MD and founder, Simon Brown, before sitting down for dinner and drinks with the whole ForrestBrown family. Many of us couldn’t resist playing a few more games in the grounds before we left, which we think says a lot about the energy this away day brought our teams. It’s safe to say we’re already excited to see what next summer has in store!

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