My 8 year old daughter knows what she wants for Christmas. Her letter to Santa doesn’t just say “Toys” or “Games”. It has a level of detail that leaves little room for error or disappointment and more importantly, when Santa sees the list he knows exactly what needs to be done.
What’s this got to do building better teams?
Even before I start a session with a team that wants to improve they way they work together, I can make up a list of things that they are going to throw back at me. Their list usually includes things like:
- Share More Information
- Align Objectives
- Build Trust
- Communicate Better
- Listen More
- Build Bridges
What can Santa do with this? Very little!
Getting a team to this point is one thing but getting the team itself to turn these wishes into deliverable, executable and measurable actions and steps is where the real work starts and is where teams truly start to become a better team. Each one of these wishes has multiple possible solutions and the teams needs to find them, select them and give them owners and due dates. Then develop, test and implement them. Only then will they turn wishes into progress and change.
It’s about doing things, not making wishes!
What does your team want for Christmas?
In January of this year we had unique experience of rolling out a series workshops to all 180 staff of one of our client’s production units. The objective was to explore ways in which the plant could perform better as a cohesive collaborative unit and at the same time to provide a platform for healthy constructive dialogue between the different teams.
To maximize impact and to minimize production downtime, we decided to run identical workshops in parallel sessions throughout one day, thus bringing everyone through the process in one 12 hour period.
In order to maximize knowledge sharing opportunities across the factory and to create new synergies between teams and individuals, we ensured that each group had staff from the various departments and business units with managers and supervisors spread across all the tables.
We used the first two challenges to get everyone in flow and to create a sense of trust at each table. After that we explored three key areas:
- The skills and competencies we expect from the people we work with. This was followed by discussion and reflection at each table and sharing of personal strengths and growth areas
- The characteristics of a perfect team, starting from a personal perspective and then converting them into a group vision at each table. This was followed by discussion at each table on how their respective teams, and the plant as a whole, measured up to this “perfect team”
- Tangible and specific ideas that will help them to build perfect teams across the production plant at all levels.
Despite the varied profiles of the participants there was perfect “flow” and as we have seen in the past with our clients, workshops with a mix of administrative, managerial and production roles always uncover some deeply sincere and valuable insights for all.
Turning Models and Stories into Real Follow-up
Given that each workshop was identical with the same outputs, afterwards we were able to collate all the information we had and harmonize it into one document, categorizing the various concepts dealt with at each table and analyzing the groupings and classifications in pivot tables. This provided very useful insights into common threads running through all the workshops and also highlighted key training and growth areas for individuals and teams and in our report we presented these opportunities and issues back the client with recommendations on how to build on the positives and improve on the growth areas. We are all ready looking at how to build on these workshops with more specific proposals.
Lastly,at the end of each session, we finished with a simple round of “what have we done?” and the simple recognition by the people in each session that that they had: talked, listened, been creative, respected each other, collaborated, shared and played made it clear that they had taken a significant step forward.
“Considiom understood our objectives clearly from the outset and facilitated a creative and dynamic session in which we jointly built our vision for Transformation. We had a vision and we know have a clear road map to get there”
Last month Luciana Leveratto and I teamed up to run an LSP session with 80 people in Barcelona and yet again it was a great success and an example of how effective LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® can be.
Company: Sealed Air Diversey Care
Sector: Sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions. Food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection.
Number of participants: 80 / International / Transversal Management Team
Background: Sealed Air Diversey Care has just launched an ambitious and far reaching internal Transformation project and in January of this year they organised a 3-day European Transformation Summit with the objective of aligning objectives into one consolidated vision for 2014/2015. The event had already had a visual flavour to it with the company clearly opting for an innovative and participative approach with dynamic speed- workshops, a visual theme for the event and the use of story boarding and visual meetings via Connecting Brains
Lego Serious Play Session Objective: The LSP session came right in the middle of the event when participants had already started to take in key messages and the overall approach and objectives and our session was designed specifically to:
1) Create an opportunity for the international team to bond and work together more closely
2) To turn the approach and objectives presented during the previous days into a vision for where the company will be by the end of 2014
Approach: The 80 participants worked simultaneously in groups of 8 answering specific challenges, starting with individual models to encourage networking and knowledge sharing and then step by step they moved through the skills required to lead change towards a consolidated group model of their vision for 2014. Several tables presented their full story and others added what they thought had not been covered and by the end of the session there was a tangible air of “this is where we all want to be in 12 months and this is really achievable”.
Result: Barriers were broken and participants forged new relationships. A positive aligned vision for 2014 was built and shared by all, and most importantly it was unanimously agreed that it was 100% achievable. Clear success metaphors were created and even after the event participants are making reference to these images in their internal correspondence. I also particularly liked the energy and the buzz in the room as participants not only focussed on their tables but were really keen to see other models develop and to hear their stories.