Another busy week has flown by, spent delivering a wide variety of large and small team building events all over the country. Final preparations are being made for an event in Spain next week, and we are also finalising details for a huge 800-person conference opener too.
In the middle of all this, we delivered two days of team building drumming activities to an incredibly hard working section of the NHS. Constraints being what they are in this organisation, there is simply not the time, money or space to hold regular, if any, team/department away-days.
With a critical shortage of staff, medical professionals find themselves literally run off their feet in very serious and, often, life or death situations. So, this week, it was nothing but an absolute pleasure to create a safe, fun and creative space for two groups of incredible people.
Even from the first minutes of each session, you could tell that people just appreciated the time to sit and catch up with each other. Having never really had the opportunity of attending these types of session, some individuals arrived with preconceived ideas of what they might be doing. Some thought it might be tests or quizzes, or involve PowerPoint or even table-top games! It was nice to shatter those ideas.
Lisa and I had prepared a varied day of physical and mental challenges, interspersed with time for participants to document real concerns and feelings about their working environment and provide suggestions to improve the experience of patients and staff.
First, we threw the groups into a very new working environment with our communication and trust exercise, which we called Direction Disaster. This challenge highlighted the importance of trust in a group, and the value of clear and concise commands within a team. The challenges set before them included strange noises, blindfolds and an indoor obstacle maze!
After lunch, our groups walked back into the room to find our wonderful drums awaiting them. Over the next two hours, participants first all learned how to perform under our instruction, and then how to improvise together.
Everyone had the opportunity to stand up and lead the group and even perform a drum solo while being supported by the team. We finished off the session with our deep listening exercise, which never fails to profoundly affect participants.
Finishing the session with the opportunity to write down specific reflections on how their department might work better, everyone provided great ideas on would make their life easier and free up time to better help patients. With lots of openness and honesty displayed in front of work colleagues, this was team building at its best.
By the end of the day, there were obvious strengthened connections between people. Everyone was thrilled with the opportunity of having improvement ideas anonymously forwarded to senior management. Most importantly, people felt valued after the event.
Like in all departments of the NHS, you find people working incredibly hard with no frills, incentives and benefits like some private sector organisations. It was an honour to give these daily miracle workers a moment in time to remember.
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