Big sleepout a success in more ways than one

Big sleepout a success in more ways than one | Insurance Business

Big sleepout a success in more ways than one
The group of IAG New Zealand executives who slept rough for charity last week would certainly have been appreciating the warmth and comfort of their own beds with renewed zeal over the weekend.

While CEO Jacki Johnson encouraged her seven colleagues to get a cold, hard lesson in what it feels like to be homeless to raise money for an excellent cause, the experience will undoubtedly also prove to be a terrific bonding experience, says team building expert Jenny Gray.

Gray, founder of The Team Building Company, Tauranga, says: “Taking the team out of the office environment will have challenged them by providing new experiences and opportunities to think outside the square.
“That in turn will enable them to be creative in their problem solving and show them how to take charge if a real crisis occurs at work.

Gray says the experience will improve trust, respect, communication and relationships, which are essential qualities for any well-functioning team.

“It will also enable the team to be motivated to take on new challenges which can lead to improved performance,” she says.  

Gray says team building is essential to break down any barriers that may be present, and will ensure the team is connected, that it works in unity and can also show them they are valued.

While not everyone may be willing to go too far out of their comfort zone for work or for a good cause, Gray says activities to encourage team building don’t need to be complex to be effective.

It is essential however, to ensure the whole team can participate, regardless of ability or agility.

“It’s important to ensure that activities are linked to focused outcomes such as improving communication, understanding, relationships and overall effectiveness.  

“New experiences that require a team to work together can improve their ability to think rationally and strategically therefore improving productivity.”

The eight-strong team managed to raise over $25,000 from sponsorship for the Lifewise Big Sleepout, with COO Allan Dornan raising the highest individual amount of $4,050.

Says Jacki Johnson: “The IAG executive team all personally showed commitment to supporting the Lifewise Big Sleepout.

“Lifewise is an organisation that is trying to address complex social issues such as homelessness. As insurers, we must face up to the fact that when people are marginalised, the risk within a society for those individuals and community increase.

“We decided to help out by sleeping rough for one night which has helped raise our personal awareness of these issues. Thank you to everyone out there who supported us in raising more than $25,000.”

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