Learning About Teamwork by Traveling

Andrew Schwabe

So I have a friend that I met at our former place of employment. In the years that we have left that employer, we have remained in contact over our love of baseball and beer. The most time we had ever spent together was 1 day. Those days were sometimes in the office at work. Or outside the office at a baseball game. Between the 2 of us, we had the idea to travel to a destination to check out a sporting event. This was not a day trip or an overnight venture but 5 days of just the 2 of us.

We began to commit to the travels, by having a conversation about how to split the large expenses. Then how we were going to track those expenses such that there would be no argument about who was spending more on joint expenses. This was a seemingly small action that gave us both accountability for the expenses. As the travel date got closer, we defined more of what we wanted to do around the city of the event. Within Google Maps we created a list of places that we were interested in experiencing.

As we got settled into our destination we had several hours of just the 2 of us together. Everything up to this point had gone quite well. Not knowing the other's evening routines, it was time to have a frank discussion. Since, we are both in the software industry we both know and have established, working agreements. I suggested that we form a quick travel agreement with each other. Over the next couple of minutes, we discussed the aspects of the trip and ourselves that were important. This conversation allowed us to set expectations, be empathetic, and provide those fundamental ground rules of the engagement. For the remainder of that trip, we referred back to that conversation to level-set expectations.

So you may be asking yourself how my travel relates to teamwork. Well, what is important to a team no matter its size?

  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Adaptability

Had we not been open and honest with each other during that first night, who knows what we could have run into over the trip. Of course, accountability is next on the list. Had we not been accountable to each other, we may have never made it the destination. With the first 3 solidly in place. The remainder of the trip was smooth. We respected each other when making decisions on what to choose for the day's activities. Showed Adaptability when the activity was not something the other wanted to do for the day. In all, this was a great experience and brought a lot of what we talk about each day when it comes to teams and teamwork.

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