Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why We Hate Off-sites - 4

Sleeping arrangements

“Remember, there doesn't always have to be a booby prize.”

Among the pitfalls of forced togetherness: the sleeping arrangements. Consider the episode in which a multinational advertising firm brought more than 350 employees from 12 countries together for a three-day meeting in Orlando to foster cross-border teamwork.

When employees arrived at the hotel, managers announced their clever plan: Everybody would bunk with a colleague from a different country. But when several Japanese women got to their rooms, they found that their suite mates were German men. Apparently the American planners had assumed that people with names like Jens and Tibor were female. "The Japanese women broke down in tears," one attendee says. "It just wasn't culturally acceptable."

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