Winter Team Building 2023: Endless fun in the Leshten paradise

07.12.2023

Time to read: 4 minutes

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Категории: News Team
Winter Team Building 2023: Endless fun in the Leshten paradise

A large part of our colleagues work remotely, whether from the office or the comfort of their own homes in different cities. We communicate daily and see each other on cameras, but we miss the live contact. That's one of the reasons why we eagerly await every gathering, collective event, and team-building. These moments are extremely valuable to us because they allow us to build relationships, have genuine fun, improve some skills and knowledge, and get to know new colleagues or learn something new about those we have been working with for over 10 years. This year, we managed to hit the bullseye with events in Pazardzhik and Plovdiv for a mini-team building and experience a real sea adventure with boats - Summer Team Building Greece 2023. Now, we'll tell you about our exciting experience, perhaps the last major team gathering for 2023.

Day 1: Departure to Leshten Village

On December 1st (Friday) early in the morning, filled with enthusiasm, we set off for our new team adventure. Our final destination was the guesthouses "Leshtenski Rai" in the picturesque mountain village of Leshten. During the trip, some of the colleagues from the support team were armed with laptops, as on every team-building, to be able to respond to any urgent issues in our clients' online stores. According to the schedule, after about 3 hours, we all arrived at the location where we were about to boost team spirit and reinforce that we are a fantastic team. The view from the complex was breathtaking, immediately recharging us with fresh energy, and we quickly forgot about the daily hectic pace. We were engulfed in silence, tranquility, and excellent mood. Our hosts greeted us with a warm and delicious Leshten banitsa to support us because many challenges awaited us.

For the organization of team-building games at this year's event, we entrusted the agency - Catalyst Bulgaria, which took care of the action program. After breakfast, we started with an energizer game, a type of icebreaker and introductory questions. We learned something more about each other - each person's dream destination, favorite drink (which we confirmed in the evening), and where we spent our last vacation. Based on one of the questions, we formed our teams of about 6-7 people for the first game that awaited us.

Integrity - We tackled challenging tasks and proved that we are great players

Integrity is an activity that requires honesty and fairness, which are also our basic values in our relationships with each other and our clients. Maintaining mutual support and respect, flexibility in thinking, building values, effective time management, fairness, communication, and collaboration are just some of the advantages we possess in the team. Thanks to these qualities, we proved to be excellent players in the game.

Here's how the game went: The guys from the agency provided detailed instructions before the start of the game. Firstly, each team had to appoint an arbitrator who would evaluate the other teams, rotating in their role for each game. This team dynamic involved evaluation between the teams and the arbitrators. Each team rated its arbitrator in a specific game using an "integrity stone." Different arbitrators evaluated how the team performed, entering their scores from 1 to 10 based on various criteria:

  • Supportive/positive atmosphere in the team
  • Active/motivated participation from team members
  • Open discussion among team members/the right to express freely
  • Active listening/ability for everyone to be heard
  • Effective team leadership (by one or more spontaneously emerging leaders)

The teams took their positions and began to go through a series of tasks:

  • Pipe Mission (which we collectively defined as the most challenging game) - Holding 1/2 ropes, we had to make a ball go around a three-dimensional node in the correct direction and come out through the correct exit;
  • Ninja Balance – On an unstable surface, many figures were placed. The goal was to interact actively and remove all figures from the surface without disturbing the balance;
  • Structural Integrity – The goal was to build a tower from cubes, some of which had a cut top, using a tower crane controlled by ropes by the team members;
  • Storytelling – Each team had a drawn map that needed to be explained and positioned correctly in the common story without showing it to their teammates. The most interesting part was that, in the end, a common picture had to be created;
  • Hot Footing – With blindfolded eyes, we had to recognize shapes and colors guided by the arbitrator to understand which were the missing 2 figures and 2 colors that he held within himself.

Stenik тиймбилдинг игри 2023

After each task, the teams had the opportunity to give feedback on how they performed and improve their approach in the next challenge. In the end, each team made an analysis of their performance, identifying strengths and weaknesses. We definitely managed to improve communication and collaboration among ourselves.

Of course, there were winners, with the difference between the top two teams being just 2 points. Nevertheless, the ranking determined the 1st place - Team 2, consisting of Borko, Svetlio, Iv, Dobi, Stoyan, Nikola, and Stefan Minchev. All arbitrators, on their part, received the maximum number of integrity stones.

Beat the Box - TOGETHER WE SUCCEEDED

Beat the Box is an interesting "escape room" adventure that includes a series of puzzles. In this team-building game, the competitive spirit and mandatory collaboration go hand in hand and are the only way to a successful end. Some of the challenges can only be overcome through cooperation between teams. We were challenged to think logically, communicate intensively, and discover that the hidden message is mutual assistance and sharing knowledge between teams.

Stenik team playing Beat the Box

We started with the team distribution by drawing lots. Each team received its metal box. They played a mysterious video message in which a mysterious voice gave us a formula (cipher) with which to unlock a padlock with a code on the metal box. We had 95 minutes. Among the teams were quite fast ones that managed to unlock it in the first few minutes and reach the remaining hidden small suitcases inside, each containing puzzles - logical, mathematical, visual, or pieces of information. Opening one suitcase after another, the challenges and puzzles became more complex, and overcoming them required help and information from neighboring teams. The competitive spirit sometimes prevailed over cooperation between teams, but in the end, everything fell into place. At one point, we started helping each other intensively, and with joint efforts, we reached the key message "Together we succeeded."

We concluded this part of the team-building program with a very emotional moment where each team member answered a question they drew. This way, we all once again understood that the heart of Stenik is the team, which does not stop supporting each other, achieving results, growing, and sharing knowledge with colleagues. And we are all proud to be part of the eCommerce ecosystem, developing local online commerce, making a series of brands more competitive in the digital economy, developing successful and valuable projects that leave a mark. The guys from the agency shared that they see in us a united team, a Stenik family that we have created. They wished us to cherish what we have and only build on it.

Stenik Honors

After a well-deserved break, it was time for dinner at the complex's restaurant. On the eve of Stenik's 20th anniversary, we gathered for a festive dinner. The three partners opened the evening with a welcome speech, briefly recounting the main points in Stenik's history, outlining 4 pillars for the company's technological development, which will be the basis for the new 2024, and thanking the team for their contribution. One of the things we are proud of at Stenik is the fact that each of our team understands and knows why they do what they do - for us, it's more than a job; it's a commitment. In 2024, you will see something that will reflect this commitment in our communication with the wider audience - #WeKnowWhyWeDoIt. This is an expression of a shared understanding in the team, which we all unanimously approved.

Specially for our mood, the lineup of Boyana Karpatova in a duet with Petar Moskov, together with DJ Mani Kurtev, took care. Boyana delighted the team with performances of favorite songs from various genres - from Bulgarian pop music, folk music, pop, and others.

In the later hours, the surprise of the evening came - Stefan, Mitko, and Niki presented awards to the team in various categories, based on the statistics for 2023 in Stenik. Certificates were awarded in 27 categories, here are some of them:

  • Most Responsive TeamMate Helper
  • Transformation of the Year, Innovation of the Year, and Rookie of the Year
  • Most Logged Hours in Redmine
  • Designer with the Steadiest Nerves
  • Team with the Fastest Launch of a New Project
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Publication shared by Stenik (@stenik.bg)

  • Team with the Most Efficient Support Client
  • Support Team with the Steadiest Nerves
  • Most Vigilant Bug Finder
  • Most Emotional in Slack
  • Biggest P1 Resolver
  • Biggest Multitasker
  • King of Support
  • PM with the Most Launched Projects

The evening continued appropriately with a lot of mood, toasts, dances, and strong emotions until the morning.

Day 2: Architectural Heritage and Beautiful Landscapes

On Saturday, we strictly followed the program. The weather was with us, offering favorable positive temperatures, and even the sun decided to smile at us from time to time behind some clouds. We walked through narrow cobblestone streets, lined with cozy, old houses, leading us to the first notable landmark - the Clay House.

Stenik Team Walk in Leshten - Clay House

On the way, we admired the old brick houses and beautiful stone walls. We continued uphill and reached very beautiful views, which we enjoyed and captured in photos. Some colleagues continued their walk in another direction to enjoy the characteristic Renaissance atmosphere of this area, preserved old-time architecture, views of the Pirin mountain, and beautiful roads.

Stenik Team Walk in Leshten

Review of 2023, Productive Discussion, New Horizons, and Goals

Of course, we always set aside time for fruitful conversations. In this team-building, the team actively participated, sharing ideas, exchanging personal impressions, discussing best practices, and suggesting improvements to the work process. Some of the topics we discussed this time included:

  • New technological solutions from the past year and how we will develop them in the new year of 2024;
  • Encouraging more team members to acquire Magento and Adobe certificates;
  • Enhancing the process of training Stenik's clients;
  • Internal training and team improvement to be more effective and add value to our clients;
  • Planning more charitable initiatives;
  • Refreshing the office;
  • Hiring a workspace where each team member can visit and combine work with relaxation in a pleasant atmosphere;
  • Planning even more active participation by the team in industry events. Sharing knowledge and experience through presentations.

At the management's idea, we had a "Praise and Criticism Box" to encourage the team to share feedback and, most importantly, constructive criticism that Mitko, Niki, and Stefan would consider for improvement. Everyone had the opportunity to anonymously share their impressions and provide valuable suggestions for improvements to the management. The general opinion was that we have year-round open feedback, and the praise notes wouldn't be enough for everyone.

After the productive meeting and discussion, it was time for free time, which some used for card games, others for table tennis, some for conversations, and others relaxed in the sauna. The second evening was dedicated to conversations, humor, and some other interesting game for getting to know each other. Or, as we joke with the team, #EachDecidesForThemselves and #EveryoneIsRightForThemselves

For the finale, we share a short video, shot during our unforgettable team building in Leshten village. In it, we gathered some of the funniest and inspiring moments we had to show the atmosphere that prevailed in the ranks of Stenik, the interesting games, challenges, and fun.

Day 3: Charged and Inspired!

On Sunday, it was time to head back. While returning in the cars, we continued to have fun and reminisce about favorite moments from our Leshten paradise, and the beautiful emotions will warm us throughout the winter! Both work and entertainment go great for us, after all, #WeKnowWhyWeDoIt.

With each passing team building, we have an even better time, and we can't wait to organize the next one!

More photos from our team experience in Leshten can be seen in our album on our Facebook page :)

About the author:

dobi-author-photo Dobi Parvova

Dobi Parvova works as a Marketing Manager at Stenik. She joined the team in 2015, having completed her degrees in "Public Relations" and "Advertising and Public Communications" at Sofia University. She channels her entire creative potential into areas such as PR, content & creative, corporate communications, social media, partner relations, and client.

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