I love it when I can get creative with an event and I recently had a great example of this. A client telephoned me with a requirement of a day-long programme of team activities to bond together a small team of senior managers. It was a new team being brought together. The lines of communication between the individuals needed to be open, without any barriers in place, so that they could move forward together as a strong team and take their company with them.
On the day prior to our event, the team spent the day with a Belbin expert, learning about individual and team strengths. Our client was keen to link the two days together and wanted us to help demonstrate how Belbin theories translate into practice.
I devised a ‘senses’-based series of activities, designed to get the team thinking, discussing, debating, enjoying themselves and making decisions together. I also proposed having our profiling expert, Tim, who has knowledge of Belbin theories, present throughout the day to observe team interactions and personal characteristics to tie in with what they had already learnt about themselves.
Our event took place in the relaxed surroundings of the wonderful Hoxton Hotel in central London. After a brief introduction by Tim, we brought out the drums! This provided the perfect start to the day with a burst of noise and energy to get everyone wide awake and motivated.
Drumming for a small group works exceptionally well. Our expert facilitator had all participants closing their eyes and, using their other senses, focusing on what their colleagues were playing. This allowed individual members of the team to perfectly integrate their own rhythms and build the sound to a rousing finale. It was a great start.
Tim discussed what he had gleaned from the session, such as the importance of listening to each other, before moving on to two more senses – taste and smell!
The group returned to the meeting room to be greeted by an array of confectionary and our smiling chocolatier. After a brief chat on the history of chocolate and a tasting session (which went down very well!) the team enjoyed an ‘Apprentice’-style workshop. Members of the team had to make, package, market and present a range of chocolates for a target market.
Individuals didn’t always agree with each other but it was great to see people expressing their opinions and reaching a majority decision – something we can all relate to in our day-to-day business.
After lunch it was lights, camera, action as the team moved on to the visual part of their day – animation creation! The team used Plasticine to create models that represented team members in superhero guise, based on their individual strengths. Then, they had to agree on a storyline that allowed each of their characters to be involved and demonstrate their ‘super powers’.
Then, they had to make the video. The result was an all-inclusive, fun video, which every member of the team got to keep to reflect on in the future.
We concluded the day with a frank and open discussion with our expert Tim. He presented in a relaxed and fun style, allowing everyone to talk freely about all they had learnt about themselves and each other.
We do have another sense though – touch! Imagine placing the point of a 70cm-long wooden arrow in the notch of your throat and then mastering your focus to first bend and then entirely snap the shaft of the arrow in half. Arrow breaking is an incredible opportunity to challenge and completely annihilate limiting beliefs and fears. While each individual had to take his or her own journey and perform this task alone, colleagues were there to provide complete support. This provided a fitting end to an incredible day!
I would like to praise all our experts and our wonderful participants, who approached each task in an enthusiastic manner and committed fully to all the tasks. I am sure the team, with greater acceptance and understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses, will reap the rewards in the future.
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