The XVenture Corporate Challenge Cairns features 14 teams vying for supremacy in a series of physical and mental challenges. Events such as these have become more popular on the corporate calendar as the benefits they provide to companies and their employees become more tangible. Organisations see them as an invaluable opportunity to reinforce core values like leadership, excellence and knowledge.
The events demand teamwork, strong communication and evaluation skills, demonstrate how companies value the health and wellbeing of their staff and are an opportunity to interact with the broader community.
“We’re very focused on showcasing the personality of CPA Australia and making sure that we widen the audience that might be interested in what CPA Australia is and what we do,” says Paul Wappett, executive general manager, strategy, CPA Australia, and team captain. “We felt this was a good vehicle for us to get our point across to a segment of the Australian audience.”
Wappett says it was also an opportunity to provide some excitement for the staff and do something that would make them feel proud of the organisation they work for.
“The challenges themselves provided a pressure-filled environment to practice the things that make great teams being clear about roles, managing time well, having clear communications and being cohesive, especially in times of pressure,” Wappett says.
I've never believed we can do anything in life unless we do it as a team. Mike Conway, Xventure series creator.
He says when the series airs CPA Australia’s participants will talk to staff about the importance of those messages and how they relate to day-to-day business life.
“I’ve never believed we can do anything in life unless we do it as a team,” says XVenture series creator Mike Conway. “I’ve seen businesses struggle through times like the global financial crisis and realise that to be successful we’ve got to stick together.
“Most organsiations spend their time translating what they do into products and services but the really significant things about every organisation is their people.” Other participants this year included PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bupa, the Bank of Queensland, Hertz, Nivea and Striker.
We can’t tell you too much, that would spoil the show. But Leah MacGibbon, online communications manager, member knowledge, for CPA Australia, kept a diary of he rtime in Cairns. Far from being exhausted, Leah’s keen to do it all over again.
The brainstorm challenge
We had to devise a creative strategy to promote Tropical North Queensland. Paul, our team leader, was very clear about reading the instructions carefully and checking that we understood the task. He assigned roles based on our experience. I guess it was like a boardroom environment for him, the pressure was on and he needed to make quick decisions. That night Matt Welsh, an elite Australian swimmer, gave a presentation on his Olympic Games experience. The key takeaway for me was to think about how I could help my team and not compete against them. After each challenge, we did a team debrief. This day I learnt that even if you don’t know how to do something well, it’s always best to give it a go. I also realised that sometimes you need someone looking at the whole process and not just working within it.
The empire-building challenge
This was a challenge that required logic and communications, and a focus on process. I think we did really well. Only a few people could work on it at a time so we had to be comfortable stepping back and letting others do the work. That was really about assessing whose skills were best suited to the task. That night big-wave surfer Mark Visser spoke to us. He once survived a night‑surfing challenge, and his message was about never giving up, always believing in yourself and the importance of surrounding yourself with the right supportive people.
Wall Street challenge
This was fantastic! This challenge showed how preparationand planning is key to everything you do. The speaker thatnight was former Ironman champion and surf lifesaverGuy Leech. His story was about looking after your healthand mental wellbeing in order to live a long and happy life.
White-collar rafting challenge
Our final challenge was a race to the end and was exhilarating. We all did a big “Rah! Rah!”, it was such a great sense of achievement surviving the whole competition. That night, former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh spoke on his charity for children with rare diseases. It reminded me to be thankful every day for what I’ve got.
Paul Wappett, executive general manager, strategy, CPA Australia
The greatest thing I got out of this was an understanding that under pressure, it’s even more important to ensure the team understands what its objectiveis, to constantly test assumptions, to keep communication high while you’re in the middle of these challenges and to debrief afterwards not with the idea of finding fault, but to work out what we might do better next time.
The Wall Street challenge was a really intense mental challenge that required precision and really clear communication. I found that one enjoyable.
One of the team‑building lessons that emerged from the Challenge was the importance of cohesion as a team, the importance of checking in to see how each person was feeling during the course of the week.
All of that played on our ability to work together under pressure. For me, it was really basic team-building principles but they became more crucial in that environment, so it made me realise how important it is, on a daily basis, to check in on the team.
Fourteen teams representing corporate Australia competed in this year’s inaugural XVenture Corporate Challenge in Cairns, north Queensland. Over four days they faced off in a series of physical and mental challenges.They competed for money that enabled them to move forward in the competition, all the while striving to snare the winner’s trophy. The eight-part series will screen on Saturda yat 11.00am from 10 December on Channel ONE.