By Jane Clark
Originally published on LinkedIn
I wonder how many of us really practice what we preach? OK – so let’s clarify that question a bit more. What I mean is, I wonder how many of us find the time in our busy working day lives to take a pause, and get to know more about the people we work with daily and how we can support each other more? There are lots of different models, methodologies, frameworks and complexities to help us solve some of these questions, and it’s making use of the right tools at the right time. Last Thursday, we decided to explore and gain a greater awareness of our strengths and how these can be used to optimise our individual and team performance and engagement at work.
We all met at GC Towers HQ at 9am prompt, laden down with our contribution for the ‘fuddle’ lunch and our homework of bringing along an object that represents our strengths in action. The atmosphere was buzzing and it was quite obvious that everyone was in ‘contribution’ mode right from the get-go.
After setting our rules for the day, our first exercise was to present our object to the rest of the group, explaining why this object/activity represented our strengths. There were a variety of objects from a pair of old slippers, to balloon modelling and a very raucous hokey-cokey in action!
We then continued through various group discussions reflecting on the best teams we had worked for and why, and ways in which we were going to work together to achieve peak performance. I think it’s fair to say that one of the hardest things we found, was to actively listen to someone with a clear head and not to think about our response.
It was then time for tea and donuts and to set our goals and aspirations and how we were going to use our strengths in achieving this. It was a very energising session, and one where everyone contributed and challenged with a consensus being reached.
The most thought-provoking part of the day for me was the time to reflect on how all our strengths in action as a team were working. We were pleased that critical thinking, detail-orientation and results-focused were featured highly, as this is so important for our business. However, what did some of these strengths look like in overdrive, and what effects does that have on our decision making? For example, is being enthusiastic a good thing after all?! How are we going to support each other going forward, and will we all be brave enough to call out a behaviour in over drive? Training days are great fun, but what was the commercial element from the day, and what are we going to do with what we learnt? How will we measure our success? What do we want our stakeholders to think and say about us?
For me, the day absolutely flew by, and as I found myself running for the train (as always), I felt energised, optimistic and a new confidence that the day had really worked. The team Whatsapp was buzzing that night, and I know that deep down we will all hold ourselves to account, support each other and use all the learnings in a really positive way. Who said enthusiasm was a bad thing?