The IG Way of Team Building

Have you ever had to face against your boss in a head-to-head, mano a mano, kill-or-be-killed Smash Bros. match? No? Well, you’re definitely missing out.

I had the pleasure of competing against my boss in the popular Wii-U Smash Bros. game during our “Team Builder” exercise. Mind you, neither of us had ever played the game. I was nervous, to say the least. What if I let my teammates down? What if I can’t get the hang of the controls? What if I lose my job (yes, she did threaten in jest that my job was on the line)? My own doubts were overwhelming. But to all outward appearances, I was calm, cool and collected. I glanced over at my boss, gave a nod of my head, and told her, “You’re on.”

The battle began. Both of us pressing random buttons in hopes of knocking the other off the battlefield. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the t.v. with each team encouraging their respective player. But in that moment, something special happened. Something we all thought was understood, but had never quite felt. Between the laughter, the cleanest trash talk you’ll ever hear, and all around good vibe, we became a family. Not just the mantra of a “family” described in most company handbooks, but the actual sense of the word.

In that moment, we knew that we would rival like typical siblings, but that we would always have each other’s backs. We knew that the tough times were still ahead of us, but we would be there to encourage and help one another. We knew that our opinions and processes would differ, and more than likely cause us to bicker, but we understood that everyone would have good intentions (just like when your family stages an intervention because they think your obsession with Assassin’s Creed is unhealthy – I know you meant well mom and dad). We were no longer a team that thought of itself as family. We were a family that just so happened to be working together as a team.

When we think back to that day, I don’t believe anyone remembers what was said. All we recall is the fun we had, the unspoken trust we built, and Cameron pulling a suicide stunt with Kirby by swallowing Aj’s character and jumping off the field. No, we don’t have that much fun every day in the office. But we get pretty close.

In the end, I knocked my boss’s lives off one by one, until she was finally defeated. For the record, my team won (barely) and I got to keep my job. Now that’s a win-win if there ever was one.