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In trying to climb "The Wall" at Texas-based Brinker International's challenge course, restaurant manager Gene Griffin initially thought that scaling the three-story-high, slightly concave wall would be a cinch; after all, she was in good shape and determined.
Focused on reaching the top, Griffin doggedly worked her way up the wall, using the handholds. "But I was worn out two-thirds of the way up," she says. "I couldn't do it." Afterwards, she realized, "If I had refocused - not thought so much about me and the wall - and listened to the advice of the people on the ground below me, I could have done it. But I had gone in with a cocky attitude."
Since that day three years ago, she has scaled the wall twice. "It made me realize that my personal success really does depend on other people."
Griffin says the experience was an easy one to apply to her workplace - Chili's, a restaurant in McKinney, Texas. "At the restaurant, we all have to work together as a team to make our customers happy. There's no getting around it. The success of each of us is dependent on the other."
More companies are learning that having their work groups navigate a course of mental and physical challenge activities can teach them worlds about working together. And that can translate into better team relationships, group dynamics and cooperation, communication, and profits.
Challenge courses - or cooperation courses, as they're sometimes called - typically consist of a "low …