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Facilitating Adventurous Conversations

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We’ve done change, now what?

March 22, 2012

Your team’s been restructured, jobs are safe so why aren’t they happy? Here are some tips to help your team move from confusion to certainty:

Chris Robshaw

England Rugby Captain has skippered a transformed team by building trust. “You have to do two things: play your own game, because that’s what got you there in the first place, and trust all the other leaders out there to help you. Trust the guy doing the line-out to do the right thing. Trust the front five.” Chris Robshaw’s pre-match team talk

Integrate New Blood
Very often when people leave and new team members join there’s a loss of momentum. It’s critical to mark the point where the new team begins and the old team is laid to rest. If the start of this new journey isn’t clearly marked then different team members will set out in different directions. The more memorable the occasion the greater the chance of success, so make an event of this ‘new beginning’ – get away from your place of work and spend time getting to know each other.

Recognise Strengths
A good team is made up of people with diverse but complimentary strengths; to harness these strengths there must be trust and understanding. In order to fully appreciate our team mates’ qualities it’s important to invest time in discovering the strengths each team member brings to the group. This can be achieved in part through team games and activities but for the greatest impact add some facilitated reviews and appropriate questionnaires such as the Strength Deployment Inventory and Gallup’s Strengths Finder.

Cast a Vision
As the proverb says, “Without vision the people will perish”. Teams need to have a common purpose: without this shared goal they are simply a group of people working towards differing objectives and destined to flounder.

Work can be a serious business but we don’t have to always be serious about the way we do our work. Surgeons in an operating theatre will often wear brightly coloured bandanas and play music during life threatening procedures. A study found that teams of medics who spent time getting to know each other before surgery were significantly less likely to make errors during operations. Having fun not only makes the working day more pleasurable, it releases stress-reducing hormones and heightens creativity.

Make time
There are more ways than ever before to communicate with colleagues. Instant messaging, webinars and video conferencing are all very well but all the efficiencies technology brings can’t replace the value of simply spending time with colleagues without a fixed agenda. It’s these unstructured ‘water cooler’ conversations that often throw up ideas and opportunities that lead to breakthroughs. Teams should regularly set aside time to get away, review and plan. By being away from the bustle of the office teams have more clarity and very often breaks during the day prove to be as valuable as the facilitated sessions.

If your team have been through a period of change now’s the time to mark a new beginning, agree your shared purpose and build trust by getting to know each other better and having some fun. For a selection of sample programmes based on successful team off-sites and development days click here.

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