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.
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.
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.
James Henstridge -
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.
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.
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!
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.