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Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/ricaris9/managing-virtual-teams.com/libraries/joomla/filter/input.php on line 652

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Additional Info

  • Duration 30min - 1h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Strengthen team communication and activate the communication channels.

  • Materials

    a PC with webcam or similar device with internet access for online collaboration.

  • Procedure

    What makes a memorable TV commercial, product design, or marketing campaign? Why do you listen to certain politicians or business leaders, and glaze over at the very mention of others? Why is it that you dread opening certain senders’ emails, but open others as soon as they land in your inbox?

    It’s all about messaging. When a piece of communication is to the point, relevant, worthwhile, and compelling, it moves you — the listener or reader — to action.

    Anyone can achieve effective communication by using a simple tool that has an uncanny ability to pinpoint why any message works or doesn’t work, and how to improve it. It’s called the 4Cs Model, which stands for Comprehension, Connection, Credibility, and Contagiousness.

    The 4Cs Model was originally developed as an assessment tool for evaluating the impact of advertising and marketing materials. Brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Suave Shampoo, and Breyers Ice Cream used the 4Cs Model to develop marketing campaigns that really spoke to people and built an emotional connection with their consumers.

    The 4Cs Model is very easy to understand and simple to apply to every piece of communication you produce at work whether it's a résumé, an email, newsletter article, marketing piece, PowerPoint, or blog.

    When you use get into the habit of applying the 4Cs to every type of communication you generate, managers, coworkers, clients, and customers will take notice.

     

    The 4Cs Model of Effective Communication At-a-Glance

    The 4Cs model is a useful tool for objectively evaluating the effectiveness of many forms of communication: what’s working, what isn’t working, and why. The 4Cs can assess marketing communication, as well as business communication, political communication, entertainment, and plain old everyday person-to-person communication, from email and blogging to relationship talk.

    • The First C: Comprehension

    Does the audience get the message, the main idea, the point? What does the message instantly communicate? Can the audience play the message back? This confirms that they “get it” and the first C is working. Here are three tips for better comprehension:

      • Make the message clear and sharp.
      • Repetition helps. Tell them what you’re going to tell them; next, tell them; and then tell them what you told them.
      • Keep it simple - don’t go too deep.
    • The Second C: Connection

    Making a connection with a communicated idea or message means not only that the audience “gets it,” but that it resonates with them, has meaning and significance for them, and usually triggers an irrational or emotional response: frustration, excitement, anger, passion, joy, happiness, sadness, and so on. When connection is there, it will spark new behaviors and actions.

    • The Third C: Credibility

    The audience needs to believe who is saying it (the brand or messenger’s voice), what is being said, and how it is being said. Otherwise, any connection begins to break down - immediately. Credibility is the critical C, because the audience may completely understand a communicator’s message, and even connect with it on an emotional level, then promptly turn around and say that coming from this particular source: company, political candidate, supervisor, whatever, they aren’t buying it.

    • The Fourth C: Contagiousness

    In communications, contagiousness is a good thing. You want your audience to “catch the message,” run with it, and spread it around. Think of the last time you saw a TV ad that was so funny or clever that you discussed it with your friends, found yourself reenacting it, or repeated the slogan or catch phrase in conversations. That’s contagiousness. To be contagious, a message has to be energetic, new, different, and memorable. It should also evoke a vivid emotional response, have “talk” potential, motivate the target to do something, and elicit a demonstrable reaction.

     

    How to Put the 4Cs in Action for Effective Communication

    Practice 4C-ing for effective communication and it will become second nature to you. Try this experiment. Apply the 4Cs to a commercial or a news story you see or hear today on TV or radio. Did you instantly get it? Did it evoke an emotional response? Was it or the messenger believable? Did you feel like the message “stuck” and made you want to react in some way? Or try 4Cing some of the emails you receive today. You’ll quickly see why messages work and don’t work. Seeing communications through a 4Cs lens will make you more aware of your own communication and messaging challenges.

    Once you start "4C-ing" messages, both yours and those of other people, looking through the effective communications lens of comprehension, connection, credibility, and contagiousness, will become a habit. You’ll become adept at reading something as simple as a memo and understanding why it got you so riled up and eager to take action, or why you quickly tossed it into the "circular file." The more you think about and apply the 4Cs to your own messages, the more effective you’ll become at everything you do.

Published in Communication

Additional Info

  • Duration 30min - 1h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Strengthen team communication and activate the communication channels.

  • Materials

    a PC with webcam or similar device with internet access for online collaboration.

  • Procedure

    Managers in workplaces are on a mission to discover ways to provide employees with performance improvement feedback – comfortably and kindly. The feedback sandwich has been recommended in management development, consulting, and Human Resources practices for years.

    In a feedback sandwich, the manager layers constructive feedback between two instances of positive performance feedback. The formula looks like: start the meeting with positive feedback, then provide the constructive feedback, and then, end the meeting with more positive feedback. (Note the constructive meat is layered between two pieces of bread: praise.)

    Regardless that this approach may be comfortable for managers who seek easy ways to provide constructive feedback, the feedback sandwich may not be as helpful as recommended. In fact, it can get in the way of effective, meaningful feedback and communication that will produce performance improvement results. Here’s why:

    Problems with the Feedback Sandwich

    Using a feedback sandwich flies in the face of recommendations about how to provide effective, meaningful employee feedback that is less than positive. The best approach recommended to performance improvement feedback is to provide straightforward, to the point, descriptive communication with examples about what the employee needs to improve.

    When an employee is scheduled for a meeting, even if it is a regular meeting, the employee anticipates that some feedback will be constructive. Sure, the employee doesn’t like the constructive feedback as much as positive feedback, but the meeting met his or her expectations. The employee does not feel deceived or fooled. If the employee can expect honest, straightforward feedback from you, the employee will trust you. Beating around the bush is perceived as prevarication.

    • If you provide feedback in a sandwich, the employee forgets what you said about his or her positive performance when you use terms such as and or but to transition to the perceived negative feedback. Hence, you lose the supposed advantage of offering positive feedback first.
    • Performance improvement feedback that is followed by more positive feedback distorts the importance of the feedback about areas to improve. The employee can be confused about the importance of the constructive feedback. Since sustained improvement is the basis for recommendations about raises and other organizational perks, this places the employee at a disadvantage.
    • Positive feedback is a powerful tool that managers can use to communicate the value of the employee’s work and contribution to the organization. It reinforces behaviors that you’d like to see more of on the job. The feedback sandwich diminishes the value and the power of the positive, reinforcing feedback that is delivered during the same message or meeting.

    Instead of the Feedback Sandwich…

    • Convinced that the feedback sandwich may actually hinder effective performance feedback? If so, these recommendations will help you provide more effective, employee enabling, behavior-changing feedback to employees.
    • You need to prepare for any meeting during which you will provide constructive feedback to an employee. The boss plays a powerful role in the employee’s work life and you need to remember this at all times. (Yes, I know that it’s burdensome, but you chose to be a boss with responsibility for constructive feedback.) Your preparation of wording, approach, and examples will make you more comfortable as the deliverer of constructive feedback.
    • An additional rule has been widely recommended to managers. If you need an employee to improve his or her performance, address only one major improvement at a time. With this approach, the employee can fully comprehend the needed changes. You can spend the time offering examples, developing a course of action, and expressing confidence in the employee’s ability to improve. It makes sense to focus after you have given the employee an overview of the key areas of needed improvement. You might even ask the employee where they’d like to concentrate first.
    • When discussing the employee’s performance, link the failings to their real impact on the business and on the employee’s coworkers. Help the employee see where their actions are unfavorably having an impact on their company and their career. Focus, too, on the positive results that will occur with improvement.
    • Areas that you put forth for improvement may already be apparent to the employee. The straightforward approach allows the employee to acknowledge that he or she sees the need for improvement. In fact, the employee may be experiencing frustration about how to approach improvement and get better results. This is an opportunity for the manager to develop a relationship with the employee in which the manager is viewed as a helpful resource who is committed to the employee’s success.
    • The outcome of the meeting should be an action plan with feedback sessions planned at regular intervals. The employee is more likely to improve with clear expectations, due dates, and your proffered regular support.
    • In a performance review setting, provide both positive and constructive feedback while providing the opportunity for discussion. Following the entire discussion, rather than provide more positive feedback, use the time to express confidence in the employee’s ability to improve. Establish an action plan and critical points timeline that specifies when you’d like feedback about progress from the employee.

    The feedback sandwich is an outdated recommendation that catered to the skills, fears, and trepidation of managers who were expected to help employees improve their performance by providing clear and honest feedback. If you follow these recommendations instead, you actually have the opportunity to help every employee succeed.

Published in Communication

Additional Info

  • Duration 1h - 3h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Strengthen team work and identify the importance of working together to achieve goals.

  • Materials

    a PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration.

  • Procedure

    Are you interested in holding team building events in your workplace? You don’t have to spend a lot of money nor do they need to be ostentatious or complicated. You just need to create structured opportunities for employees to mingle. You can schedule team building activities in the workplace and in your local community for your employees.

    Here are 15 team building activities that you can do:

    Team Building Activities

    • Lunch discussion and team building groups: Provide lunch for the whole company, a department or a work team. Assign employees to various work groups of up to ten people to thoughtfully discuss and respond to work related questions. One fun way to divide employees, when you don’t care who is in which group, is to put numbers on the bottom of plates. All employees who have a number 1 on their plate take their lunch and meet in the library or conference room B, for example.

    • Additional ways to divide employees into discussion groups.
    • Thoughtful questions for ice breakers that you can use as samples, although you will want the discussion topics to reflect the interests and happenings in your workplace.
    • Take an employee to work day: Schedule employees to visit another department for take an employee to work day. Employees are always curious about what other employees do. Satisfy their interest and introduce the employees to a whole new work group in the process. The opportunity to observe in another department allows employees to participate in team building that enhances cross department cooperation and understanding. It also offers employees the chance to explore another career path. Here’s how one company put together their take an employee to work day.
    • Provide comfortable collaboration spaces with couches, snacks and beverages. Ask employees to schedule the space as they might reserve a conference room. Require that all food and beverages must be consumed in the collaboration area in a group experience.
    • Hold work book clubs: Employees across the company or in a single department volunteer to read and discuss a particular book in a work book club. The company purchases the books for the employees who meet weekly to discuss a chapter or two. In the best book clubs, employees take turns leading the discussion about the chapter. A second employee leads the discussion about the implications of what they are reading for the company. This is how to set up a work book club.
    • Use ice breakers at meetings: Teams that meet frequently may not need an ice breaker, but ice breakers come in handy for team building when you are forming a new team. They also work well when you are repurposing a team with a new mission. Ice breakers help employees know each other and improve their ability to work well together. These ice breakers are especially good for meetings. Additionally, make sure that every team has established team norms and relationship guidelines if the team will work together for a period of time.
    • Sponsor job shadowing opportunities for employees in a different department. Just as take an employee to work day fosters team building between departments, so does job shadowing. It provides the opportunity for an employee to explore alternate career paths, too. Job shadowing is easy to put together and costs only the employees’ time. The benefits of job shadowing far outweigh its cost.
    • Provide group mentoring. One-on-one mentoring is important for employees and always recommended when you bring a new employee into your organization. But, group mentoring by a senior manager or manager is another opportunity for team building. Employees learn new skills and approaches while furthering their relationships with coworkers.

    A second form of group mentoring involves an employee who has a particular skill set that other employees want to learn. The employee can mentor groups of employees to gain the skill or knowledge with the same impact on team building.

    • Hold company sponsored off-site departmental lunches: Departmental lunches, whether at a restaurant or grilling at a local park, are excellent team building activities. There is something about sharing a meal together, outside of the office, that encourages employees to talk and get to know each other. Schedule fun games as part of an outdoor activity. Sports participation works well for team building.
    • Provide company sponsorship for sports teams and challenges for charity like half marathons. A client company sponsors sports teams for employees that include baseball, golf, basketball, bowling, soccer, and more. The company also pays employee registrations for running and walking events, especially those for local charities. At one recent 5k run / walk, 36 employees ran together in company T-shirts. This is terrific for team building, for the company’s positive notoriety and community exposure, and for supporting employee causes.
    • Develop and schedule lunch and learns for employees. In a lunch and learn or brown bag lunch, an outside speaker or an employee with a hobby, interest, or particular knowledge meets with a group of employees to share information and experience. The employees bring their own lunches and the speakers are encouraged to make their sessions interactive to encourage team building. The shared interest in the topic encourages team building as does the interaction.
    • With team building fun and fitness in mind, you can schedule fitness sessions in your workplace for employees. Activities such as weekly Weight Watchers meetings, yoga classes at noon, or group exercises in your fitness center build also offer team building opportunities for employees. In one client company, an employee has organized a weekly 3-5k run / walk that is scheduled at the end of the work day. Employees run and walk together on a nature trail that runs through the office park. This weekly run / walk formed the basis for many of the external run / walks that employees do together. (See above.)
    • Fun classes and events on-site after work or on the weekend promote employee engagement and team building with employees. You can provide fun classes that employees (and their families) can attend after work or on weekends. Examples from team building activities that were successful for client companies include cheese making, beer making, cooking classes of all kinds, and product-centered tips and sessions for customers who attend on their own time but without paying any fees. The employees involved in the customer events did serious team building to plan, organize, and attend the events that educated customers.
    • Promote employee hobby clubs. Employees may share interest in various outside-of-work activities. Provide the space, email lists, and occasional financial support to promote hobby groups meeting at work. I have experienced photography clubs, Internet game playing groups at lunch, knitting clubs, and shooting interest groups at work. Team building activities in this space are unlimited.
    • Encourage your employees to volunteer as a group for team building. Whether your employees are running for charity, golfing for the homeless, building homes for poor families, or collecting food for people without food, volunteering as a team is a team building activity that lasts. The camaraderie that employees build when they volunteer together is sustainable and powerful.
    • Host activities for employees’ families at work. Any of the above can include the significant others of employees and their children, especially the fun classes and the charitable activities. Additionally, hosting children at work helps employee families develop friendships outside of work which cements the team building in the workplace. Ideas for families includes:

    • hosting trick or treating from office to office and carving pumpkins for children at Halloween
    • holding tailgate parties in the parking lot before football games
    • putting up a big screen in the parking lot to show family movies in the summer
    • inviting employees and their guests to enjoy annual sporting events such as the final game of the World Series and the final four games of the NCAA on big screen TVs
    • holding a Christmas Eve holiday luncheon at work or in a local restaurant as employees scatter to celebrate the holidays.

    Team building activities in the workplace stretch your imagination - and are only limited by your imagination and that of your employees. They are remarkable in their ability to foster a sense of community and friendships at work. Low cost, but highly effective team building activities, make your workplace desirable and you an employer of choice.

Published in Team work

Additional Info

  • Duration 1h - 3h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Strengthen team work and identify the importance of working together to achieve goals.

  • Materials
    • a PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration
    • Meeting Room or Virtual Meeting or Conference Room
    • Flip Chart and Paper or White Board and Markers
  • Procedure

    Overview:

    The members of every team and work group develop particular ways of interacting with each other over time. Effective interpersonal communication among group members and successful communication with managers and employees external to the group are critical components of group functioning.

    How a group makes decisions, assigns work, and holds people accountable determines team success. With the potential power of the impact of these interactions on success, why leave group interaction to chance? Adopt group relationship guidelines or group norms early to ensure group success. Here are the steps to adopt group norms.

    Instructions:

    • Form and charter a team with a project, process improvement, or product development task. Or, pull together an existing work group.
    • Read about group and team norms to understand the concept. 
    • Schedule and hold a meeting to establish and adopt group relationship guidelines or group norms. All members of the team or work group must be present at the meeting so the resultant group norms are "owned" by all members of the group.
    • With an external facilitator leading, or a member of the group, in the absence of a facilitator, leading, all group members should brainstorm a list of guidelines that will help create an effective team.

    Remember that in a true brainstorming session, the more ideas generated the better. Do not comment on nor critique the ideas. Simply ask a group member to record them on a flip chart or white board where the whole group can see them.

    • Once the list of group norms is generated, you will want to cross redundant ideas off the list. You can decide to keep all of the group norms generated, or through discussion, you can determine the group norms you wish to keep and support as a group.

    There is no recommended number of group norms and new group norms can be added over time if the group experiences the need for more guidelines.

    Keep in mind that "all" group behavior cannot, and should not, be legislated, but the most important interaction areas do need attention. Examples include effective conflict, communication, and keeping commitments.

    • Each member of the group commits to “living” the guidelines. They also commit to telling each other if they believe a group member is violating an agreed upon group norm.
    • Following the meeting, distribute the group norms to all team members. Post the group norms in the team’s meeting room.
    • Periodically evaluate the effectiveness of the group on achieving its business goals as well as its members’ relationship goals.

    Tips:

    • All members of a work group must be present or postpone the session.
    • Do record the group norms agreed upon as memories are short.
    • Evaluate whether the group is following the norms, at least monthly.
Published in Team work

Additional Info

  • Duration 1h - 3h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Empower teams to reach goals and fulfill their potential.

  • Materials

    a PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration

  • Procedure
    • Delegate responsibility and authority to people who have demonstrated leadership abilities. Besides freeing up your time to focus on the big picture, delegation also nurtures the next generation of team leaders and managers. You should, however, define the parameters of this delegated power. Make it clear that you reserve the right to intervene when necessary.
    • Create an environment where people feel empowered to take the initiative on assigned projects. You can do this by encouraging team members to challenge conventional thinking, and to use their judgment and discretion in making decisions. 
    • Do not second guess your team members. This will undermine their confidence and, in the case of middle managers, their leadership. Consider yourself a resource and a mentor, rather than a manager.
Published in Empowerment

Additional Info

  • Duration 30min - 1h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Activate the connection between team members.

  • Materials

    One PC with webcam or similar device for each with internet connection for online/virtual collaboration. 

  • Procedure

    This one is a really simple activity for ice-breakers and team introductions, and great for demonstrating the need for communications and team-working when developing virtual teams and a 'joined up' approach. 

    • Split the group into teams of equal numbers between three and ten people. Ask the teams to stand and form into clusters. (The exercise is a test of cooperation, coordination and communication. No materials are required.)

    • The facilitator calls out (and displays on a flip-chart) an instruction by which each team's members should join with each other, for example: twelve fingers, three thumbs, two elbows, one shoulder and two knees.

    • Each team must then work out as quickly as possible how to achieve the 'joining instructions'. When properly joined the team can shout out 'joined' for the facilitator to check they've won the round.

    • Scores can be kept and the game played over several rounds. Obviously, different joining instructions will create different pressures on the teams to think and adapt.

    • The facilitator should think about joining instructions to use, mindful of the likely group and team sizes.

    • Ensure the joining instructions given are physically possible, and enable all team members to be involved (which is generally ensured by including lots of fingers in the instructions). It's preferable to state that joined solutions should involve all team members. Other examples of joining instructions, depending on team sizes:

      • Six knees and twenty five fingers.
      • Four elbows, three ears, ten fingers one thumb.
      • Three hands, three wrists, ten fingers and two ankles.
      • Twenty three fingers, three shoulders, three noses and a chair.
      • Three toes, a thigh, a forehead, thirty fingers, a wall and a table.
      • Ten fingers, ten thumbs, two elbows, two knees, and three credit cards.
      • Six fingers, six thumbs, two ankles, a mobile phone and a calculator.
Published in Synergy

Additional Info

  • Duration 30min - 1h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Empower teams to reach goals and fulfill their potential.

  • Materials

    A PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration.

  • Procedure

    Overview

    The Levitron is without doubt one of the most incredible toys ever invented - it's a small precision spinning-top that with the aid of a repelling magnetic base and special weights, actually stays spinning suspended in mid-air, for two or three minutes. And the Levitron is all the more amazing for the fact that hardly anyone has ever heard about it. It was launched about 1995, but has never really achieved wide distribution. The Levitron is a great product for team games, training and reinforcing concepts about quality, accuracy, patience, the brain, all sorts.

    The Levitron is available online from several internet retailers. The basic model if you can still get it was around £20 or $30. There are now more advanced 'easier' models, which in many cases will be better for team building activities.

     

    Procedures:

    The use of levitron for team building games and business exercises is restricted only by your imagination - here are some ideas to get you started:

    • in pairs or teams of 3 - a race to spin first.
    • in teams of 4 or more - a race to spin first with each team member only able to handle a stipulated number of items (eg coloured washers, rubber washer, wedges, the top itself, the perspex plate, the base, etc) - a leader must be elected who allocates responsibilities after a stipulated time to assess abilities. Option to change responsibilities after stipulated periods.
    • in pairs or teams of 3 - longest spin time competition (increase team size and add responsibility requirements as above.)
    • teams of 3 - use levitron instead of construction kits with communication corridor exercise.
    • in teams of 3-5 - create the most spectacular levitron tricks and demonstration using items and materials in the training room.
    • in teams 3-5 - write a training plan to teach someone how to use the levitron.
    • in teams of 5 - role-play the training plan with an individual from the team who does not know how to use it (1 trainee, plus all other team members to have a training duty within the training plan).
    • in teams of 3 - play with the levitron then create an advert for the levitron for the educational physics market.

    De-brief and review according to the exercises selected and the local situation and people, abilities, training or team-building purpose, etc. The best way to create a framework for de-brief is to brainstorm the headings before the exercise with the whole group - this also helps people get the best out of the exercise, because they are aware of the pointers.

Published in Empowerment

Additional Info

  • Duration 1h - 3h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Empower teams to reach goals and fulfill their potential.

  • Materials

    A PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration.

  • Procedure

    This is a simple exercise for groups between 8 and 30 people, and involves many different learning elements: understanding strategies, teamwork, presentations, argument, debate, analysis and group decision-making.

    The activity is based on the funny one-liner (often attributed to comedian Stephen Wright), which is deeper than first seems: "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

    • Split the group into two teams.

    • Nominate one team to be 'early bird' and the other team to be 'second mouse' (or allow the group to decide this themselves, which can be an interesting mini-exercise in its own right).

    • Give the teams 5-10 minutes, each to develop a 60-second presentation (or longer for bigger groups and more learning depth) as to why their strategy ('early bird' or 'second mouse') is best for business (or work or life, depending on your situation).

    • Encourage the teams to make use of the knowledge and abilities and views of all team members in creating their presentations.

    • After the two presentations chair a 5-10 minute debate between the teams of the question:

    "Early bird or second mouse: Which is the most effective strategy for business (or work or life)?"

    (Optionally, ask the teams if in light of the presentations they would prefer to frame the question in a different way. People might now see a more constructive approach to the question. Again this can be a useful mini-exercise in its own right.)

    • After the debate hold a 'free' vote to see what the combined group now believes about the question. Allow but do not encourage abstentions ('don't knows'). Encourage group members to vote as individuals, putting their team loyalty to one side.

    • There are many possible learning areas to review after this exercise, depending on your situation and development purposes, for example:

      • different strategies for different situations - adaptability versus consistency
      • different strategies for different types of people and personalities or organizational cultures
      • assembling an argument/case/presentation in a team against a tight deadline
      • presenting a concise and convincing argument/presentation
      • constructive debate and discussion - using evidence, examples, structure, passion, etc
      • (with regard to the optional re-framing of the debate question) the significance of question wording when a group is asked a question, and the potential to distort unhelpfully or focus helpfully on the main issue
      • how groups consider and decide
      • responsibility of those in authority to assist and enable clear understanding, debate and decision-making
      • dilemma of personal views versus 'team' views ('real life' examples: parliamentary voting - keeping to the party-line, or personal convictions/local constituency; also management dilemma in implementing corporate policy with which a manager may personally disagree - what are the important reference points in making these judgements?
      • and other aspects applicable or arising.
Published in Empowerment

Additional Info

  • Duration 30min - 1h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Activate the connection between team members.

  • Materials

    A PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration.

  • Procedure
    • Split groups into teams of between three and six people.

    • Provide the following instruction to group/teams:

      • You have five minutes to discover an interesting, surprising and separate connection you share with each person in your team. (A different connection with each person, not a single connection that every team member shares.)

      • 'Interesting and surprising' does not include working for the same company, living in the same town or country or having the same colour hair. Try to find a connection or something in common that surprises both of you.

      • The purpose of the exercise is to ensure that each person of the team ask some questions and gives some answers about themselves and all other team members, and so gets to know each other better.

      • Discussions can be in pairs or threes. The team can decide how best to enable each person to speak to every other team member in the time allowed. This requires more care in larger teams.

    Discussion questions:

    1. What sort of questions helped discover most information?
    2. How does mutual awareness (knowing each other better) help team-work, cooperation, communications, etc?
    3. What normally prevents people from getting to know each other better?
    4. You will think of many other review points depending on the situation.

     

    Notes:

    Larger teams need more time to ensure everyone learns something new and ideally establishes an interesting connection with each other team member.

    Examples of questions people can ask each other, if they need prompting:

    • What is your passion in life?
    • Where would you most like to visit/travel?
    • What would you change if you could?
    • What music/food/weather do you most enjoy?
    • What do you like best: words, numbers, pictures or sounds?
    • What is your most under-used strength?

    Younger people might be happier with questions about less deep subjects, which is fine. Guide the group as you consider appropriate.

Published in Synergy

Additional Info

  • Duration 30min - 1h
  • Participants More than 10
  • Methodology Virtual or Face to Face
  • Objectives

    Activate the connection between team members.

  • Materials

    A PC with webcam or similar device with internet connection for online collaboration.

  • Procedure

    A quick simple exercise related to questioning, and working together, here is the instruction, for groups of any size and any ages:

    If you could ask just one question to discover a person's/provider's suitability for (insert situation, see examples below), what would your question be?

    Examples of situations to use for the activity and insert in the instruction:

      • supplying you a vital component/service
      • baby-sitting or child-minding
      • marriage to you
      • running a business together
      • arranging your charity bungee jump/parachute leap/sky-dive
      • being your personal assistant/bodyguard
      • being your boss/employer/leader
      • being the leader of your country/company
      • You can devise your own situations besides these to suit your purposes. There are countless other possible situations.
    • Issue one situation for the whole group, or allocate a different situation to each team member or pair/team to work on. (Increasing the variety of situations allocated will tend to increase the time of the activity and especially its review).
    • Ask people to work individually or in small teams to devise their questions.
    • Ask people to work in pairs or threes to test and reflect and refine (and maybe role-play) the questions.
    • Give a time limit for questions preparation, and a separate time limit for testing/role-playing.
    • There are no absolute 'right' or best questions - there are many effective questions, depending on the situation and people's needs, but there are certainly questions which do not work well and which should be avoided.

     

    Review informally via discussion:

    1. Are there advantages in preparing important questions, rather than relying on instinct or invention at the time?
    2. What else happens while we ask questions, aside from the words between us? (Explore body language and non-verbal communications.)
    3. What sort of questions are least effective and should be avoided? (Try to identify characteristics of ineffective questions.)
    4. What sort of questions are most effective? (Try to identify characteristics of effective questions.)
    5. How do we feel when being asked effective/ineffective questions?
    6. To what extent and how should questions be tailored for the particular listener, and for the questioner's needs?
    7. What crucial questions do we ask (at work/in life) which we could prepare more carefully?

    The activity can of course be expanded by allowing/instructing people to devise more than one question, or potentially to devise an entire questioning strategy for a given situation.

Published in Synergy
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Testimonial

palmi

"Managing Virtual Teams (MVT) provided workable solutions that could be implemented right away for long term success. I went into the course hoping to grab a few tips and tricks but instead experienced a hands-on workshop that was tailored to my organization's needs." Megan West, Digital Communications Manager. Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)

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