It’s Christmas Party season and we’ve noticed a difference in the soiree schedule this year. The old early knock-off and generous bar tab seems to be right out of vogue. More and more companies are planning active adventures to celebrate the end of a productive year.
One Tauranga company took its whole team down near Taumarunui for two days, booked in to a catered lodge, and cycled the Pureora Timber Trail. The team had been training together and, thanks to the magic of electric bikes, every staff member was able to take part.
A builder we know is taking a team of 20 on a fishing charter in the Coromandel – he’s paying the night’s accommodation, transport and the charter, and his staff are looking after their own food and drinks.
Meanwhile I managed to convince our R + A team to celebrate a huge year (our first employee, new inner-city premises and our second employee!) with a walk up Mount Maunganui last Friday, after which I lost my voting rights so the rest of the day involved spa treatments and a long lunch.
Christmas parties should be about cementing and celebrating the authentic bond within your team – and, increasingly, that’s leading to events where the focus is less on alcohol and more on a shared activity. Many workplaces are choosing to thank and appreciate their staff with a game of beach cricket, a full-day hike, clay bird shooting or an afternoon at TECT All Terrain Park.
And what I find interesting is that networking is also getting more high-octane. Once upon a time deals were struck on golf courses – but it looks like mountain biking might be the new golf. It’s faster-paced, doesn’t take half a day and you still get to drool over the beauty and technical wizardry of each other’s kit.
Mountain biking has grown in popularity over the past decade and is now a common activity for Kiwi families and individuals. Many business people take time out of their working week to jump on a bike and join a group ride before breakfast or in their lunch break. It’s healthy, it models excellent work-life balance and – like golf – it’s a great way to build your business.
Genuine friendships are quickly forged in these riding groups and, amongst all the banter, business relationships soon follow. One of my friends went mountain biking with a group of lads and by the end of the trip, he’d built enduring relationships and won a number of new clients. They got to know him, decided he was a good guy and chose to switch their business over to him. He didn’t go on the trip to win new clients, but it sure helped justify the trip away!
Similarly, I ride off-road with a group of women on a Sunday and mountain bike with another group during the week. While I’m not there to grow my business, and it’s usually the last thing I’m thinking about as I’m peddling like mad and laughing my head off, these women all know what I do and that profile is good for business.
So, just as it’s no longer virtually mandatory for the work Christmas do to involve hours of binge drinking, it’s also no longer essential that you either play golf or sign up to formal networking opportunities to grow your network. You can just get on your bike!
If you get a chance over the Christmas break, consider lining up a two-wheeled adventure to kick off 2018. New Zealand boasts world-class tracks such as the Waikato River Trails, the Old Ghost Road, Ohakune’s Old Coach Road, the Motu Trails and – of course – The Redwoods in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest. An adventure in the great outdoors can be good for our bodies, our minds and our business networks.
From all of us here at Ryan and Alexander, have a great break. Enjoy the time with those you love and rest up – I’ve got a feeling 2018 is going to be a cracker of a year!
Pureora Timber Trail – http://www.thetimbertrail.com/
Waikato River Trails – http://www.waikatorivertrails.co.nz/
The Old Ghost Road – https://oldghostroad.org.nz/
Ohakune Old Coach Road – http://www.ohakunecoachroad.co.nz/pages/bike-trail.html
The Motu Trails – http://www.motutrails.co.nz/
The Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest – https://redwoods.co.nz/