“We felt support, encouragement and mostly trust from each other” – An MBA team building weekend by Yan Zheng

Upon the completion of our consultancy project, I couldn’t help but recall the 2 day team building trip we took 2 weeks ago which was very useful warm up for the consultancy project and also a fun and wonderful trip.

One and half hour drive took us to a ‘glamping’ site close to the beach on North Norfolk coast. The site itself is in a quiet corner of the garden where five yurts are huddled around a fire pit.

We were divided into 5 yurts. Jacqueline, Faay, Rachel and I shared a yurt. We were excited and curious about the trip when we entered the yurt with no TV, lights, heating, but wood for fire and candlestick in the cosy space.

Yurt picture
Yan, Faay, Jacqueline and Rachel in their yurt

A series of academic tools about teamwork were introduced afterwards by Ian and Kat from Akoma Consulting. The SDI (Strength Development Inventory) results provided us a shared understanding of communication. We started to distinguish our behaviour with colours of blue, red and green, and it’s suggested to communicate with somebody in their matching colour style. With the featured behaviours of different colours, we could learn to borrow traits from some colours to change our behaviours to better suit the team or deal with any possible conflict, because personality is normally hard to change.

After academic training, 21 of us were divided into 2 teams for outdoor task. I was the team leader in the first task. As blue colour personality, my focus is more on people. With the whole team’s effort and my lead, glad we completed the first task. Cooking ourselves dinner was the following task. Under Kenneth’s lead, we had lots of fun, wonderful music and delicious burgers during the dinner time.

We sat around in a circle around the fire after BBQ dinner and the last task was assigned, surprisingly no team leader required, no rules, just “sit, introduce yourself and your challenge in your childhood”. All of us one by one shared our personal stories. I shared my childhood story that I never shared before in public, and I did it naturally. I can see the same from other peers and we were moved to tears by the touching stories, we were inspired by the stories of courage. We felt support, encouragement and mostly trust from each other, and a tighter bond was formed among us. We are all different as individuals with what we experienced making us the person who we are today. We have our own social roles- parents of kids, children of parents, wife or husband, brothers and sisters and at that moment, despite our differences we are all valuable team members of the group. Thanks for the MBA to bring us from all over the world to spend the year together, we cherish it.

Our full time MBA cohort with Ian and Kat from Akoma Consulting and Andrew Vassallo, MBA full time course leader

The next day was full of intense tasks, we experienced a few uncompleted tasks resulting from communication issue, rules issue, trust issue, strategy issue…we then realised that the purpose of the tasks was not to win, but was a learning process from the lessons of the uncompleted task. This way, a strong team would be built for tasks later in the day, or in the year, even in our future career life. Worth to mention, we finally nailed it by great team spirit in the last and biggest task!

Though the trip was only 2 days, the journey for the whole MBA team still has 6 months to go, and the team spirit we learned from the trip will accompany us and nurture us at our own journey in future. It’s one of the most valuable journeys I have had during my MBA study!


With thanks to Yan Zheng for contribiting to the NBS blog.

If you would like to know more about our UEA MBA course, visit our webpages, email mbateam@uea.ac.uk or call +44 (0)1603 591753


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