Finding the key to a good team culture

As the end of year draws near, the Events team decided to take some time to do some thinking, discussing and culture-building. So we had a team day today!

We started with a workshop-style session. We had done some work earlier in the year on our KPIs to feed into the global annual programme and at that point I had promised them that we would do something on our mission/purpose. I had something all lined up and then I happened to stumble on the Team Canvas via Miro and I thought that would make a great starting point.

After a bit of a warm-up, we took some time to think about our purpose. First we wrote down individually what we do – not in terms of tasks, but at a team level. Then who we do it for, followed by what impact. With each of these, we examined the various contributions and drew out the threads to develop a purpose statement along the lines of “We [what we do] for [who we do it for] so that [impact]”. We ended up with a somewhat lengthy statement, but one that everyone felt they could connect with.

Then we looked at people and roles. In a team with different technical skills, this bit would have looked different, but as we all do versions of the same things, we took the time to examine what each member brings to the team, what we value in their contribution. One of our team left recently and we also talked about what she brought to the team, so that we can try to find someone that plugs that gap. We had also all done the Color Code personality test. While these tests should always be taken with a pinch of salt, they’re a starting point to think about how we work together, what strengths we each bring and how to get the best out of each other. Of the three of us that work most closely together, we had 3 different colours.

Finally we talked about values. If you are in the events team, what are the basics that you sign up to? I ran this exercise like a game of scattergories – if this team were a dish, what dish would it be? We did about 10 different categories and then went through them to find out what people said and why. A fun way to uncover some deeper truths about what is important to us. We then had a list of 10 or so values, and we did a dot voting exercise to prioritise them. The leading values were written up into value statements, that we will have up on our office wall, alongside our purpose, to remind us why we’re here and what’s important to us.

It was particularly useful doing this exercise as we go into a recruitment, so there is a strong sense of who we are looking for to complement us. And an important reminder of the dangers of homophily and the power and importance of diverse personalities, styles and approaches.

After the workshop, and a team lunch, we went to an escape room (hence the title!). The others had all done this type of thing before, but it was my first time. And I LOVED it! I play a lot of computer games, like the Room series, that are about solving puzzles etc and I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to those. But it didn’t disappoint at all. And it was a genuinely good team experience, showing how we can reach our goal more effectively if we work together, listen to each other, back each other up etc. Definitely a worthwhile hour of the team’s time.

So all in all a very fun, and useful, day. Most of all, thanks to the team for committing so whole-heartedly to something that undoubtedly moved them a little out of their comfort zone!

Photo by Jason D on Unsplash

Published by Antonia

I'm a British citizen and European Union official, who lives in Brussels again after 6 years in London and 8 in Melbourne. My blog(s) reflect my interests in the EU, yarncrafts, organisations and dog ownership.

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