The Difference Between An OBT & A Picnic


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•   Often, employees are sent for outdoor activities to resorts or on theme park outings under the impression that these are Outward Bound Training (OBT) programmes. 
•   However, just because an activity is conducted outdoors, it cannot be defined as an OBT, or a Team Building event, which is a type of OBT. 

What is an OBT?

•   OBT programmes take participants out of their familiar settings and put them into unfamiliar and challenging situations that are specially structured to focus on specific training needs. 

•   The difficult situation or activity is not enough in itself, like for e.g. in a trek. 

•   In an OBT, the facilitator uses the situation or activity as a tool to allow participants to discover the solutions.

The differences between a picnic/outing and an OBT



  Activities are fun, but not necessarily challenging

Activities are fun, but must have component of challenge and high perceived risk

  Meant for socialisation, unwinding and general bonding

Meant as a formal learning platform

  Activities need not be structured. They just flow naturally and   randomly

Activities must be tightly structured to bring out training aspects and highlight the KRAs

  Participation not compulsory

Participation must be enforced subtly by the structure of the programme

  Activities need not be scored or tracked

Activities have to be tracked and observed by a trained facilitator

  Post-activity facilitation not required

Post-activity process review by trained facilitator is a must to draw out the lessons and make action plans













Quack or doctor?

If you have an HR issue to be addressed, why take your employees for a picnic? It makes far more sense to take them for a programme that is specifically structured to address the HR issues you want resolved.

What to Look for in an OBT Program

•   A structured programme that highlights your training needs and addresses your KRAs
•   Challenging outdoor activities, with a high element of perceived risk, that take you out of your comfort zone; usually difficult to replicate indoors.
•   Activities that require active participation unlike theme-park games
•   Activities that demonstrate the cause and effect of individual and team actions
•   Periodic process reviews to highlight learnings brought out during the activities
•   Action plans to help implement the learnings when back in the workplace


What to Look for in an OBT Facilitator

•   Aptitude to integrate the activity and the training needs of the company
•   Ability to link the learnings from the activities to the work environment
•   Ability to interact with the participants at their level
•   Experience in training and facilitation vis-à-vis mere qualifications
•   Sensitive, with ability to pick up problem areas and behaviour patterns of participants
•   Ability to keep the atmosphere light and humorous, without mental or physical stress on the participant
•   Ability to integrate safety processes into the activity


What to Look for in an OBT Campsite

•   Privacy, with no spectators 
•   Tranquil atmosphere, close to nature, which encourages introspection
•   Integrated campsite where logistics are in place so that programmes run without hitch
•   Impeccable safety record and high standards of equipment maintenance
•   High standard of facility upkeep
•   High crew-to-participant ratio (4:1 at least)and quality of crew
•   International standards of quality certification