Teambuilding in Borneo – beyond the comfort zone

Not all teambuilding participants are created equal. Plenty of adventurous go-getters are eager to sleep under the stars in remote hillsides, but team-building experts relish the challenge of encouraging the less gung ho.

However, the coaxing of wary participants on an adventure-based corporate retreat does not come in the form of a boot-camp berating, but rather through working with the team and using proven techniques that encourage group members to co-operate with one another.

David Powell, managing director of Kota Kinabalu-based Asia Ability, finds that group members who appear the most apprehensive are usually the people who benefit most from the various team-bonding challenges in the hills and jungles of Sabah, Malaysia Borneo.

“Ironically, it’s the individuals who seem the most nervous who are most likely to enjoy and get the most benefit from pursuits, whether it be white-water rafting, ziplining or camping out overnight,” says Powell.

Asia Ability works with multinationals headquartered in Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere across the region. Clients usually want to bring out the leadership skills in their executives or encourage them to be calmly confident and resourceful in dealing with challenges or meeting targets. By taking office-bound staff out of their comfort zone, the aim is to tap into that hidden grit and determination of the survivalist. The difference is, however, is that corporate participants learn how to contain and direct those instincts to persevere and lead for the good of their teams.

Groups can opt for an activity centre less than a three-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu’s international airport, or the company’s centres in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. Events are also run across the region through Asia Ability’s teambuilding and adventure agency partners, or its sister company, Ability Expeditions, which offers tailored programmes that bring groups deeper into Borneo.

Powell adds that the attraction of Kota Kinabalu
for corporate retreat organisers is its location: about a two-hour flight from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, and within five hours of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

Treks through Sabah jungle and rafting on the river that flows alongside the adventure centre may sound a logistical nightmare for group organisers, but Powell says the base is not far from the luxury hotels of Kota Kinabalu and there is a Shangri-La nearby.
This can offer group participants a reward after 
nights of camping out or a day of teambuilding at the activity centre.

 “Some would prefer a ‘soft’ camping 
experience,” says Powell. “So that means showers, toilets, mosquito nets and comfortable bedding. 
It’s all about bringing a team together and giving them a shared experience and drawing out 
their talents.”

With ziplining, trekking, tackling suspension bridges and rafting among the adventure experiences, safety is a core value at the centres with rigorous international standards adhered to and experienced guides including former military personnel trained in adventure activities.

David Powell is managing director of Asia Ability. He was speaking to Martin Donovan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>