Team Challenge – focus the team on delivery

If you work in teams it makes sense to learn in teams.  Sharing and building the discipline of learning from each other and together to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible

The Challenge

Our existing client wanted us to take the approach that had been extremely successful on another programme (the longest running team working event in this multinational’s history) and apply to another population.  The event was to be similar in approach but markedly different in the emphasis.

The original workshop was a residential three day weekend for new entrants who were typically graduates or post-graduates with little organisational experience.  The objective there was to quickly and powerfully introduce them to the world of work and the disciplines of teams whilst reinforcing the organisation’s cultural norms and values.  This had become a global programme with thousands of people have experienced it.

For this assignment the timeframe was much shorter, the audience more experienced and the objectives were (a) to explore team leadership as well as membership and (b) prepare teams to work on technical assignments over the next 8 days of training.

Develop

The organisation had experienced some negative press about the way they had conducted their affairs and, as a result, had introduced some guiding principles, themes and behavioural imperatives.  We used these as the basis of the design of the two-day event.

It transpired that many of those attending would have been through the other programme we had designed so we made sure there was enough differentiation but still focussed on the ClearWorth principles of highly experiential learning with no tricks and clean, honest feedback.  As part of the assignment, we had been asked to give team feedback against a competency framework we developed from the behavioural imperatives, (the latter being not much more than five single word headings)

The Design

We designed five exercises which specifically focussed on the behavioural imperatives and, at the same time, picked up on the practices of successful project teams and the responsibilities of team leadership.

We delivered the programme all over the world to hundreds of participants in all kinds of cultures.  Occasionally we had to vary some of the exercises since they were too far outside the cultural norms.  Physical contact between men and women, for example, being taboo in some Muslim countries where we worked.

The programme was designed to quick start teams and thus they were taken outside their comfort levels with uncertainty on detailed requirements, being unclear on the separation between competition and collaboration and having to take the leadership role for one of the exercises even though they did not know what it was going to entail.

We observed teams in action and gave them feedback against the five areas we had developed from the organisation’s behavioural imperatives.  We also awarded “revenue” in the first four exercises which were used in the fifth exercise to invest based on how confident they were in their team’s ability to manage a complex information gathering activity.

Since a ClearWorth principle is about making a contribution, the winning team won the right to choose a contribution to a cause or charity.  Over the years the programme has donated more than £5,000 in this way.

Number of participants

Countries where course ran

Donated to charity

What they thought:

Building the relationship between the team members before we started the technical learning made delivering our assignments much easier

Participant

The tools and techniques presented by Clearworth gave me a new insight into the impact I have on my team members.  I became clearer about the contribution I make in teams

Participant

We won the challenge.  I didn’t think we would as we were poor in the first 2 exercises, then we started to apply the principles…

Participant

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