Getting out a tight spot

“It’s your turn,” our manager said. Every month, the company will allocate a budget to a team build; this month, it’s your team’s turn to organize and ensure everyone enjoys it.

He handed me the money, and I could barely feel it in the palm of my hand.

Wow, it’s time to get creative, I thought. We sat down to brainstorm ideas, and the best idea we could come up with was to buy beer, wine, and ciders. And to do egg races, war cries, and throw water balloons at each other—very outside-of-the-box thinking.

The only accessible venue I knew about was a Botanical Garden in Johannesburg next to a dam where my friends and I often went to have a picnic or to play ball.

The day was finally here. And our team entered the gardens with crates filled with beer. The sky was turning nasty shades of dark blue, and I was hoping that the rain would wait out another day. Our team hung water balloons in trees and crafted our playground in a beautiful garden section.

20 minutes later, the rest of the company arrived, and next to them was an artillery of security guards. “Who is in charge here,” they asked.

My team chose to point at me. “Please come with us,” the strict security guard said, sounding like I was being called to the Principal’s office.

I was sprinting to keep up with the security guard as he raced to the other side of the gardens. Doomsday music was playing in the background. We reached the offices, and a tall, scowling lady with a booming voice asked:

“Have you booked your event with us?”

“No, we have never booked to come here. We’ve always thought coming to the botanical gardens was free.”

“Here in the by-laws, it says: for any group larger than 10, we ask a fee of R6000, and all bookings must be paid to the office in advance”.

Struggling to find the words, I said, “No problem, we weren’t aware; I can do an EFT now with my cellphone. Do you want to give me the banking details?”

“NO, it’s not possible. The person who does all our bookings has already left for the day. You can’t pay for bookings for today. You will have to leave.” I could imagine everyone’s disappointment.

But luckily, I had an NLP trick up my sleeve.

We are terribly sorry; we weren’t aware of the booking fee, and it might rain any moment; how can we still have this team build and throw a few water balloons, do a few war cries, and run around in your gardens?

There was silence for a moment as her brain did a quick Google search.

“Move 300 meters to the right, out of the rose gardens.” She responded

I smiled and thanked her, and under the watchful eye of the security guard, I instructed our party to move out of the rose gardens.

Later that night, we ended the team building with wine, beer, and ciders. Dancing in the grass and reminiscing on what we would have done had we been thrown out of the gardens.

Have you ever been in a tight spot like I was, where you had to make a miracle happen?

✅I asked her mind for the answer. I focussed on what we wanted, our goal to have a peaceful team-building event in the gardens, and asked how it would be possible.

✅When we instruct the unconscious mind, it goes into a type of “Google search” looking for the answer. How about trying that out next time you are in a tight spot?

What other lessons are inside?

✅Is your business so stuck in its ways that only one person can receive payments? Could your inflexibility cost you?

✅Do you give autonomy to your teams, do you allow them to come up with their own team-build ideas and events? Or do you only have a top-down approach? Even though this team had a very small budget, they could be creative and it ended being a real morale booster.

If your team needs a booster, or some real transformation, I’d love you to book a discovery call with me.

Written by Yoke van Dam