What happened and why :
Seagate is one of the largest digital content storage companies in the world and has business in about 15 countries around the world in Europe, Asia and the US (©2011 Seagate Technology LLC). To create the ultimate team-building experience, every year Seagate brings 250 high-performing employees to Queenstown, near Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand. This event tests all their physical and emotional boundaries of endurance (Max, 2006). This is a very popular program among Seagate employees and is known as “Eco Seagate”. The company spent a whopping sum of $9000 per person, and the goal of this exercise is to boost the employee morale, support office amity, and encourage teamwork (Max, 2006). Seagate’s CEO Watkins wanted participants to experience the intensity that distinguishes an informal group from a high performing team. He also wants to strengthen his company’s culture by reinforcing these norms and attitudes that encourage team work, perseverance and endurance. Why did I decide to write about this?: I have been working for Seagate technology for about 10 years and have been witnessing this herculean effort of team building since 2001. I attended a scaled down version of Eco Seagate in early 2002, which was equally rigorous and challenging but gave me a new way of thinking about team dynamics. The current form of Eco Seagate is a week-long teambuilding program, which includes a 10-mile trek, 12-mile bike ride through mountain terrain, navigating about 3 miles in a kayak, rappelling down cliffs and more. The last day of the challenge combines these adventurous activities into one 25-mile (40 kilometers) race. On arrival in Queenstown, the 250 Seagate employees were divided into 50 teams of five people each; in most cases the team members had never met before and in some cases didn’t even speak the same language but were expected to work together to finish the Eco-challenge. This event, which some call a social experiment, is pet project...
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