Corporate Bonding 2.0

Seagate's $2M, week-long New Zealand odyssey goes above and beyond
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2008 6:05 PM CDT
Adventure racers compete in New Zealand, much like Seagate Technology's employees do every year at Eco Seagate.   ((Phil Walter/Getty Images))
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(Newser) – Company retreats are nothing new. And then, Fortune reports, there's Eco Seagate, a $2 million, week-long, life-changing challenge in New Zealand that some employees of the Northern California tech company trained months for. The trip, developed by CEO Bill Watkins, costs the company $2 million a year, and though the corporate gains are difficult to quantify, the effect is dramatic.

As one organizer says, this isn’t a reward, it’s “about behavior modification.” Watkins drops his employees into situations where they have to climb, ford, zip-line and read elevation maps because the key to modifying behavior is forcing people not to rely on experience. In unfamiliar situations, the logic goes, we truly begin to rely on our team—then, perhaps, take all that back to work. (Read more corporate culture stories.)