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.