On Friday 10th September the entire staff of our brand marketing agency headed south to Folly Farm (several miles west of Bath) to herd sheep with our client, Raising the Baa. Raising the Baa run corporate team building days involving sheep in the great outdoors. We were all really excited at the prospect of a day out although, unfortunately, we had to leave Darrell at home as he was still feeling the after effects of an attack of Covid.
As I prepared to leave the house it was raining hard one minute and sunny, bright and warm the next. I compromised and tied an anorak around my waist and left my wellies at home, borrowing my daughter’s walking shoes instead.
On arrival at the field I was met by Chris, the head shepherd and joint CEO of Raising the Baa. He greeted me and asked me where my wellies were. Oh dear. We walked into the field of drenched, long grass and soon the borrowed walking shoes (and my feet) were soaked.
Caroline, the other CEO and head shepherdess, and the rest of the Cre8ion team were waiting in a neighbouring field, seated on bales of straw and drinking tea from Caroline’s outdoor kitchen (a trestle table and urn in the corner of an orchard). Chris and Caroline’s Land Rover was parked by the straw bales, set up as a makeshift cinema with a screen in the back to show us the teaching video. There was a chemical toilet on the far side of the field behind a willow screen (just in case you were wondering).
Chris and Caroline are professionals and they prepared us well for what was about to happen. A presentation from the back of the Land Rover entailed teaching and learning regarding sheep, herding and health and safety considerations. They treated us like royalty and everything ran seamlessly, until we met the sheep, who weren’t quite as straightforward as Chris and Caroline!
I don’t want to give away any secrets here though by telling you everything that happened with those sheep in that field. It would be a crime to spoil any of the surprises in store as the whole experience with raising the Baa is so uplifting and worthwhile. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any team and wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone.
I’ll just say this… that herding the sheep was way outside are usual frame of reference. Yet, at the same time, our team is so strong that it didn’t matter and everybody had their chance to shine. Well, actually, to be honest, I believe our herding performance was pretty average, although we did get a thumbs up from Chris for being a delight to work with! As the afternoon drew to a close and we headed off to the Carpenters Arms for dinner our team felt stronger than ever. We had succeeded in the herding task, albeit after a long struggle, and it felt great! Only Jon wasn’t feeling it as he had a stomach bug and had to get an Uber home before dinner.
There were so many reasons why the experience was thoroughly enjoyable. Running around with the team in a beautiful rural location on a quiet, late summer afternoon was lovely enough in itself. Added to this the fact of getting to meet new members of the team who had joined the company over the course of lockdown. They’d been seen on the screen but not been met in the flesh. I feel that I know them a lot better now, in spite of only having spent a short time together. Finally, I couldn’t commend Chris and Caroline’s leadership, laughs and encouragement, cups of tea and home made cake more highly.
I can confidently say that a day spent in a field with your team and Raising the Baa learning to herd ten cute, woolly sheep might be just what the doctor ordered, especially considering the dreary season we have all just lived through. Furthermore, the activity itself is ‘Covid-friendly’ as the team activities take place in the open air in beautiful countryside. There really aren’t many other people present and all necessary Covid precautions are taken. Your team will learn a lot about themselves, how they cooperate with each other (or not) and how their teamwork can improve.
So, what are you waiting for? Just don’t forget your wellies.