Building An Effective Team

How to Setup an Effective and Award-Winning Team Building Exercise


The team building exercise and retreat were due to take place in Waikoloa Village and close by we found the Waikoloa Bowl at Queen Gardens which had more than enough square footage for us to accomplish everything we needed a mere 15-minute drive from the resort where the attendees would be staying. We contacted them about the plan and double checked the dimensions of the facility and the ease of access. Everything checked out and they even offered us a very reasonable rate of the hire due to the charitable nature of the event. We were assigned a logistics coordinator Margo who proved to be absolutely invaluable in helping us set everything up.

We wanted to do something patriotic as the client had just been voted one of the top 5 companies for hiring military spouses and returning military soldiers. The original pitch was that we try to break 5 Guinness World Records in 90 minutes. Attempting the largest American flag made entirely of bath towels, the world’s longest towel chain, the longest high five chain, the most postcards being sent to active military soldiers around the world and the most people carrying water on top of their heads.

The logistics for pulling this off, however, were absolutely mind-blowing and so we instead settled for just 3 record attempts. A 26,389,00 square foot American Flag, the longest human towel chain using 1,113 participants and finally the longest high five chain using the same participants, all of which had to be completed in under 90 minutes.

We worked with our in-house designer to prepare a floor plan for how much space we would need to create the flag and had the Guinness team agree that 75% of the flag could be completed before the attempt officially began as long as it was all done by the attendees themselves. For the flag and towel chain combined we were going to need 4,800 towels in total and that’s not even counting the specially designed ones we would need for the stars of the flag. The next big challenge was going to be finding a venue big enough to house all three record attempts.

Now everything was in place we needed to triple check and lock in our arrangements. We knew we were going to need a platform stage to level out the ground on which we would construct the flag, we also needed a 45-foot basket lift crane to give us enough height for the filming and to capture the records as they were being completed. We costed this all up with the obvious such as sound, video and the travel costs. The budget was agreed with the client and they set about finding a vendor sponsor for the towels we were going to use. Standard Textiles took on the herculean task of making sure we had color compatible towels in the same sizes and quantities that we needed, as well as the custom-made star towels.

We would never have been able to achieve our goal if it wasn’t for their involvement, they absolutely smashed it. As we did with the mattresses at our last event we didn’t want these towels to go to waste though and decided to partner up with The Fisher House which is a halfway house for returning military soldiers and their families after they come back from active duty. This was in complete keeping with the reason we were doing this and so it seemed absolutely right to donate the towels to them.

Challenges on Building an Effective Team

There were challenges to overcome, as there always are, but we did so. There was an issue with the wind coming across the island and hitting the bowl, which meant we had to rethink the fastenings and design of the flag. We also had a big issue figuring out the best way to transport all of our participants to the bowl in an efficient and timely manner once the attempt had begun. All of this we overcame with ingenuity and by thinking a little outside the box.

On the morning of the event, we created sections for the participants with towels all color coordinated and laid out ready. We had staff on site ready to give instructions and to distribute as necessary. Once the clock started we opened up the bowl space which had been fenced off and secured as the Guinness World Record adjudicator had instructed. We had officials placed counting the participants as they arrived and our camera equipment with its beautifully high vantage point was rolling.

Once the official count had been confirmed we began with the world’s longest towel chain and then went straight into the world’s longest high five with the adjudicators walking up and down the line ensuring it was being done correctly. After this was the main event and the completion of the world’s largest towel mosaic; our design being particularly patriotic. It was organized chaos as hundreds of participants with predetermined towels hit their designated spots to complete the 26,389 square foot American Flag.

We finished with 6 minutes to spare and were incredibly lucky as it started to pour with rain 1 minute after that. It had been forecast and so clearly our prayers for it to hold out just long enough had been answered. We packed up as quickly as possible and then began transporting the triumphant attendees back to the closing session with handpicked keynote speaker and a special performance by Lee Greenwood.

We again won several international awards for this event and everyone involved can be very proud at having smashed not one but three separate Guinness World Records in just 90 minutes. A feat that should be a category in itself.

Thinking outside the box like this will create something truly memorable and unique event for you and your staff. Not to mention that with enough creativity, you can also look to achieve a much simpler or straightforward record attempt, something grandiose like this ensures your team will be speaking about it for a long time to come and as an added bonus the exposure from local media and the ability to share the content through your own channels generates a great deal of buzz for business.

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