Have you ever heard about what an actuator is? I did not know this term before our phamax offsite 2016 in Goa. In the end of April, the whole team took a plane to spend some time together in the southwest of India. Besides the beach, the Sun, DJ nights, pool and dancing, we also had a few team activities.
Some people are of the view that team activities are boring. I would say it depends – on the team and the activity. With the phamax team, there is no boring activity. And building an actuator is definitely a special kind of measurement of team building!
Coming back to the term, the online dictionary tells us that an actuator is “a servomechanism that supplies and transmits a measured amount of energy for the operation of another mechanism or system”. In other words – you give an input of energy and ideally the energy should be transferred through a construct of mechanisms until the end. My personal definition for an actuator is “a creative and innovative challenge that enables and brings out the best in teams“. This is what happened with our phamax team in Goa.
And it goes like this: separate a group into little groups of five people each, distribute them around tables and give them a lot of different materials they can work with. After a time, tell them to connect with the other teams to bring everything together. Sounds so easy, but it is really challenging! Each team has to try to use the available resources to come up with the perfect creative output within the set timeframe. It is extremely engaging and a lot of fun. Every person is demanded to brainstorm and come up with ideas to solve problems and overcome challenges.
Building an actuator was not just one kind of a team activity, it was actually a model of how to reach our vision in 2020. It was about using the intelligence of the crowd, the resources, talents, gifts and skills of everyone and bringing it together to make it work as a whole. It was about conquering the fear of failure and using challenges as opportunities. It was about never giving up and supporting each other on the journey. It showed us that the most important thing is to work together! This activity modelled on how everything is possible as a team. We in phamax believe that we need everybody in the team to complete our mission.
Together we are strong!