Creative teambuilding: How experiential learning enhances team diversity

Can teambuilding events really deliver ongoing sustainable benefits? According to a healthcare client who recently engaged in a full-day True Colours Workshop with Conundrum Adventures, teambuilding events are valuable because they create an environment that allows participants to actually experience the desired learning. This experiential learning model is more effective than other traditional methods in that participants get to see their (and their co-workers’) behaviour in action.
Creative teambuilding: How experiential learning enhances team diversity.
“Working in a busy, inter-disciplinary healthcare organization can be challenging,” says Shantelle Veld, Executive Director of the Bridgepoint Family Health Team. “As such working collaboratively is essential to our delivery of care, job satisfaction, and ability to be efficient. While communication and conflict management strategies are generally not innate skills, it is important to invest resources to develop and practise them in a supportive format.”

Immediate results

Veld says she had participated in an earlier Conundrum program through the Rotman School of Management and then engaged Conundrum to work with her Bridgepoint team, which saw results almost immediately.

“Since our Conundrum experience, we have realized the enhancement in our team dynamic and work performance,” says Veld. “The session was well organized, professional, and fun! Our team is looking forward to working with Conundrum in the future to continue our progress and apply them to our everyday work.”

The goal for Conundrum Adventures is to take this model one step further – to create an experiential event that succeeds on its own as a fun and engaging activity, but also allows participants “true colours” to really shine through. This affords the chance for people to see their own behaviour (and that of others) in a way that actually mirrors how they react to certain situations in their daily work life. By also incorporating a session to extrapolate this implicit learning, Conundrum is able to maximize the observations and benefits that both the individual and the group as a whole can accrue.

Develop strengths

While there are numerous personality profile tools available, their level of impact is strongly related to how well a facilitator can get the group to self-reflect. As a healthcare group, Bridgepoint staff work in very close quarters and require many different skills to effectively deliver high-quality patient care. The client’s goal was to participate in an activity that allowed each individual to demonstrate and fully contribute their unique strengths. As in many team situations, the challenge was getting the group to understand each other enough to get past their personality differences.

The focus for Bridgepoint’s workshop and adventure was what could be achieved when teammates actually listen and understand each other. During the adventure element of the day, the group was challenged with situations that tested their ability to build on each other’s ideas. Key elements of the team’s daily work challenges were tested. Does the group have the ability to strategies and prioritize? Are they regularly able to bring out each of their unique talents?

Throughout the course of the day, participants were able to see and experience the variety of skills and talents that reside in their co-workers and as a group as a whole.

Motivate peers

Furthermore, team members learned explicitly how to better motivate their peers and staff. Each group was provided with helpful prodding to expand on their presentations to ensure other personality types could gain a better appreciation and understanding of their motivations and preferences.

During the workshop session of the event, participants told their own story from each of four core personality styles, identifying key motivators and strengths. The facilitator played a key role in helping the group articulate the nuances from each of the core personality styles perspectives.

In summary, clients benefit from professional teambuilding programs when those programs create an environment for the team members to experience each other’s skills and talents. Creating an event that allows the group to see alternate approaches and gain an appreciation of the team’s diversity is critical to success. If unmanaged or unrecognized, diversity can be a team’s downfall. When harnessed effectively, it can become a team’s greatest strength.

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