I’m not a particularly emotional bloke but I had a lump in my throat when I looked at what a team of twelve people achieved on a recent event.
Let me set the scene.
We were running a team building event for a new client. It was all about getting people communicating better and breaking out of silos. We did some set up work and then we hit them with the big project!
A school needed a woodland walk to be constructed through a patch of rough and unprepared land. It was a tall order in eight hours but the team set to with gusto and a certain amount of enthusiasm… by nearly all of them!
I can’t say the team performed perfectly because it didn’t. That wasn’t the point; it was a new team and there were going to be things that went wrong. At eleven o’clock, things were going swimmingly well… so well I thought we were in for an early finish. At one thirty, there had been little progress and the project was in danger of becoming a disaster.
But the team put in some short term targets and these successes spurred them on to further achievement.
By four thirty, as the light was fading from the Autumn sky and the sun was sinking below the hills, the group declared themselves finished. Their customer, eight year old Emily, who is a pupil at the school, was taken on a walk through her new woodland wonderland.
There is a barked pathway, wind chimes, hedgehog houses, bird tables, feeders and a fairy ring…
(I know a joke about a fairy ring!)
As the little girl walked through her school’s new facility, her eyes really were shining and so were the Head Teacher’s… and, if I’m honest, so were mine.
The power of the team is truly awesome, but, I have to say, largely unharnessed.
This team, in the workplace does okay, but put in this situation, they did brilliantly. So what was different?
There was pressure, defined goals, short term plans, autonomy… lots of things.
All of them made a difference.
Just think what they could have done if they didn’t screw up two hours. Actually, I don’t think they could have done any better.
Let’s just say, I was very pround!