Team building...a form of mandatory corporate punishment designed to create harmony within the work place; an obligatory way of bonding with colleagues who probably don’t even like you to begin with, yet every year, our faithful marketing team devises a plan to improve communication and systems based on the woes and worries of fellow employees. For three whole days, we are snatched out of our comfort zones and thrown into a retreat of wooden mud-huts and luxury ablutions, forced to make river rafts and sit through five hour Powerpoint presentations about how and what we should be doing to boost sales, and while the end result has us all singing Kumbayah around a raging campfire, I couldn't help but wonder just how effective a Bosberaad really was?
Somewhere between the tightrope challenge and walking the plank, I started thinking about the word "team" and its relevance to relationships. Just like many business arrangements, a partnership involves trust between two or more people working together to achieve the same long-term goals. Marriage, a house in the valley, a modern family. Whatever the objective, the success of any relationship is based entirely on the way we function together as a single unit. We are after all only as strong as our weakest link, so when communication and unity seem to be out of sync, is it necessary for couples to engage in certain activities in order to get back on track?
"Date night. You need to find a way of reconnecting with each other. Whether it's once a week or once a month, you need to set aside some time for each other outside the social arena." For the sake of my sanity and our relationship, Aiden and I had employed a love guru to facilitate certain "team building" exercises of our own. Once a week, we met at with Dr. Ruth's office to discuss the gradual decline of our relationship status. We needed to become one again and work as a unit, and even though Aiden was just a couch away, the distance between us of late felt wider than the Kimberly Mines.
"Try and remember why the two of you fell in love with each in the first place. When was that moment?" To be honest, I could not remember which is one of the reasons Aiden and I were there in the first place. The wall that I had built around my heart was the highest it had ever been but one by one, Dr. Ruth had devised a strategy to improve trust, unity and consistency. Just like our recent work event, I decided to pack light and give it a try, even though the baggage was on overload. The cynic inside me kept wondering just how long it would be before we found ourselves back at square one. Would these simple exercises really help us reconnect or were they just a temporary fix to delay the inevitable?
"And then there's the issue of communication which links back to your issues of trust." Her beady little eyes moved away from Aiden and found a way back to me. "You both have a lot of work to do but you have to start with honesty and being able to open up with one another. You need to talk and listen no matter how uncomfortable the topic. Tolerate each other in a non-destructive manner, and if you feel as though things are too heated, use a safe word like "amber." Either Dr. Ruth had dabbled in some S&M back in her younger days or she had just paraphrased a line from Jassy MacKenzie's latest masterpiece. For R850 an hour, "amber" and date night had better work.
Relationships are teamwork at its best and just like the old saying goes, there is no "I" in "team". Without collaboration and equal amounts of team spirit and support, a well oiled machine can easily break down. The internal issues of a partnership need to be confronted sooner rather than later which is why we need to explore new and innovative ways of reconnecting, even if it means paying a facilitator to help you work through the pink elephant in the room. Over-packing for the wild outdoors is sensible but permanent excess baggage will only bring you and your team down.
When it comes to bonding, do relationships need a Bosberaad for love?