“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success!”
I joined Tacto a month ago. I was the first non-tech person on the team and my role had me thinking that I’d be a misfit among a clique of technologists. After a week I stopped worrying about this. Everybody was in their own silos and there was very little interaction. Even though my personality found this uncomfortable, I took solace in the fact that I wasn’t a misfit.
While Sharmil and Anuj were clearly workaholics, the team got caught between work and frolic. No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate an entrepreneur is, success will depend on his/her ability to build and inspire a team. A team can only be inspired by some common ground. It can’t just be a common vision and goals.. there have to be team events!!!
This happened last week on Thursday, when suddenly in between of a serious brainstorming discussion Sharmil and Anuj got up and announced that on Friday we would be heading to a nearby place called Smaaash for a team event. We all were shocked and were trying to figure out what was happening. From blank stares we started whispering and slowly I found myself getting excited and talking to everyone in the team about what kind of event this would be and what this place Smaaash was all about. It would be our first experience at Smaaash, but more importantly this was my first interaction with everyone in the team. I found ourselves eager for the next day to arrive…
On Friday, the anticipation of the event in the second half kept the decibel level in the office higher than usual. Sharmil & Anuj had briefed us about Smaaash and we had spent some time on the website looking at all the games the place had to offer. Most of the games would require teams. Since we all didn’t know each other too well, we wondered what the team composition would be and how we were going to play together as a team.
Sharmil had worked out a package deal with Smaaash and these were the activities that were going to be made available to us:
We were given 2 lanes so we had to divide ourselves in to two teams. Sujith and Ved already started being vocally competitive. We all wanted to be in the winning team but we had no clue who would be strong or who would be weak. Since neither of us knew who was better between Sharmil and Anuj, we started taking half chances and .. voila.. the following two teams were made:
- Team Anuj: Anuj | Akshay | Gaurav | Madhuri | Ved
- Team Sharmil: Sharmil | Chintal | Naresh | Samruddhi | Sujith
As the game began, the awkwardness also began to vanish. Each team started cheering themselves and booing the other. After a few frames when it was clear that Anuj was a Strike King and was going to lead his pack to victory, each team started being more supportive to individuals. Naresh, our most reserved colleague surprised all of us by winning the league from Sharmil’s team. We ended up enjoying the experience as a team instead of of our selfish focus on being winners.
The cricket game at Smaaash has always been its selling point. It was no surprise that the men were eager to play and the women were satisfied to watch them play. The technology behind the cricket game at Smaaash is quite innovative and it was exciting for the guys to bat against the virtual avatars of famous bowlers. Each person would be getting 5 overs and had to put up the maximum number of runs on the board. Akshay was the first one to take strike and was bold enough to choose the “County” level which was told to us would be very hard to play. After one over he got modest and asked to play the “Amatuer” level which ended up being more profitable and a lot more fun. It was again Anuj who was methodical in his play and ended up posting the most runs. As each one got off the pitch, I sensed from them a feeling of rejuvenation and revival.
Oculus-Virtual Reality And XD – Xtreme Interactive Theatre
While the guys were setting themselves for cricket, Madhuri, Samrudhii and I started exploring the world of virtual reality. The Rift is a virtual reality head-mounted display developed by Oculus VR. Scary as ever, to see those zombies attacking you and when you look down you get to know you’re on the top-most floor of the building and if you lose the balance you’ll fall down and if you move ahead the zombies are waiting to attack. All you had to do is to maintain your balance and be courageous to attack the zombies. While zombies aren’t real and there would be no chance I would ever find myself at such a height, the visual experience of Oculus Virtual reality was incredible to experience. There was a point in this game when I got so scared seeing a zombie in front of me – all ready to attack, and as most gals I would have jumped off the building, I heard my colleagues screaming from behind not to give-up and not to look down. They kept cheering aloud not caring about their surroundings which helped me overcome my fear and move ahead slowly and carefully, and hit the zombies. Each one of us stood up for each other and didn’t let anyone give up. Madhuri scored the most with her Zombie kills, Samrudhii also did quite well and since I was s**t scared of zombies, I decided to just shake hands with them and invite them for dinner
We walked back from Smaaash to the Tacto office and just sat there for half an hour discussing our experience. The event had changed the dynamics of the team. We had just learnt about each others strength, fears and preferences, none of which were work related. For many of us, this was a much needed ice-breaker and is now allowing us to be collaborate with each other with ease.
It is not that easy to nurture a cooperative spirit among the people from various geographies, backgrounds and skill-sets but an attempt had been made at creating a common ground at Tacto. The four walls now feel purposeful and I see the people within these walls as more than just a face.
Today, we can so easily and freely interact with each other..
- Have lunch together
- Help each other to resolve issues
- Sit and have fun during chai time in the evening
- Discuss the nitty gritty aspects of a project in order to make it a huge success
I suppose that all of this wasn’t experienced much earlier, and for the sake of Tacto and my colleagues, current and new ones, I hope this environment and culture grows, as does the company, and as do such team events.