Teambuilding and team working
Teams are one of the most effective ways of service delivery. Teams themselves need regular attention if they are to work at their best. I can facilitate teambuilding days which can address various issues, for example:
- Teams under pressure from internal or external demands
- Teams with communication issues
- Teams which need to merge with others (possibly joint events)
- Teams which need to gear up and develop new drive, direction or goals
- Teams which want to celebrate their existence and successes
"[I] liked the style & responsive approach to leading the workshop."
A team which had moved to a new, cramped office some months ago had simply never had time to sit down together and work out how to store some of the piles of boxes and papers that had come with them. They were constantly tripping over 'stuff' or mislaying things, with all the irritation that comes with such a situation. At the team day, two members agreed to come in on a day off to clear everything properly, earning the undying gratitude of the rest of the team and transforming morale.
At the end of a teambuilding session or series of sessions, a team will have a better appreciation of each other and the character and strengths of the team itself. They will leave with an understanding of their goals, how far they are on the road towards achieving these, and a constructive and practical action plan. There is also an element of relief and enjoyment; we might use collaborative games and toys to release right-brain energy, always with a purpose and forward movement.
I ask participants to evaluate their teambuilding session, because such work represents the organisation's investment. An anonymised summary of these evaluations will be sent to the commissioning manager.
"Carole's style of teaching was good in the fact that it allowed the group to participate into the content and structure of the day. The group work was excellent and many of the techniques used could be applied to other areas of our practice for example clinical supervision and mentoring. I would certainly recommend Carole for future sessions here at the Hospice and to external organisations."
A manager joined her team for a team day. When team members asked her to be more involved, visit them more and be more active with them, she was overwhelmed. She explained that she had been trying to 'keep out of their way' and was very touched that they actually wanted her presence more. She immediately got out her diary while wiping away a tear!
Consulting in difficult times
To their credit, staff often keep going without complaint in spite of hard times, inadequate resources or awkwardly structured organisation. But when extra pressure appears, things can rapidly go wrong. A particularly difficult client or situation, the loss of a key member of staff, reduction of resources or some other major change, can be the 'tipping point' which brings problems to a head and produces distress, dysfunction and conflict. This state of affairs can result in higher risk levels and a poorer service, as well as lowered motivation and energy in the team.
Often problems are put down to 'personality conflicts' but it is usually worth attending to systems and processes first. Get those right, help people to talk to each other and plan their own recovery as a group, and the 'personality' issues often fade away.
A highly skilled team member could work well 1:1 with clients, but had a mental health problem which meant she found it difficult to take part in a noisy and active team office. Other people found it annoying that she constantly sought quiet corners and seldom participated. Explanation and understanding in the gentle atmosphere of a team day paved the way for a much better relationship.
Experienced and flexible facilitation
When the system is under pressure, what's often needed is an appropriate, objective consultant who can contain the issues and use a calm, confidential and positive approach to getting things back on track. This can be highly cost-effective.
As an experienced facilitator I can offer:
- Many years' work with a wide variety of health and social care staff
- Knowledge of how groups and teams function
- Skills in conflict resolution
- A wide range of tools, both diagnostic and ongoing, to help managers and teams think about realistic improvements
- Long experience of flexibly facilitating individuals and groups.
Two large professional teams had to merge amidst much gossip and some back-biting. In a large room with a team at each end, we resolved this successfully and co-operatively by inviting each team to speculate about what the other team might be thinking and feeling about the merger, and then asking each team to take turns to ask straight questions of the other. Curiosity and a great sense of humour emerged and the merger's path was eased.
An initial consultation will enable us to talk through the situation and for me to grasp the key issues and understand what improvements you are hoping for and how I might be able to help resolve the situation. We can think practically and realistically about:
- What the issue or problem seems to be?
- How we will all know that this issue is resolved?
- Who would it be best to work with (the whole team or service? the managers and team leaders? a pair of team members? Just one person?)
- What kind of process needs to happen (a series of meetings with different people? A one-off large-group meeting? An email questionnaire prior to a meeting?)
- How, when and where can we begin the work?
- Information about fees and contracting.
Contact me for information about facilitating team days.