Exploration & Discovery

What do the images in our heads tell us?

Creating the right conditions for the team to be more successful – A starting point.

A team performance project for a team with increased tension and decreased efficiency. A workshop that is fun and engaging, and that brings tangible results and positive impact.

Summary of the case: The tension in the team had gone up over the past year, and the collaboration had been adversely impacted, to the extent that the quality of the deliverables were at risk. We prepared a workshop where we asked the participants to draw an image of their situation. Then they put up all the drawings on the wall, to be discussed and analyzed. What images of the team did the members have in their heads? The outcome was increased trust and engagement in the team, and alignment around a list issues to address as a team to create better conditions for the team’s success.

“I can’t think of anything more useful these days, than to retrieve and understand the images of our organisation that our people have in their head” Workshop participant

What we did

Exploring different perspectives in the ecosystem

This project was delivered for a Fortune 500 company. We worked with Executive directors’ direct team of 25. It is a high pace and high-performance setting. Team members regularly work 10–12-hour days and the performance has a significant impact on the company’s financial result.

The team normally operates in an informal manner with a high dependency on personal interaction and spontaneous collaboration. Lately the ambiance in the team had become tense and frustration was on the rise, to the point that the quality of the work was at risk. The year of Covid 19 lockdown did not help, adding stress, constraints on collaboration and pressure to deliver.

We learned from the director that the team might be reluctant to engage in “team building activities”. It needed to be “fun, relaxing, entertaining, and also valuable and relevant for work”.

“The problem that often arise in these situations is that each team members view of the reality is gradually growing apart. We always have different perceptions of what the reality is. But for a team, if there is not a regular activity that calibrates and aligns different viewpoints, the gaps eventually becomes too big, causing misunderstandings, confusion and grit in the machinery.”

We designed a workshop, where we asked the participants to draw an image of their situation. Then they put up all the drawings on the wall, to be discussed. This is a powerful way to put words on frustrations, feelings or observations that have not yet been articulated. It is a very non-intrusive and safe way to put all issues on the table, and it is inclusive as it allows everyone to share what they want with the whole team.

How it went

There is space and time for everyone to express themselves

The team was a bit cautious in the beginning. But after a short intro, everyone got to work and engaged in the task to draw an image of the team. As often happens in these workshops, everyone drew interesting images of their situation, and then we had a vivid conversation about the drawings: What were the patters among all the drawings? Differences? Similarities? What did the images mean? What did the participants intend to say with the drawings? In the end of the workshop, we had a hard time getting the people to stop working, we ran over time and the energy was very high.

This exercise allowed everyone in the team to express him/herself. And each and everyone got to explore and discover new perspectives of the others in the team. This created trust and respect, and allowed team-members to re-connect with each other. Another output of the workshop was a tangible list of issues on which the team can take action to be more successful. As this list has been established by the contribution of all the members, the alignment and ownership of the actions comes naturally.

The key to success is

1. The positioning of the workshop, explaining “why we are here”.

2. The definition of the task the clarity and precision of the instructions of what to draw.

3. The moderation of the discussion, ensuring a safe and constructive setting.

When you get this right, the rest is easy.

Is this workshop for you?

A great starting point…

The workshop takes 4-8 hours and can be combined with or connected to other team building and development work.

This workshop is ideal for any team that is going through change & transformation, that is overwhelmed with expectations, where there is a churn of new members and/or leaders, where there has been a change in scope, roles and responsibilities, where moral and energy is low, or where the team is struggling to work efficiently together as one team.

1. The workshop is a great start for change & development, problem solving, team building, new plans and projects, and performance improvement.

2. It is possible to work on a specific topic or the team’s situation in general. In both cases you will gain insight in a multitude of different perspectives.

3. It is fun, interactive and stimulating and it creates alignment, trust, action.

4. It generates tangible output to address issues and increase the success of the team.

Please contact us for more info…