Casestudy of a team day worth time and money spent
Catherine Strawbridge is manager/team leader of a fundraising team at Willow Foundation. Willow Foundation is a national charity in UK offering “Special Days” to seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds. Catherine participated in a bro bono mentoring program of The Aspire Foundation, of which I am a mentor, and therefore became my mentee for 6 months. During this time, she had to organize a team building day for two quite new fundraising teams (11 team members and 2 team leaders, including herself), which she had never done before.
Her aim for the team event was to develop worthwhile exercises and activities to reach the given targets, make it fun for everybody, an opportunity to get to know each other better, and above all, worth the investment of time and money.
Catherine is so kind to share her experience and learnings:
“We wanted to get them working together well even though they all specialise in their own areas. We want them to be motivated to achieve their goals and support each other – and to be creative and excited about their work, to reconnect to the cause. – Not much to ask! (LOL)
What we did / preparation for the team day
Firstly we discussed several activities which would help the team answer short, precise questions e.g. ‘What can I support you with, how could you support me?’. Once I had a list of varied activities, I set them out in a timetable allocating timings and also listing the activity, instruction and objective.
Giving each activity an objective and scripting the day to ensure it ran smoothly, was not something I had realised the importance of before working with Jutta. Having this prepared reminded me why I had included each task and made me feel confident about each section of the day and therefore the day as a whole.
Another suggestion Jutta made to help me relieve the pressure of the day was to include the team in its preparation. I encouraged them to scout venues for one of the outdoor activities and to find an external speaker for part of the day. This provided an added benefit as then I was not the only person leading.
I was concerned that peoples’ preconceptions of a team day was that it should be lots of “fun” but Jutta reassured me that as long as the team felt that they learned from the day that was the most important thing. Although there was no need for gimmicky games, achieving the objectives in a fun way was beneficial. I believe making the day interesting by mixing up the tasks helped; some were completed in groups, some in pairs, some indoors and some outside. We changed venues during the day and even made the journey part of a task.
It was also important to manage the teams’ expectations to which end I shared the timetable prior to the day. It gave them enough information to have an idea of the day without including too much detail about the tasks. I was surprised at how much pressure this took from me before the day and is something I would certainly do again. It took the pressure off everyone because the teams felt more relaxed, knowing what would be expected of them and what was going on.
Just before the end of the day I shared a feedback form with everyone which really helped me to learn from the experience. It was beneficial that they had enough time to complete the form with enough time before the end of the day. It was great for me to hear what their favourite activity had been and why as well as hear what they had learned least from. It was also positive confirmation that they felt it was a worthwhile day and that they had learnt a lot.
Having discussed and planned each activity carefully and prepared thoroughly, I felt confident going into it. It was professionally organised, and because I had planned the timings, too it allowed us to go off plan on one occasion to address an issue that arose spontaneously, but then get back to the programme easily.
I felt very proud of the day I planned and was delighted that the team felt they had learnt lots about themselves and each other through the activities. As a team we connected with each other more and also helped each other reconnect with the cause we all work together to support.
Jutta helped me develop a team day which not only achieved my overall objective but was also enjoyable for everyone. I feel that my confidence in this area has improved significantly and I’m looking forward to the challenge of finding new ideas for the next one!”
Catherine Strawbridge, www.willowfoundation.org.uk
Questions / How about you?
- Are you considering or already planning a team day or shorter event?
- Are you asking yourself if this is really worth the effort?
- What do you need to do in order to make it worth the time and money spent?
- Have you ever run a team day or similar event as a small business owner and team leader?
- What /who helped you with the preparation?
- How did you involve your team?
- What did you do to ensure that it was worth the time and money spent?
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Image: Pinterest / teambuildingactivitiesforadults.net
© Lead & Connect, Jutta Nedden 04/2016