Team building with a difference

Posted: 20 May, 2016

By: Annemarie Lombard

Section: Corporate, Relationships

Team building with a difference

Does your team tick or get ticked off?

Being part of a group is an inherent need of humans. People need people to feel safe, validated, needed, useful and important. A cohesive group should meet the needs of each group member, and should have similar goals and strategies to meet these needs. But what of being different to the group? What of standing apart because of inherent personal differences in the way one thinks, conducts ones business, raises ones children? Research has shown that being left out or marginalised leaves people feeling emotionally hurt akin to physiological pain.

There is safety in numbers – it is easier to be the same, do the same, and say the same things, than standalone upholding personal values or belief systems. Understanding fundamental differences in one another is key to overcoming the group –individual disconnect. These differences are more often than not at a more basic level that what is obvious, and originate in our individual sensory substructure. Our behaviours in response to environmental factors, people and how they react to us take root in response to our sensory interpretation of the world and govern how we interact with people around us.

This is true of any group – never more so than in a camping- holiday- with- friends context. The need to be included on the holiday is the overarching need for all members of the group. This done, the group contrives to make rules about who shops; the menu; who camps where and what is scheduled for each day. Thus the ground work is laid either for a happy or frustrating 10 days depending on which side of the sensory fence one sits…. The intrinsic nature of the members is extremely diverse, from the pedantically organised to the laid back and carefree! This does not bode well for a happy holiday, unless people understand what their fundamental differences are, what makes people tick and what ticks them off.

So whilst some couples are highly organised and do what they can to, organise everyone to fit into their regimen of exercise, meal times and bed times, others are spontaneous, flexible, take the day as it comes, change plans to suit the situation. A ticking time bomb, a powder keg waiting for a spark! Instead of these factors becoming larger than the holiday itself, the individuals should be able to stand back and recognise that their needs for organisation and relaxation can be accomplished together. This would require some honest discussion on the matter, but in real relationships, this is difficult to address without becoming critical and personal of individuals. Enter the role of sensory assessment to better understand and communicate sensory needs: by understanding that the boot campers are in fact struggling with the naturally disorganised context of a camping holiday, the more relaxed parties could be less irritated by their inflexibility. Similarly, the inflexible members could understand that being carefree does not mean careless and could be encouraged to trust that things can be done differently to their preferred methods. Understanding how better to regulate oneself sensory thresholds by implementing simple change and strategy would go a long way to ease the tension.

And so it is in teams of all descriptions: individuals bring to the table different skill sets, different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses. The strength of the team lies in its diversity, not its sameness. By learning to recognise our differences and embrace these as unique qualities to build the experience of the team, the team dynamics become more energised and synergistic leading to greater more fulfilling outcomes than would be achieved pulling in different directions. Consider then, the possibilities for your teams, working with refined, exciting sensory knowledge of what makes them tick rather than what ticks them off!

If you want to know how your teams are wired, do they tick or tick off, contact us for mind-blowing, powerful, yet practical team building with a difference!