Kwesi is the Creative Director of The Cultural Assembly, they help creatives, businesses and organsations improve revenue, build stronger teams and boost creativity. He’s a graduate of The Institute of Leadership & Management and for over 20 years he’s delivered workshops to help companies all over the world build strong teams using the methodologies he’s developed as an Artistic Director and Choreographer at Kompany Malakhi. He calls it Team Architecture. Below he’s going to point out some failures and solutions with most team building activities and away days. If any of what he says rings true, connect with him on linkedin or mail him directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Away Days
Your away days are great fun whether you are using high ropes or getting bruised paintballing but they don’t address the specific issues you have on a day to day running of the business. A week after the away day you know who’s on target with a paintball gun but they are still not hitting their targets at work.
Tip: Focus on activities that address the specific issue. The need to organise an away day shouldn’t be confused with fixing issues with employees and teams. Fixing can be fun. I’ve worked with many actors and used NLP to help them change habits, communicate better and embody a message. The methods I use make it easy to integrate solutions into routines until they feel natural.
2. The Wrong Performers
You’re holding on to workers for fear you won’t be able to replace them or you’ve employed family members.
Tip: Hold your vision. What skills and experience do your staff need to realise your vision especially your leaders? They have to buy into the vision and culture. However you have to know it yourself first and know how to pass it on effectively.
3. Not considering Emotional Intelligence, (E.I.) only Intelligent Quotient
(I.Q.) You haven’t found a way to avoid employees only turning up to work to get paid who are not emotionally invested in the business.
Tip: Focus on activities that improve E.I. E.I. is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include three skills: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating your own emotions and cheering up or calming down other people. Generally people with greater E.I. succeed better in the workplace than those with a high I.Q. Performers have to have excellent E.I. in order to function as part of, or lead a team to deliver a unified message. Most actors don’t turn up just for the pay cheque, there is something stronger and that’s what I share.
4. Believing only senior management have the solutions to the problems.
You have a mountain of creativity and expertise right under your nose. It’s contained within your employees. Just because an employee works in a minor role doesn’t mean they can’t contribute ideas for the business to improve and grow.
Tip: Develop a creative method to enable employees to learn, listen and enable all participants to contribute regardless of culture or position. This is more than a brainstorming activity, it’s a method that gets worked into the companies culture where everyone feels they are allowed to contribute. Directors often focus on the bottom line, however if your employees aren’t happy the bottom line won’t be either. The working environment is key. Communication is key. Can you imagine the Royal Shakespeare Company not taking to the stage with a unified message? They learn the skill of effective communication. In order for it to be effective, emotion has to be part of the communication. They cannot convey the message by just saying the words. For a company this is like an employee memorising the words of a policy, which means they are not connected to it or the company.
5. Not using accelerated learning techniques.
More often than not new employees undergo inductions that are one dimensional. They are given policies to read and are expected to settle into the company and left to their own devices.
Tip: Use accelerated learning in everything an employee has to learn. It has several touch points to learning and speeds up the learning process and makes it more meaningful. Accelerated learning works on a visual, aural, oral, physical and emotional level. Learning in the arts touches many of these points if not all. I use this knowledge to help employees learn quicker by using, sound, vision, hearing, physicality and emotional response. Being physical has the immediate benefits of improving circulation which supplies blood to the brain which helps keep someone responsive and engaged.
6. Still organising your team training the same as you were 3 years ago.
There’s a saying that if you are currently running your business the same way as you were 3 years ago then you are already going out of business.
Tip: Employment has changed, the concept of a job for life doesn’t exist. Increasingly employees work contractually, luckily this is how a theatre ensemble operates. The performers can be part of a company even when they are not working at the company because they understand the ethos and core of the business because of clear direction and emotional attachment to the work. I teach a process that enables contractual and full time employees to achieve this attachment to the company.
7. Thinking you can solve the problems yourself.
Basically, if you knew how to resolve your problems you would have done so already. At the heart of it lies a concern that you should be able to sort these issues out yourself, and so there’s a resistance to getting help especially paying for help. So you will always see team building and communication training as a grudge purchase.
Tip: If you add up all your wasted time, employing the wrong staff, the cost of false starts & errors think you’ll find Team Architecture is a lot cheaper.
8. Failing to define company culture.
If you don’t know how to define the company culture this is going make teams fail and keep failing because your employees will feel lost and insecure.
Tip: Company culture is born out of a feeling and our feelings are ruled by our emotions. Developing a more creative approach that takes into consideration the emotion of a company culture is essential. If your company culture where an emotion what would it be? Teaching an employee to feel the company culture cannot be taught with words alone, it is visceral.
9. Failing to address issues as they arise.
Your team will spend a lot of time together, so the likelihood is that there are going to be conflicts is high. As the owner or manager, it is your job to deal with any conflict and get it resolved as quickly and positively as possible.
Tip: I can share with you how to help your staff remain open and communicate even when it’s difficult. Like most aspects of leadership, this comes down to responsibility and accountability of the owner and their E.I. as explained earlier. You can’t wait until the warring factions have made up, a resolution could take too long or might never happen at all. Developing a creative and empathetic feedback method is crucial to end conflicts and an even better solution is developing employees’ E.I. to maintain the flow of communication so conflicts are mitigated .
10. Not Talking To Me
Obviously I feel obliged to make this point. There are many team building companies and away day activities out there. I do not believe they have my skillset, background and unique experience to help you solve your needs and the problems you don’t know you have. Prevention is the best solution and I have tons of methods for prevention, resolution and team building.
Tip: Let’s chat
I can make teams gel quickly so the lines of communication become more effective. They will continue to support each other by using my trusted methods that incorporates games and challenges that access different parts of the brain and ones emotions. When the issue is out in the open, you can fix it. Fixing it doesn’t have to have to be a struggle, my training is always FUN! You may be one of the smart ones and have some training before you think your team needs it.
His training is perfect for
New, restructured or dysfunctional teams
Existing team trainers that need new skills
Drawing out creative genius
Helping CEO’s embed their WHY in the company
Feeling confident public speaking
Pitching your business
What to expect in a session
• Team building Games
• How to communicate effectively
How to listen effectively
Embody the company culture
Get in touch if any of the above rings true for you.