Creating Breakthroughs for Collaboration

John and I recently facilitated a staff retreat for the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) team. While the relationship between Floricane and VPLC has been on-going for several years, it was my first opportunity to interact with the whole team. I had met everyone in smaller groups as participants in our Insights Discovery public workshops – so the next logical step was to take them through Insights for Team Effectiveness.

As w e arrived at the Roslyn Conference Center, a light mist fell outside. We started the morning, a bit in the space of, “Well, we don’t really work as a team…..our roles and specialty areas don’t really cross over…..we are a highly, self-reliant group of folks….that’s what makes it work so well…..I like the people I work with, but I don’t really need them to do good work.” I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go from there, but as the day went on, the mist gave way to sunshine. Clarity about how team members could better connect and collaborate with each other broke through, too.

There were many breakthrough moments that happened during the day. I think the first breakthrough came during the Colorful Queues activity. In the coaching world, we often use the mind, body and spirit model to fully engage clients’ gifts to reach their goals. During Colorful Queues, the body is engaged by having participants organize themselves in their perceived order of intensity of each of the Insights Discovery color energies, one at a time. The reaction of the team as they observed themselves both during the activity and at the end was pretty cool to watch. For a team that thought they knew each other pretty well, their take-aways were all about seeing each other in new ways through the lens of each of the color energies.

Later in the day, another key moment happened during the goal setting segment. There is a fact we like to repeat that the chance for success of accomplishing a goal goes from 13% to something like 77% when you think of a goal, write it down AND share it with those who can support your achieving it.

Most of us, at one time or another have been in a workshop or a training session that, at the time, seemed life changing. Then, we leave and go back to our worlds only to find the momentum gets lost. By having a goal that is shared with others, we now have a more powerful form of accountability to use toward accomplishing that goal.

What I saw over the course of the day was a team that started the day thinking they didn’t have many ways to really engage and support each other. They ended the day by created goals that engaged and supported each other. Some examples included: using each other as resources on projects or setting goals that meant spending time and learning about each other’s worlds or considering new ways to engage with each other. The transformation of how they see themselves as a team was pretty inspiring.

As Floricane continues to grow and mature as a business, with newish team members, new roles, and new challenges before us, I can’t help but wonder what we can apply from the learning that took place with the VPLC team that day. What can we apply to ourselves as a team of people who may describe our team in a similar way? I don’t have the answer(s) yet, but I bet my teammates could help me figure it out.