My team enjoys working together. Fortunately, we also enjoy having fun together. Recently, we spent a Saturday morning having breakfast together, sharing information about ourselves, and presenting personal “tidbits” that don’t come up in usual conversation. Wow! It was eye-opening! Not only did we realize that there are only six degrees of separation, we also learned that we might need to examine our hiring practices since people shared quite a bit more than we ever would have known otherwise. I loved it though! Why? Because our newest guy, after sharing some pretty intriguing information about himself, said “it’s all about trust, right? That’s why I’m comfortable sharing with the team”. And that was a learning moment for me. Imagine building a culture that is open, non-judgmental and trusting to the point that people can truly share without feeling condemned or having fear of reprisal. That will forever stick with me.
After breakfast our team proceeded to have some fun with Escape Room Entertainment. Escape Room Entertainment is a fun, challenging and unique interactive experience that is ideal for team building. Participants must collaborate and communicate effectively to find clues, solve puzzles and crack codes. The escape activity requires problem solving, conflict management, strategy and logic all while under the pressure of a deadline! Sound familiar to what you experience at work?
I’m proud to announce that our team escaped the Shipwreck well before our 60 minutes of doom closed in on us. We were successful at meeting our company goals for the offsite -- have fun, spend some time together outside of work, become better acquainted, and “escape.” Mission accomplished. But it gets even better!
My team is a very diverse group of people – from nationality, gender, age. We are all very different. But like all really good teams we work together to accomplish common goals using our different values, experience and backgrounds to our advantage.
As adults we are able to learn from experience; “hanging” new experiences on our existing knowledge, building new neural networks to access even more knowledge from our past experience. However, we can be even more effective learners when we are more deliberate – reflecting on our experience, generalizing, and then applying what we have learned to our next experience. And this is how we approach learning throughout our employee and leadership development services.
According to David Kolb, “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” and this is done through a four stage cycle of learning: Experience, Reflection, Generalizing and Applying.
Effective learning is seen when a person progresses through the four stages of 1) having a concrete experience followed by 2) observation of and reflection on that experience which leads to 3) analysis and generalizations or conclusions which are then 4) applied in future situations, resulting in new experiences.
So what’s the significance and importance of experiential learning both at work and during team building events? Activities and learning materials should be developed in ways that draw on abilities from each stage of the experiential learning cycle and take the participants through the whole process in sequence. This is what creates new experiences and new learning for adults.
Companies often ask us for “team building” events or training. Many of them just want to have fun. A few think about the importance of training and team building activities. Very, very few think about the value of processing team building activities at work or during training events. The value of the experiential learning process is that it can be an effective method for helping participants integrate activities and lessons learned into their day-to-day lives, thereby increasing the value and retention of the workshop content and intended learning outcomes.
Our team strives to practice what we preach. I think this is just another example of our success in doing so. We had a great day of team building, to include sharing a meal and conversation and escaping the looming doom of Captain Silver. However, we didn’t stop there. At the end of the day, we went around the room and reflected on the “take a ways” for the day. Each person had a different experience that day, they were given the opportunity to reflect on what they learned about each other, and drew a few conclusions on how they might apply what they learned and modify their approach to future tasks in the workplace. That defines success as a team – deep experience, reflection, generalizations and the ability to apply it back to the workplace.
I’m proud of my team for setting the example and look forward to helping other organizations grow their teams and new learning experiences.
To learn how we can design and develop teambuilding activities for your company, call us at 321-576-1314 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you just want to learn more about HRSS Consulting Group, scroll through our website at: www.hrssconsultinggroup.com or get social with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Stuart Smith & Karen Gregory