On the 4th of April, I worked with around 90 senior leaders of a leading telecom company. These 90 people were from different circles and the workshops were part of their visioning and strategy meet. The initial plan was to work with the entire group as one batch, with 2 facilitators. We thought we would break them into 2 groups for the initial sessions which would be handled simultaneously by 2 facilitators and then bring the whole group together for a combined process with 1 facilitator.
Unfortunately, just a couple of days before the workshop, the other facilitator could not make it because of a personal priority. This left us with only one option – split the group into 2 batches, and do two, three-and-a-half hour sessions with just one facilitator. This can be extremely demanding for one facilitator, in terms of the physical energy and mental alertness required. There was also the added concern about how much of an insightful and transformational experience could be facilitated within such a short time, for such a senior, experienced participant group.
In spite of expressing my reservations, the client insisted that we go with this option. The first session for a batch of 47 participants started around 9 am and went on till around 12.30. The second batch of around 37 people joined us for lunch and the second session started at 1.15 and went on till 4.30 pm.
At the end of the day, I was completely exhausted, yet deeply satisfied. Both groups delivered outstanding performances. More importantly, the sharing of experience was comprehensive and covered almost every aspect of team behaviour – integration, collaboration, communication, creativity, managing time, managing change, resource optimization, finding new competencies, and enjoyment of challenge and pressure. In just three and a half hours!!
Obviously all these elements could not have been acquired or learned in three and a half hours. The fact of the matter is simply, that all these attributes are already there, abundantly available at the level of primary instinct in each and every one of us. This is a fact that has been consistently demonstrated and repeatedly reinforced workshop after workshop, year after year, participant after participant, without exception and without dilution. Owing to the environment that we experience, some of us make it part of our natural behaviour at the workplace, many of us don’t. Creating the environment (the 3 pillars of a Natural Team) that enables the manifestation of this natural instinctive behaviour among their people is the primary responsibility of the top leadership. If this is done, the teams will find the competencies, create the resources and commit to delivering excellence for the sake of excellence.
Simply because no individual wants to fail, no team wants to be second.