We're back from the desert - energized and ready for 2023!
harmon.ie (and Collabria!) recently held a team-building trip at the Ramon Crater, located in Israel’s Negev Desert. This exciting adventure was all about getting us out of our comfort zones by taking risks and pushing ourselves to—and then past—our limits. The two-day event brought the team closer together and helped us get further aligned around our plans for 2023.
As harmon.ieans do - we didn't take our time to adjust slowly to the change, but rather kicked things off with a blast. Our first stop at the desert was sandboarding—think surfing or snowboarding on sandy dunes—a destabilizing experience for sure, that immediately got us out of our comfort zones. This incredibly fun experience definitely tested our limits, and a week later, we were still shaking sand out of our hair.
Next, we visited Sdeh Boker and learned about David Ben Gurion, the original Israeli comfort zone eschewer. The first prime minister of Israel was a proponent of pushing one’s own limits to achieve great things.
Even after retiring from office, Ben Gurion didn’t take the easy route, forgoing a cushy, decadent lifestyle to settle in a barren stretch of the desert. Accompanied by a band of enthusiastic twenty-somethings, they created a modern miracle by turning the desert green. Seeing this amazing progress and technical innovation still flourishing decades later set the tone for the trip.
We were reminded that even when the odds are against you while facing a seemingly impossible challenge, you can still achieve great things. While transforming how people collaborate and manage data might not be quite as daunting, it’s still a tough task that we’re confident we can achieve together.
After an eventful first day, the team settled in for an overnight camping experience at the Selina campsite in the desert. Although we were far from the bright lights of the big city, this chic glamping site was fully outfitted with everything our party needed after a long day of outdoor adventures.
After working up an appetite from surfing in the sand, we didn’t have to settle for trail mix and tinned rations. Instead, we were treated to a gourmet catered meal by chef Gili Altman. We then topped the evening off by toasting marshmallows and singing around a campfire.
Despite the opulent amenities and exquisite cuisine, camping in the desert was still an out-of-the-ordinary experience for most of us. The natural setting and lack of distractions created an amazing opportunity to bond as a team while enjoying the beauty of nature under the starry desert skies.
After a good night’s sleep, it was time to once again test our limits with another exhilarating day of adventure. We began with another activity far removed from our daily lives spent in front of our computers—rappelling down the side of Ramon Crater.
Rappelling is not for the faint-hearted, but we overcame our fears and conquered the challenge. Trusting our guides, companions, and equipment, we literally jumped off of cliffs and bounded down treacherous terrain. The adrenaline rush was exhilarating, giving us all a sense of achievement. With our colleagues by our sides cheering us on, we felt like there was nothing we couldn’t achieve as a team.
Next, we embarked on a 4x4 driving adventure through the desert. Cresting the dunes, kicking up sand, and taking in the incredible scenery was a bumpy and invigorating experience. With the wind whipping through our hair and the morning sun on our shoulders, we bonded as a team while remaining in awe of the natural beauty surrounding us.
We wrapped up our trip to the Negev with lunch and a tour of Shanti Bamidbar, an incredible project for at-risk youth. The Shanti team shared their stories and experiences with us, explaining how they help the less fortunate navigate difficult times and find success. While our day-to-day challenges in business pale in comparison to the obstacles these youth face, seeing how they’re continually lifted up by their supportive community was another reminder of the power of a cohesive, collaborative team.
One of the most inspiring moments came during our conversation with Anok, a former resident, who now works there, paying it forward by helping others. It was a great reminder that getting out of our comfort zones doesn't just benefit us; it can also motivate others to make a positive impact on society by solving problems we and others face.
A shared vision and purpose is a core requirement for creating and delivering product experiences that customers love. These efforts demand that we push ourselves and our colleagues beyond their comfort zones, seeking better and different ways to innovate.
Company events like this enable everyone to step back from the daily grind and routine. By exploring the desert together and supporting our teammates through uncomfortable and challenging experiences, we set the stage to push ourselves in our work as well. Working as a team to overcome physically and mentally demanding challenges in the Negev, we’ve built a foundation of trust and camaraderie that will pay dividends all year long.
Now, energized, inspired, and still finding sand in our shoes, we can focus on the work ahead and continue delivering better collaboration experiences for our customers. We’re excited about all 2023 has to offer and the opportunities the year will bring. If you’re interested in joining us on this journey, check out our job openings to see if you’re ready to push your own limits and take your career to the next level.