It is interesting just how long you can work with people without actually knowing them.
You may think you are work mates, pals, even friends, because you spend so much time in the workplace together, or because you are dealing with work projects and other issues as part of a team, when, in actual fact, you don't really know them - or what makes them tick.
And just realising that was one of the main lessons I learned from our recent foray into team building on a two day training course organised by the management at KCP and involving the whole KCP office team as well as the in-the-field experts and technicians.
The event was run by Connect Three who are motivated by the belief that “People are what make good businesses great” and who, working with our MD Wendy Pring, had devised a programme aimed at bringing the team together to talk about how we can work more effectively as a team to meet the changing nature of our business and to identify ways in which we could better support each other and face our exciting, if challenging, future.
A big ambition but it really worked.
Vicky Connor of Connect Three, a successful organisational development consultancy in Glasgow, had worked with Wendy to identify key topics for the sessions and the first hour involved Wendy sharing KCP's future strategy to put us in the picture - and then the real work began.
The exercises began with a getting-to-know-you session part of which was for each of us to share something about ourselves that no-one else would know. That was fun and it is amazing what you don't know about the people you work with. A real eye opener! We are now considering a “Who's Who” for the office which we could give to new staff members to help them get to know their colleagues.
There were a number of exercises where we split into teams and worked together to solve problems … it was fascinating and very useful. We took part in a NASA designed test involving selecting the most useful tools for our survival if lost in deep space and I think it is fair to say we all found that challenging!
It never actually occurred to me you can't use a magnetic compass when lost off planet earth!
There was a game where we were given two packs of cards with three cards missing and two teams had to work out what they were … that was really taxing! Too many chiefs and not enough indians there!
We also took time to discuss our company ethos “CHESS - Communication, Honesty, Efficiency, Service and Safety” and its role in our day to day work, customer service and working relationships.
We studied our own individual traits, talents and areas for improvement including “what are you good at”, “what could you do better” and “what needs to change” both for ourselves and for the business.
It was hard work but I believe that everyone now has a better understanding of what we all do and how it relates to what others do and I really do feel a lot better, more focussed and more ready for the challenges ahead.
A few things have already come out of the sessions including regular catch up sessions and with a Monday briefing and a Friday wrap up in the office to see what has to be done and what has been achieved in any week.
I found it a very useful two days and I am fairly sure I was not alone in that!
Vicky from Connect Three said: “We used some key concepts, personal analysis of team roles using the Belbin Team Typing tool and some practical exercises throughout the two day event.
"We brought the business challenges to life and had healthy conversations about how to solve some of the problems facing KCP the team and it provided a lot to consider from a personal and business development perspective.”
* It is worth mentioning that support for delivering the training was provided by East Ayrshire council through their BeReady programme.