Kaizen!

“Why do they insist on calling it “team building” when its really just an excuse for officemates to go out of town, swim and get drunk?” is what one of my girlfriends said when I told them I will be out of town for the weekend for the company team building.

Where I work however, when they said team building, they actually meant it. I’m talking conferences, mental games and a makeshift amazing race kind of thing.

This year’s theme: Kaizen. From what I understood it basically means taking what you have and stepping it up a notch. The change doesn’t have to be huge, just as long as it’s for the better. It’s minimizing wastes, and maximizing productivity, and taking the initiative to improve oneself.

Sounds like some cheesy corporate pep talk I know (which, it is actually), but I like the idea. I have some pretty ambitious dreams for this new road that I chose to take, and I’ll do whatever it takes to move forward, no matter how cheesy and cliché those techniques are.

We held the team building in Club Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas. You must’ve heard of the place before, it’s a popular choice for celebrity weddings.

Accommodations were simple, nothing too fancy. The bathrooms could use some work also but overall, I’d still like to go back there.

What is so remarkable about Balai Isabel is the scenery. No wonder that it’s a favorite among high-end weddings; Balai Isabel has so many picturesque spots that are perfect for those occasions. Seems like a good place for personal retreats too. If I can afford it, I can see myself going there alone or with a small intimate group, just to detox from the many stresses of the city.

A view of Taal Volcano

But I digress.

The activities included a conference, a few games, a couple of dinners and an Amazing Race. I reckon that the Amazing Race was the main event, as it is a whole day affair and it involved the most team work (pun slightly intended).

Corporate Jargon woop!

Of course SOME drinking was involved.

Let it be said that this is the first team building that I’ve been to. I didn’t get to experience anything like this during my hospital days. The last event that I’ve been to that was even remotely similar to this one was a leadership training during my senior year in college. Thus, I have no point of comparison as to whether this event went well or not. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the activities thoroughly; they were all built to test wits, guts and physical prowess.

The only activity we managed to take photos of

Most memorable for me were all the heights-related challenges. You see, I kinda have a fear of heights. I don’t mind being on planes, but being strapped onto a swing with a few flimsy ribbons? Climbing the side of the building using a swaying rope ladder? Yeah, really not too keen on that.

BUT, I had to do what I had to do, so I did all the challenges given to me. I may have screamed myself hoarse and punctured a few eardrums in the process, but in the end, what matters is that we were able to complete most of the tasks, and even ended up snagging second place.

Too bad everyone was so into the Amazing Race that nobody thought of bringing a camera along. We had some pretty memorable experiences with the challenges that would’ve been great if caught on film.

The event ended that weekend, but the Kaizen mindset has just begun. I’ve already started by taking a crash course on Photoshop, and I’m planning on learning so much more than that.

Huzzah for initiative!

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