Life on the Ropes


Life on the Ropes

Carrie Reilly is a hard woman to catch. You might find her in her office, on the ropes course, on an airplane, or anywhere in the country, teaching leadership and cooperation methods to the nation's top business people.

Reilly heads up Executive Training and Team Quest, which falls under the umbrella of OU Outreach. One small, but intriguing part of her responsibilities is to organize the ropes course where groups can learn to interact and cooperate better with each other. Reilly says that these types of exercises "allow groups to grow in team building and problem-solving, by mimicking real world situations without the high stakes of their job being on the line."

On the day I visited, ETTQ was hosting a group from Leadership Norman. This relationship began with Reilly herself, when she went through the program as a participant in 1991. Once her cohort realized her profession, they wished they had gone through as a group to begin their program together. Since 1992, the ropes course has been one of the first group activities each Leadership Norman class goes through together. Reilly says that the Leadership Norman group integrates personality testing, and the ropes course helps serve as an accelerator to encounter disagreements, sharing of ideas, and learn how to speak out with each other. 

"Play behavior transfers to work behavior, but it's not as serious or emotionally charged," says Reilly. As I watched the Norman Leadership group work together, arguing, laughing, and learning to trust each other, it was easy to see why this program has been a success not only for business people but also for student and government groups. In recent months, ETTQ has hosted sororities, academic departments, church groups, summer camps, and public servants.

To find out how your group can benefit from the services offered by ETTQ, contact Reilly today.

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Ann White

Ann White worked as the web marketing coordinator for programs within the college. She has worked in marketing in higher education for many years, focusing on social media and web initiatives.