Disengage from the Grind to Build Teams

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Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $1M in startup discounts and mentorship from 50+ Institutional Investors. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.

4 min read

Startup teams are used to bonding over deadlines and the constant pressure to deliver but Tyler Welch, founder and CEO of Tyler’s Mystery Tours, offers a different approach to team building. Instead of connecting in work mode, he suggests that teams detach from their usual environment and embrace the unknown.

“I think it’s important for teams to disengage from the grind, to compete and create together in a totally immersive way that has nothing to do with their usual schedule. It ends up leading to being more productive at work,” he says.

Welch will be bringing some of his most innovative team-building activities to fnSummit, where he’ll also be sharing his thoughts on how to encourage creativity and build community among founders and staff. 

“I think it's important for teams to disengage from the grind, to compete and create together in a totally immersive way that has nothing to do with their usual schedule.” - @tysmysterytours Click To Tweet

Stepping into the unknown

Welch found his calling organically. Although trained as an aerospace engineer, he has always had a knack for planning activities. “My friends joke that I must be a ‘herding breed.’ When I’m traveling in a foreign country and I see people that seem a little lost, I’ll just say: “Let’s do something!.” 

To celebrate turning 30, he threw his first “mystery tour,” in which people came together to participate in group activities without knowing what was planned. It was such a success that he decided to bring the concept to companies and organizations, a venture that has proved highly successful. 

The sense of stepping into the unknown is a crucial aspect of his events. “The mystery part makes everyone more open minded. They go on this adventure together and they achieve things, and it brings a different sense of bonding,” says Welch.

“People just enter this shared space. It’s kind of like meditation in that the mind fully focuses on something different. Suddenly, they’re competing and interacting in new ways.” - @tysmysterytours Click To Tweet

What to expect at fnSummit: Building forts and old-school lawn games

Some of Welch’s clients ask for a competitive activity, while others want to work on collaborating on a project or just relaxing together. At the upcoming fnSummit, he’ll be offering some great options, including one his most popular activities – fort battles. This competitive game involves teams constructing large forts out of cardboard boxes that fit together like Lego and then mounting an offense and defense to protect their forts, all while playing dodgeball. 

“It’s a very strategic game and quite a good workout too. I’m just always amazed at how it brings out this youthful, fun spirit in everyone of any age or background,” says Welch.

For those who prefer a more creative vibe, Tyler’s Tours also offers a much-loved mini-golf-design activity. Teams are given “a crazy number of supplies,” and are asked to design and build the mini golf hole of their dreams, after which the entire group plays the whole course. 

‘It’s insane to see the level of creativity that comes out. I thought at one point I’d seen it all, but every time we do this activity with a group, people surprise me with new designs. Going through the whole creative cycle, from start to finish, really bonds people,” he says, adding that he’ll also offer a variety of lawn games and activities at fnSummit, aimed at those who prefer to dabble in group interactions.The lawn games are good old-school casual fun that allow for social bonding and light competition

“Most startups are used to doing happy hours, bowling or ping pong in the city. But mystery tours bring excitement. CEOs ask me: When are you coming back? That’s what I hope to bring to fnSummit.” - @tysmysterytours Click To Tweet

Creating a shared space for innovation

Whatever they choose to do, Welch is preparing the ground for people to let go of their everyday work mode, relax and have fun

“People just enter this shared space. It’s kind of like meditation in that the mind fully focuses on something different. Suddenly, they’re competing and interacting in new ways,” he explains. 

“Most startups are used to doing happy hours, bowling or ping pong in the city. But mystery tours bring excitement. CEOs ask me: When are you coming back? That’s what I hope to bring to fnSummit,” he says.  

fnSummit, taking place from October 13-15, 2021, is an annual event where founders, investors and partners come together to explore the theme of growth. Located in a beautiful resort in California’s Carmel Valley, the event will offer participants a chance to network, share ideas and enjoy a variety of recreational and team-building activities.

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Read more by Founders Network

Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $1M in startup discounts and mentorship from 50+ Institutional Investors. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member.