Author Archives: Luke Polley

Manager or mentor?

Overcoming your fears - man on zip wire
Do you see yourself as more of a manager, or a mentor? To put that another way, who do you think your tribe would rather be led by?

If our questions have confused you, and you’re sat there thinking the two terms mean the very same thing, here’s how they differ – courtesy of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

To ‘manage’: ‘To handle or direct with a degree of skill; to make and keep compliant; to exercise executive, administrative and supervisory direction.’
To ‘mentor’: ‘To serve as a trusted counselor or guide; to provide expertise to less experienced individuals; to build a relationship based upon communication.’

Mentor your tribe

A couple of years back, recruitment agency Robert Walters conducted a survey among millennials to learn what they looked for in a job. A whopping 91% of respondents cited career progression as their top priority.

Over half (53%) of millennials said they’ve been disappointed by the lack of personal development and training when starting a role. And now, in 2017, the picture’s pretty much the same, with studies from the likes of Gallup constantly showing that opportunities to learn and grow is the most important thing for millennials. If you thought it was free food, a high salary or big Xmas bonus, think again!

So, back to mentors. If a mentor ‘serves as a trusted counselor or guide’ and ‘provides expertise to less experienced individuals,’ then they are someone who equips their tribe with the tools, training and teaching they need to flourish. Their employees’ career progression is just as important as their own.

Now answer this: would your tribe rather have a mentor, or a manager? Of course, you’ve got to do a little bit of managing in-between mentoring (that naturally comes with running a business), but you’ll have a knack for both. Every day, you’ll mix your own tasks with teaching your tribe a thing or two.

In fact, forget the word ‘manager.’ We’re bigger fans of ‘leader,’ as to us, a leader is someone who sets the example and guides their tribe to greatness. A leader is inspirational and looked up to; they’re someone who shares their knowledge, gives credit, and is thrilled to see tribe members achieve fantastic things.

Coach in the canopy

How about a mass mentor session? Teamwork may already be tip-top in your office, but if you want to fine-tune it just a little bit more, then head to the trees at Go Ape! The canopy is the home to our award-winning Tree Top Adventure courses, which provide a space for you all to kick back with one another, build stronger bonds and ultimately, have some fun.

These courses are actually great for improving skills among your tribe. As they leap off platforms, wobble across bridges and crawl through tunnels together, their confidence will get a boost, leaders will come to light, and skills like problem-solving will be sharpened, too.

Join the thousands of companies that swing with us each year by booking a tree-mendous trip to your local Go Ape course. Catch you in the canopy soon!

3 ways to motivate your team

Monday Motivation
Motivating your tribe is the easy part; working out how to keep their motivation levels sky-high week in, week out is where it gets tough. But, it’s a task you need to perfect, as tribes will only perform at their peak if they feel passionate and enthusiastic about what they do!

Think a Christmas cash bonus will keep your tribe motivated all year? Think again! A study from the University of Reading found that the ‘carrot and stick’ approach simply doesn’t cut it in the long run and there are many other, better incentives.

So, inspired by an article we found on the Entrepreneur website, here are three ways you can make sure your tribe are motivated…and stay motivated!

Jazz up the staff room

The staff room is the place your tribe head to chill out, unwind and catch up with their work mates – so, make it a space they enjoy escaping to! They’ve got to love going there; otherwise, they’ll have nowhere to go when they’re finding work challenging, which could cause a drop in motivation and productivity, leading to a lower quality of work.

It’s time to go all DIY SOS on that break room! Throw out those old, half-broken seats and replace with comfy sofas. Fix the broken toaster. Clean the fridge that reeks of blue cheese. Paint the walls a bright and inspiring colour. And most importantly, get some games!

Take a forest leaf from the Go Ape tribe and install a ping pong table in the staff room, or how about a pool table, or table football? Games like these encourage social interaction mixed with a smidgen of physical activity, and they will:

· Boost morale
· Create an immediate means of escape
· Allow for authentic team building
· Contribute to your tribe’s wellbeing

Schedule in team building activities

Tribes need to be offered more than just a salary and holiday time. You need to make sure they’re able to work together to achieve common goals – and there’s no better way to do that than by enjoying regular, fun team building activities together (emphasis on the word ‘fun,’ here). The endless benefits of team building include:

· Helping your tribe improve their communication skills
· Pushing them out of their comfort zones
· Developing team values
· Boosting their ability to problem-solve
· Giving them a chance to let their hair down
· Allowing them to fine-tune their leadership skills

Go Ape’s team building trips are fun first and foremost, but also encompass all of the benefits listed above. Embark on a classic Tree Top Adventure or Forest Segway Experience, or try out our new team development or team solutions days!

Show appreciation

Sometimes, the smallest of gestures have the biggest of impacts. A sincere “thank you” or “great job” can go a long way, and lets your tribe know that you acknowledge and appreciate their hard work. It also motivates them to keep on striving for a high quality and efficient work ethic. And the occasional after-work drinks or tribe meal (paid by yours truly) won’t go amiss, either.

When the company achieves a mammoth milestone, you should always celebrate together (after all, it was a tribe effort that got you where you are). But, this is not just about company milestones; show your tribe you care and value them individually by celebrating things like promotions, weddings, birthdays (you get the idea).

Follow these three tips to make sure your tribe stay motivated and together, you’ll achieve great things!

Five (more) ideas for your Christmas do!

Christmas Party
Feeling full-on festive yet? Christmas is so close we can almost taste the turkey! Oh, and the sprouts – yuk!

By now, you and your office tribe will probably be wrapping things up in the office. And when we say ‘wrap,’ we don’t literally mean covering your desk and stationery in festive paper and adorning it with red ribbons. We mean it figuratively, making sure all your work for this year is done and dusted, and everything’s in place for your return in January.


Anywho…have you been a last-minute Larry with sorting a party for your tribe? While there may not be any spaces left on the typical winter wonderland extravaganza, you can always plan an alternative bash instead! No one likes ordinary anyway, and your tribe might appreciate doing something a little different this year!

Whether you book a last-minute slot or save the event for next year (which is sure to help banish the January blues), here are five ideas with a twist…

Cruise the loos

Live in or near the capital? If so, why not embark on one of its toilet tours? You may be raising your eyebrows, but this experience is anything but bog standard, as you all walk around the city learning about the history and potty politics of its public lavatories!

Have your funny bones tickled

Chuckle en masse with your workmates at a comedy club, but be prepared to be the butt of a few jokes (especially if you sit at the front). For a more personal – and in our opinion, memorable – experience, opt for a smaller venue with cabaret seating.

Warm up your vocal chords

This one’s definitely a love-or-hate-it experience, but it sure is fun! Hire out a karaoke booth for the night for one, almighty singalong! After a few, festive beverages, even the coyest colleagues may be willing to step out of their comfort zone to sing a rendition of Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe!

Get your cook on

If, like us here at Banana HQ, the way to your tribe’s hearts is through their stomachs, why not treat them to a cookery class? Forget the turkey for a tick and rustle up Mexican, Indian or Thai fare. Perfect your culinary skills and get to eat some great grub – what’s not to love?

Swing through the trees

Save cash on buying party frocks and swing through the trees as tinsel-covered Tarzans instead! Combatting the canopy with your tribe is a great way to blow off some end-of-year steam – and the forest is perfect for exchanging your secret Santa gifts!

This year, do something different! Merry Christmas!

Try a different Christmas party this year

Christmas is in full swing, which means there are mince pies to be munched, prezzies to be given and memories to be made! ‘Tis the happiest season of them all, so what better way to celebrate than by hosting a fantastic, end-of-year blowout to say “thank you” to your tribe for all of their hard work?!

Well, we regret to inform that in spite of all of the tinsel and cheer, the annual office party leaves many of us feeling like the Grinch on Christmas morning. In fact, a survey conducted by LateRooms found that 75% of us dread it.

Whether it’s getting trapped talking to the office bore, being snoozed on by a drunken co-worker or having to watch the boss do their best David Brent impression, the average worker said they spent at least 2.5 hours of the event “bored senseless.” Now, that just won’t do!

So, forget the cocktail sausages, the one-free-drink bar tab and the ham and cheese sandwiches chopped into triangles. This year, why not show your appreciation for your tribe’s efforts by throwing them a super special and unique Christmas bash?

Take them on a day out

Forget the party altogether and opt for a day out instead! Put your minds to the test in an escape room, or take them go-karting. Rid the office of the year’s stresses by treating them to paintballing (bosses be warned) or a festive boat cruise.

Host a charity day

Why not help your tribe reconnect with the real meaning of Christmas by hosting a charity day instead? Take them to a soup kitchen where they can volunteer their time, hold a charity fundraiser with fun, sponsored challenges, or create a ‘gift tree’ where staff can pin items, vouchers and pledges to give to those in need.

Ugly jumper party

Embrace all that is kitsch by framing your party’s theme around holiday stereotypes. Hold a competition to find out who has the most ghastly and garish Christmas jumper. Then, deck the office in the tackiest and gaudiest decorations you can find. Complete the evening with eggnog and secret Santa!

Ditch the office and go to an event

No one wants to hang around in the office after hours, so why not see what events your city has to offer? Lots of restaurants, function rooms and event companies host Christmas shindigs. Plus, sharing a venue with other businesses means that the atmosphere will be lighter, brighter, and your tribe will be more willing to boogie!

Have a classy Christmas

Pick a theme like winter wonderland and transform your office into Lapland. Or, hold a masquerade ball and encourage your tribe to don their finest clothes – black tie optional! Now, depending on your budget, you may not be able to afford an ice sculpture, but you could include fun extras like photo booths and props.

Take to the trees at Go Ape!

For a truly tree-mendous day that will stay with your tribe for all the right reasons, come see us at Go Ape! A daring day spent at Go Ape is a great bonding exercise. As your tribe swings through the canopy, they will face their fears while making unforgettable memories. They can relax, unwind and feel invigorated by nature.

Top the day off by enjoying a delicious banquet of BBQ treats, ideal for every palate and dietary requirement. Bid adieu to cheese and pineapple sticks; after all, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach!

Check out our Team Building Activities …
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