One of our consultants recently facilitated a day of team-building for a client. Her goal was to help the team members understand one another better, build trust, learn the habits of effective teams, and develop operating principles to communicate and work together more effectively.
Marcia started the day with an hour-long Straight Talk® workshop. Its purpose was to help the team members – 12 in all – understand each other’s natural preferences for communicating and making decisions, and how they related to other people on the team. All 12 had taken the Straight Talk survey in advance. Using Straight Talk’s sophisticated online system, they viewed each other’s in-depth profiles, compared styles with one another, and got tips on communicating and relating to one another more effectively. The online system also displayed the team on a map, showing all 12 in terms of their communication styles.
Note: The online Straight Talk® system is free to anyone – go to www.gostraight.talk.com.
Marcia identified team members whose styles were different and asked: “How could you communicate more effectively with each other?” One team member said her passivity got in the way of expressing her ideas. “Look at where I am compared to the rest of you,” she said. “I simply need to be more assertive.” Her colleagues chimed in and said “yes, please!”
Another team member said she’d caught a major payment error, but hadn’t told her colleague about it because he was too busy. “I’m not,” he protested. She paused and looked at him. “Your profile confirms it,” she said to him. “You’re always moving on to the next thing.”
“Yes,” he said, “but I am truly interested in talking to you, anytime. I will drop what I’m doing to talk to you.” Score another win for team-building.
As the hour progressed, Marcia turned the team’s attention to the overall team dynamic. “A lot of people on this team have high Director and Expresser scores. That means your team likes to run fast, make decisions quickly, and be entrepreneurial. That’s great, but you need to counter-balance that tendency for the team to function at its peak potential.”
Marcia’s insight triggered an interesting discussion. One person said the team “had a high failure rate on our most recent hires. Maybe too much gut instinct is at play.” Someone else noticed that “we have three people with strong Thinker scores. Maybe we should incorporate them more into our decision making.” After some discussion, the team’s leader said: “I think we should consult with at least one of those three before we make a hiring decision.” That idea eventually got incorporated into the team’s operating principles.
Marcia got some great feedback from the client about this workshop. One team member said: “Thank you for an excellent day. I have gone to many workshops of this type and this was one of the very best I’ve ever attended!”