Before a workshop, we ask for a brief on key workshop objectives from the stakeholders. One of the more common refrains we hear is, "We have some problems in the team/organization. Many people, even at the level of senior leadership, tend to work in functional silos. Can you do something to change their mindset, make them work together more productively and collaboratively . . .?"
In over 1800 workshops covering over 39,800 people from various nationalities, industry, hierarchy, and culture, we have learned something very surprising as well as encouraging - No matter where they are from or whatever be their background or qualification, at the core people behave and respond in very similar ways. Given the right team environment, they inevitably demonstrate as their instinctive, spontaneous behaviour all the very same qualities that managers so desperately struggle to elicit from their teams -
the ability to integrate almost instantly into new and even changing teams,
the ability to communicate powerfully so as to transfer not just words or thoughts or ideas, but an entire experience,
the ability to collaborate by investing in each other's performance,
creativity and innovation,
enjoyment of change and challenge, and
the ability to take on intense pressure, competition, and even failure, without stress.
The significant learning that emerges is that instead of trying to change people, it is more practical and effective to work towards changing the environment.
Changing or transforming people is an enormously challenging, complex, and unpredictable, though very noble objective, best left to an enlightened Guru or Realized Master. Changing the environment by creating the right team definitions, and a conducive policy framework primarily with regard to appraisals and rewards, are well within the reach of less enlightened mortals who have been given the responsibility of leading teams to deliver excellence under change, challenge and high pressure conditions.
The "CorporateTheatre" methodology, even in a 1-day 'Power Team Dynamics' workshop explores the immensely comprehensive and exciting possibilities of 'natural' teams, and the environment that enables and sustains them. Longer workshops are designed to further explore the leadership styles that empower 'natural' teams as well as to work out specific action plans on what we need to do in our own workplaces to create the 'natural' team environment.
The possibilities are immense. What is needed is the willingness to redefine some of our existing concepts of leadership and management paradigms.