Sustainability as a team sport
One of the things I notice about my client employee engagement workshops is how teams stick together – typically any one table will be dominated by a team of colleagues, either completely, or with a couple of lone rangers hanging on. The conventional wisdom is that a facilitator or trainer should break up these cosy cabals to “get people out of their comfort zone.”
I disagree. Uncomfortable people often shrink back into their shells and the new, artificial teams you create will take far too long to bond and become effective.
The basic principle of my Green Jujitsu approach to culture change is to play to strengths rather than trying to correct weaknesses. So, if you have strong teams, then use them, don’t try to disrupt them for the sake of it.
There are a number of clear advantages to engaging at the team level:
- The team can apply the principles you give them to their actual job role which makes the exercise relevant and immediate;
- The debate between team members is much richer if they all understand the problem at hand;
- The proposed solutions are much more likely to be practical and effective as a result;
- The momentum of a team moving forward on a task can sweep any awkward b*****ds along with them, minimising the chance of disruptive grandstanding;
- Behavioural change at a team level can lead to much more significant results than a sprinkling of behaviour change;
- As a bonus, team building by a relevant task has been shown to be much more effective than any amount of trite “crossing crocodile-infested custard” style tasks.
So if your employees (or your clients’) want to stick together in teams, welcome it, don’t knock it.
My new eBook, Green Jujitsu, is now available from Dõ Sustainability.