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Teambuilding, Nonprofit, Three Locations, Staff

I designed and facilitated a customized teambuilding program for approximately 20 staff from the Grace Smith House, Inc. in March 2011. The nonprofit organization operates out of three locations or offices in Dutchess County, New York State.

I facilitated the teambuilding program during the morning portion of a staff development day. Through games, icebreakers and experiential activities that required teamwork, communication and problem solving, the staff members got to know each other better, laugh and play together, and recognize their differences. They now understand the diversity within the group is a strength, not a weakness.

Most importantly, the individuals began to see themselves as a team of people supporting one common mission, not three. The client contact person was extremely satisfied, upon conclusion of the program she said the program was “exactly what she wanted and needed”. Many participants reported that they met people the previously did not know and that they would now be more likely to contact another staff member in the event an issue arose at work and they required support or help to problem solve.

In short, this program helped folks from three office to have some fun and to see the importance of collaborating (and not competing); essentially the business as well as the women and children served by this organization all stand to positively gain as a result of a half-day long teambuilding program.

Teambuilding, For Profit, Large Supermarket Company, Department Managers

I was hired by a Springfield College in Massachusetts to be a teambuilding facilitator for a group of supermarket managers. I was one of several facilitators working the program. For two full days (sixteen hours) I was in charge of facilitating my own group of twelve employees from the company. The twelve employees were all managers from the same department, different store locations. For two days I led a sequence of activities that would facilitate teambuilding - name games, icebreaking activities to get folks feeling comfortable, initiatives that required the group to problem solve together and a series of low challenge course elements and trust-building exercises.

On day two of the program I partnered up with another facilitator and we co-led a teambuilding exercise for our two groups combined; together we briefed the activity using a real-life metaphor so the activity would have direct applicability to the workplace. Discussion was also seeded throughout both days so participants could reflect on the adventure activities done and make their own connections to the workplace.

The goal of the program was to get managers from the same store chain, who essentially have the same job, to meet and gain confidence and trust with one another so that in the future they would be more likely to rely on each other for support (e.g., by phone or in person) when encountering difficult personnel issues. The company understood that people who know each other are more likely to speak to one another and that when trust is present they are even more likely to reach out.

The program experience was powerful as noted by the comments made by program participants to one another and the program facilitators. Program participants reported they would be more likely to reach out and ask another manager for help in the future. It is reasonable to think that with support, issues might be problem solved faster and thereby save the company money as less time is spent deliberating on or working to solve one particular issue.


Teambuilding, Nonprofit, Leadership Program for High School Girls

A week-long leadership program is run for 30 teenage girls during the summer. Two program sessions are held each summer.

In July 2010 on the first day of the Girls’ Leadership Program I worked with the 30 participants and staff for two and a half hours immediately following the welcome and family luncheon. We started and ended our time together as a full group but worked during the middle portion in two smaller groups (half, 15 participants).

Goals of the program were to learn each other's names, deinhibitize or break the ice so the girls felt comfortable, build a feeling of community, and to begin to exploring leadership experientially. Participants were high school girls from international locations who did not know each other prior to arrival. The group was diverse.

After a quick overview of what was to come, welcome and reading of some inspirational words that were pertinent to the program, I facilitated a few activities immediately to get the women to meet others in the group and start talking and laughing. Within minutes everyone, participants and staff alike, had met at least five people and knew their names and a little about them.

One activity asked partners to share and discuss what social justice issues they are each most passionate about. Those causes shared in pairs were later shared allowed to the entire group; issues included hunger, human trafficking, sexism, global warming among others. The sharing was extremely moving as noted by facial expressions and my own body sensation (chills) experienced.

After getting folks to socialize as a full group, we divided into two. I later worked with each smaller subgroup and led an experiential activity that required teamwork, problem solving, and asked the girls to work to continually improve upon their plan.

The discussion I led afterwards was focused on leadership – we talked about who in the group demonstrated leadership qualities, why was having leadership important/useful, and what happens if leadership is or is not present in our real lives. The girls were engaged throughout the activity and discussion that followed. The program was concluded as a full large group with an activity to demonstrate and inspire continuation for growth in the feeling of community that had just been developed among the girls and women staff members.

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