The best reason to bring people together to take part in a game or exercise is, ultimately, communication. In these dispersed weeks of distance learning and working, we are all getting better at exploiting the various virtual conferencing tools available to us, but as they become the norm, so the benefits of actually getting together in the same room are also becoming more apparent. One of those benefits is in building relationships. Of course, these can develop to some extent over a distance, but nothing beats time spent face to face, ideally with plenty of breaks over food and drink for really interesting conversations to develop.
We’ve used exercises in the past to help organisations improve communications across their teams. Ironically, the last one involved bringing in a dispersed team from across Europe to a Corporate Headquarters in Switzerland, which is suddenly unthinkable in the current climate. Sometimes, these exercises are bespoke, designed to keep participants in their comfort zone and focussed on the issues they deal with on a daily basis, but we have also run scenario-based games which take them out of their routine world and into a more exciting, high-stakes narrative. By designing in a level of competition and tension between players alongside the need to collaborate and negotiate, we can simulate some of the challenges of communicating in the real world. Relationships are relatively straightforward when the team is all pulling in the same direction; by exerting a little gentle pressure, we can show leaders where the fault lines lie, and where to find unexpected strengths.
The natural focus during communication games will always be on those speaking; those taking the lead and asking questions. But the way that we run our exercises focusses on those participating quietly, who are listening and building their understanding but who are not offering to contribute to a discussion. By making sure that they have a role in which their views and thoughts need to be shared, we can not only build their confidence but can also show the wider team the benefits of diversity in the group: those who talk first and loudest may not have spent as much time and energy thinking and analysing than those who remain quiet, and these quiet thinkers may well be the individuals who leaders need to bear in mind as their problem-solvers in difficult situations.
Traditional team-building games can be problematic, in that they can reinforce behaviours and roles: the extrovert in the office is likely to be the extrovert outside the work environment, particularly when it comes to problem solving and physical leadership. We work hard to make sure that the focus is on involving everyone and making sure that they have an opportunity to show off their different skills and talents. This not only allows leaders to learn about the hidden strengths in their team but also builds confidence in those who might usually get very little from a traditional team-building exercise.
plan for the development of your Business (post Coronavirus)
We don’t specialise in team-building events or even in communication games, but our exercises and wargames are an ideal way for organisations to develop their teams and leaders in a variety of ways. We can run exercises at your offices across the globe, or host one at our home in Wiltshire, close to Bristol & Bath and with access across the South West of England. Now is a great time to start putting business development plans together for an event to prepare your team for the new business world they are going to face once the Coronavirus crisis is over.