Inspiration can come from strange places. I came across a good game at a party and used it with great success on our Achieving the Best from Your Team workshop last week. (Thank you Linda for the idea). Like so many things, although simple, it had a powerful message.
Two teams stand facing each other with each person holding out a hand with one finger pointing forwards. A pea cane is placed on the outstretched fingers. The aim is that, as one team, they have to lower the cane to the floor, whilst ensuring everyone is touching the cane throughout.
The incredible thing is that the cane starts to rise! It is as if the team creates a mindset of its own. How often in the workplace is a team brought together and then seems to take on a ‘subconcious will’ of its own?
The lessons learnt from this, as identified by the participants, were:
- Need to believe as a team you can do it. There has to be a team belief that the task can be achieved. This does not happen automatically. The power of thought is very strong and can spread almost by telepathy within the team to create a mind set of failure.
- Beware the blame culture. It is very easy for people to blame others, if things start to go wrong in the early stages. This needs to be managed quickly or it can wreck the team and breed a culture.
- COMMUNICATION is vital. They need clear instructions on what they need to do. The team members need to be in constant communication to check understanding and progress, and share ideas. It also builds trust. Lack of trust hinders progress.
- Need leadership. It needs someone to take command, drive the task and support and encourage people. The leader can help celebrate success along the journey and allay fears of failure. The most important thing is that the leader keeps saying the key message to create the right mind set and focus.
- Conflict is a good thing. If managed properly, conflict can help bring new ideas and solutions. Different views can bring alternative and better ways to achieve the task.
- Time for humour. There can always be time for some humour to lighten the load.
You may think all this sounds like common sense, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves of it.
“A fun, worthwhile day learning, which I will enjoy putting into practice. What I really like about your workshops are that they are very interactive and the exercises get you to test the theory and learning, which is much better than talking through many slides of a presentation.” Jeremy Stoker, International Sales Manager, Dorset Cereals