Not too often will you hear the phrase ‘corporate team development’ uttered in the same breath as Star Wars, paintball guns or zombie hunting.
Yet ask military veterans Lee Belcher and Darren Marsh, co-founders of Snetterton-based business Norfolk Battle Stations, and these activities all go hand in hand.
This week, the company, located off the A11 Harling Road, showed off ‘The Force Academy’, a new indoor attraction where participants experience combat scenarios inspired by Star Wars, targeted at both family and friend groups, as well as the corporate team-building market.
Mr Marsh said that while their weekend activities were often popular with birthday parties and stag and hen dos, it was during the week that they focused on helping businesses improve their co-operation skills, by placing them into battlefield re-enactments and team exercises.
He said: “Using the skills that we had acquired from our service in the armed forces, we can offer a bespoke team building experience that caters for the specific needs of the customer.
“It is quite an eye opener. A lot of people, including myself, think we are crystal clear but often what we are saying and what people hear are completely different.”
Mr Marsh, who served 22 years in the Royal Anglian Regiment, and Mr Belcher, who was part of the Royal Engineers for 25 years, teamed up to launch Norfolk Battle Stations around two years ago, having previously run separate laser combat businesses.
They stated their time as military trainers informed their approach to corporate teambuilding, creating situations where employers in one room have to communicate messages to their employees on the ground, and then identify their strengths and weaknesses during the debriefing afterwards.
Their scenarios also often use weapons, progressing from laser-tag to paintball and even airsoft, which Mr Marsh said was to instill “enough fear” so they considered their actions more carefully.
“It is only when you put in an element of fear of being shot that you think about what you are doing,” he said.
“It allows you to progress, think and achieve, rather than going through the motions.
“So far, we have had fantastic feedback. Everything is a learning experience.”
For further information about Norfolk Battle Stations, please contact 01953 887174 or instead see www.facebook.com/battlestationsactivities