Sunday | 11. June 2017

Learning at the Lake: Media Management Master Class Builds Rafts as Teambuilding Exercise


Constructing rafts has a long tradition in teambuilding measures. On May 29th, the 3rd semester Media and Communication Management Master class students took up the challenge, channeled their inner craftsmen and built two rafts at Tegeler See as part of their seminar “Leadership Styles and Self Management”.


Every good team needs different actors – in business life and in free time activities. Although building rafts seems to be as far away from completing everyday working challenges in an office as one could imagine, it has been proven to be an extremely useful tool to both find out more about one’s approach to task fulfillment and improving team spirit amongst colleagues.

Therefore, on May 29th Media Management Professor Dr. Astrid Friese took her master class from the 3rd semester Media and Communication Management for an unusual field trip far off northwest from Berlin’s city center to Tegeler See: On a beautiful summer day at the lake, the students were asked to form two groups and compete in a raft crafting challenge against each other under guidance of educator Benjamin Ziep from Wildnisschule Berlin.

Teambuilding Through Role Assignment vs. Improvisation

After having seen a rough model of a raft only for five minutes, the students had to decide which material to use and how to transform loose wood and ropes into a moving, waterproof vehicle – not an easy task! What seemed like a mere fun exercise in the beginning was therefore soon revealed to be a test for group coherence, communication skills and personal working strategies: While one group assigned clear roles and planned the construction process carefully before starting the actual work, the other group, the “Doers”, just started working, improvised and lent a hand wherever needed.

In the end, both group approaches successfully led to the construction of actually floating rafts – who would have thought that team spirit and strength of the body could be brought to such results without having a single clue about construction work?

Reflection: How Raft Crafting Can Reveal Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

After competing against each other in a rally on the lake, both teams had to reflect about their strategies to fulfill the task and the processes that went down during the construction within the team: What happens in such a fun environment can actually be an insightful reflection of personal dynamics in the working place. One important finding of the day: While some people approach a task learning by doing and others like to plan ahead carefully, both tactics can lead to a successful outcome – and a bulletproof team should always combine both types.

Not only the students enjoyed this unusual class at the lake to the fullest, also professor Astrid Friese was more than happy with the outcome of the teambuilding challenge: “This day was an excellent opportunity to find out more about every student’s personal working style. It was amazing watching how all students put their talents, spirits and efforts together in this heated up challenge!“

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One happy Media and Communication Management Master class: Raft Crafting has been proven to be an excellent team building measure.

The Master class showed different approaches to the task: improvisation vs. carefully planning ahead.

In the end, both strategies led to successfully floating rafts.

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