Teaching the Teachers ~ Now That’s What We Call Team Building

Quest has delivered team building across all commercial business sectors over the past twenty years, and have also been heavily involved in working with the public sector too. We were delighted therefore to recently be invited to work with a team of primary school teachers and support staff, and deliver a morning of team challenges just before the return to school for a new term.

Straightforward Objectives:The Head Teacher who commissioned Quest had three straightforward objectives that she wanted to achieve from the team build:

  • For the staff team to learn and understand a little bit more about one another.
  • To have an opportunity to work at a variety of challenges totally removed from their normal day at school, which should be fun but which had clear transferable skills to take back to work.
  • To have the chance to reflect, review and discuss the experiential challenges at the end of the session.  

Understanding One Another: Some of the staff team had been at the school for years, some were brand new for the new term, and this was an ideal opportunity for them to either strengthen bonds or start to build anew. Quest has a number of ways to enable team members to learn more about their colleagues, some designed to be fairly light and others far more revealing. Three Truths and One Lie errs on the lighter side of disclosure, and is a most amusing way for team members to tell their colleagues some facts about themselves and also to get their colleagues guessing about those facts to work out which one may in fact be a little far-fetched.  Using this process the morning got off to a noisy and dynamic start and some thirty five minutes later, forty people knew lots more about one another than they had at nine o clock, and they’d had a lot of fun in the process. Great start! 

Take Back Challenges: Quest set up a whole range of mildly physical and mentally testing exercises around the schools extensive grounds. In sub-teams of five, and under the watchful eye of the Quest facilitators, they rotated around each of the challenges. At each one in addition to actually attempting to work their way through it, they were quizzed before they started about what their plans were, how each member of their team was going to make a contribution, and how they were going to learn from the approach they took at each challenge to ensure continually improving performance. Fun learning, and just the job for teachers.
Reflect, Review and Plan

At the end of the morning all of the teams reconvened back in the main hall, and took part in a self-led review session. This was the time to talk about what had gone well, what they would do differently when faced with similar workplace issues, and most importantly lessons they would take from the session to apply when the real work started the following day.
Clearly all of the delegates had enjoyed the morning, they knew more about one another than they had at the start; new members of the team had started their process of integration, and some important learning had been achieved to get the new term off to a cracking start. Success.

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, was an observation originally made some two thousand four hundred years ago by the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle, and it could possibly be argued that the concept of teams and team building was born way back then. Whatever the validity of that argument, the concept of the power of individuals being stronger and more effective when working together is proven fact, and Quest has a huge range of experiential exercises designed to demonstrate and reinforce that..  One particularly effective exercise designed to be run indoors, either as a break-out session or linked with other activities is one called Ticker Sign Challenge. This involves sub-teams of 7 working together to operate giant ticker sign models. Using their ticker signs they compete against the other sub teams in a quiz, and then they collaborate with the other sub-teams to spell out themed words and phrases. A real working example of Aristotle’s words, and used with great effect recently as a follow-up to the trust building exercise mentioned above.

Working Together is Success: Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success,” and there is no better way for a team to experience this than through some experiential team building exercises.  The Ticker Sign Challenge exercise that Quest recently delivered for the soft-ware organisation mentioned above is one that provides a tangible and highly visible demonstration of how good life can be when teams work together. Not only do teams experience how working together brings success, but by watching the film of what they did immediately afterwards, they get to see it too. Powerful stuff!

Further Info
Information on similar events to this can be found: Here & Here
Quest have delivered similar events for Shell and BMI  

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