Once a business has more than a single employee, a certain element of professional teamwork is implied. Nowhere is this more evident, however, than when that team is presented with a real challenge and opportunity to succeed.

The case of the annual Warrior Race is a prime example thereof.

From any perspective, it is a healthy sign when companies attend corporate team building and fun challenge events. Fostering a sense of belonging, cooperation and mutual respect goes a long way towards strengthening work relations and promoting better productivity.

The Warrior Race, touted as South Africa’s largest obstacle course race, offers teams as well as individuals the opportunity to slug it out against the outdoors in a timed trial. Our participation over the last 2 years showed us just how well people in teams can come together to ease the burdens of overcoming a daunting obstacle. To be fair, some of the obstacles have been very daunting: scaling a net is not for the unfit; jumping from an artificial cliff is a nightmare for the vertigo-inclined; pushing your teammates to their limits in order to achieve a competitive time is hard.

“You can do it!” – A strong encouragement goes a long way towards motivating people to achieve what they may previously have considered to be unattainable to them.

How does helping your team get over a slippery mud bank translate into a better work environment?

Consider the morning or the week after. It’ll be a climate of sharing pictures, cringing at the memories of the longest stretches, showing empathy at the aches and pains, and joining in excitedly whenever someone says “Remember when…”

It is all this which leaves one feeling blissfully aware of positive qualities in colleagues, qualities you may not have previously been aware of. And the sense of upliftment from discovering those qualities and having others discover them in you is beyond compare, making the entire day and week worthwhile and unmistakably pleasing.

Four people. Four different work departments. Yet they are one team at the finish line, and nothing and no one takes that away from them.

The key to making the most of events such as this is cohesion. Consult with potential participants and make a group-focused decision on what you will be attending. Allow freedom in the selection of teams, tiers and objectives. Encourage maximum participation by sponsoring entries and possibly merchandise. Above all, ensure that it’s communicated and discussed for as long as possible.

Giving employees the opportunity to form successful teams in the “wild” is a wonderful tool for forging teamwork skills for the work arena.

Exhausted but happy with the results – the epitome of a strong successful team effort.


The author’s organisation has attended the regional Warrior challenges in 2014 and 2015; we are extremely grateful to the organisers for promoting such a fantastic event for us to take part in and learn from. Read more about the events at www.warrior.co.za