Walking the Mohawk

Walking the Mohawk
By Leonard

Chances are that if you come for a full-day teambuilding programme with FOCUS Adventure and that your HR Department has recommended an activity in which trust, support and communication are the key learning outcomes, you would have encountered, and stepped on a high-tension cable which looks like this (picture, left).
When given the challenge by the FOCUS facilitators, the reactions from the ground may vary from one of ‘Okay man, just do it!’ to ‘Are you sure that wire can support me?’

For the record, the Mohawk Walk is a tribe, a language, specie of bird as well as a hairstyle. However, knowing this wouldn’t help your entire team traverse the stainless steel cables, especially under time pressure. Moreover, this article is not a secret manual – it is a post-activity reflection which your team members may use to aid their personal and corporate reflection.

In your team’s experience with the Mohawk Walk, did you find any parallel with your office or work scenario? If there are, what are they? Indeed, many of our participants find it both exciting and challenging to put their feet on the 350mm cable. However, with sufficient safety briefing, planning and skilful facilitation, fear will only be a perception, not a reality.

The following are some questions which act as a trigger for your post-activity reflection:

1. Would your team have succeeded if there was no time for planning? What is the relevance of the R and D (Research and Development) time given to your team to the team projects that you engage in frequently?

2. The ‘Human Washing Machine’ is usually done before the Mohawk Walk. Would the activity have been more or less successful if this background activity was not carried out? Why? What can we learn from this?

3. Was it difficult for your team to walk the Mohawk without having any bodily contact between the people on the wire and the people below? How did your team overcome this challenge?

4. Spend some time to recall the dialogue, conversations and/or the verbal expressions which took place. What were the helpful expressions and what were the ones which did not help? Again, what can we take away from this?

5. Team support is evidently required for this activity to be successful. How does it parallel your work situation?

6. Another interesting point to note is the concern, or fear, shown on the team-members faces while they are traversing the cable. Fear does a lot of things, most of the time unproductive, for the individuals on board. Have you notice the visual target of your teammates? Where do they look, usually? Do they look at the floor, in front of them or the pole? Does it help?

The Mohawk Walk is an immensely challenging activity which requires the commitment and support of everyone on the ground. We hope that the activity has given your team a fruitful time. We also hope that you are also able to translate the experiential learning into your workplace.