Yeah! You were on fire! Awesome!

On Monday, I was exposed to US-style motivational speaking and team building. There was an element of forced enthusiasm in the team building company employees. Overall it was okay, but frustrating at times.

At the end they taught us to punch through flaming boards of wood. I was only on fire for a little while.

5 Comments

  1. John
    Posted 16 November, 2006 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Excellent, I am sure you will now be able to write better code, achieve higher availability figures all with your new flaming hands. I really do wonder why companies fall for this team building, when typically all employees want to know is that what they do is appreciated, fairly treated and paid accordingly.

  2. Posted 16 November, 2006 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    You might want to check out the Penn and Teller “Bullsh*t” episode called “Self Helpless” about all the motivational speaker tricks (like punching through boards, walking into arrows, etc). Pretty funny, and a good way to deprogram from the hysteria. If you feel so inclined, you might want to share it with your corporate masters.

  3. Posted 16 November, 2006 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    CraigM: there wasn’t much of a trick to punching through the board. It was a simple pine board cut across the grain. If you hit one with enough force, it breaks easily.

    The fire was from some lighter fluid sprayed onto the wood beforehand, so the actual wood was not on fire.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted 17 November, 2006 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    George Will once said that football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings.

    You’ve actually done it one better: violence and committee meetings at the same time, and made mandatory!

    Welcome to America, the greatest country on earth … except for, you know, some of those other ones.

  5. SteveA
    Posted 20 November, 2006 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    I can confirm that one of the assistants really did say to jamesh “Yeah! You were on fire! Awesome!”

    If someone had fallen down and twisted their ankle, I expect he would have said “Yeah! You totally twisted your foot all the way around! Awesome!”

    Freak woodchipper accidents? “Yeah! You totally blended yourself into twenty thousand bloody pieces! Awesome!”

    After chatting with a few of the other managers at Canonical, I think I can say that the session jamesh described will be our first and final experiment with american-style pumped-up team building. Although… the “how the crap do we get through this seven foot high web of ropes” exercise was fun. I liked that one.