18 people are standing on a wide circular platform just a few inches off the ground. They’re adjusting positions, trying to figure out where everyone needs to stand so the teetering platform can balance with everyone on board. At first it may look like a silly playground game, but after the activity’s over the participants have new insights into how they, and their colleagues, react under pressure.
“The quality of the exercise is all in the debrief,” says Michael, a retired university professor taught ‘Elements of Team Building’ to MBA students at Seattle University and the University of Washington. Most of Michael’s teaching took place in the classroom, but every course also included a hands-on element with Donna Lowe and John Grebe from Facilitating Team Solutions.
“Donna and John brought a real-world element into the debrief of each activity. They’d ask my students if there was anything they were surprised about in their own behavior or the behavior of their teammates. They might repeat the exercise with blindfolds or other challenges. And then they’d link everything back to the workplace, and talk about how to improve communication and cooperation among colleagues.”
Memorable experiences, fun, and learning too
Before Michael started teaching university courses in the 90s, he also spent 34 years as the Organization Development Director at the Boeing Company.
“My job was to go from group to group, coaching managers and other employees on ways to improve their performance,” says Michael, who holds a PhD in Social Psychology.
When he started working with Facilitating Team Solutions 20 years ago, he was impressed with the educational theory Donna and John used in support of every activity. Participants always had a lot of fun navigating low-ropes courses and problem-solving as a team, while also learning new leadership skills and gaining valuable insights. Michael appreciated the work Facilitating Team Solutions did so much, he returned about five times a year for two decades.
“Donna and John would facilitate a full, eight-hour session with each new group. They’d start by talking about theory and skills, then go out to the activity course where students would see these things manifest in their own behaviour,” Michael says. “Then they’d debrief by asking participants to reflect, asking, ‘Why did I behave this way? Why did my team choose to do things this way?’ We’d talk about the roles people play within teams and help participants understand where they fit.”
Call today to schedule a customized event
Michael is retired now, but Donna and John are still offering a wide range of team building opportunities to office departments, school groups, sports teams and more. With a trailer full of equipment, Facilitating Team Solutions can bring portable initiatives to a location of your choice for a customized event that helps all clients experience the true purpose behind interactive challenges. Or you can bring your team to the woods, and experience one of a variety of challenge courses in Snohomish County.
To find out how they can help your team, call
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