As I looked around the room I was astonished at the aghast faces and wry smiles.
You could actually feel the energy in the room shifting.
If there was some technology that could measure the amount of “aha moments” or “lightbulb moments” then its meter may have just exploded. This was a group of people that had worked together for 20 years. We had just completed a really quick exercise re trust and teamwork- based on Patrick Lencionis work – and we had all had a conversation about our childhood.
Really simple questions about where we grew up and the challenges we had and it completely shifted the dynamic.
I remember working with one group and doing a similar exercise and one lady turn to a colleague and say “I have sat across from you for 18 years now and I never knew that about you. Never”.
It never ceases to amaze me the lack of real quality dialogue that people have with their colleagues. Now, I realise, by the very nature of my role in business I do have an opportunity to garner more information, and people will have a tendency to disclose more about themselves.
I do still feel that there could be conversations that really matter in business – the human factor seems to be missing.
A lot of the people we work with ask about – how to get the best from my team, what will enable my team, what are the attributes of a high performing team.
And, there are many answers – most of them start with having great conversations.
- or, at the very least find a consistent opportunity to ask questions
- whether this be in team meetings or otherwise.
Here are some questions to play around with.
If you were to describe yourself as a book – which book would it be?
If you were to say thankyou to one person who made you what you are today, who would that be?
When are you the happiest?
How do you recharge?
What superpower would you like to have?
If you could choose an age to be forever, what age would you choose and why?
Choose one word to describe yourself as a child and say why.
I really love what Marie Forleo does with her team – she gets them to take the
Love Languages test. Gary Chapman’s work on relationships is prolific and gives us 5 love languages – physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service and quality time.
These aren’t purely limited to our intimate relationships and can be translated into 5 appreciation languages for the workplace. These take into account the different social boundaries and contexts in relationships. Peoples’ primary language in one relational context is often one of their top 2 languages in the other relational setting.
But of course.
Jack Hubbard, from Propellernet cites his primary concern is to look after the talent in his company. What better way for him to know his team than in the conversation about their dreams?
When we interviewed Jack back in our first issue he told us that all of his teams dreams are in a dream machine in his office which, when hitting target, a teammates dream is “popped”.
This is a great example of engagement within a wider team. Zappos deploy a scavenger hunt for their new hires. One month into their new hire training they are all assigned challenges to locate employees around the company. They then meet with them, have a coffee and then – talk!
Being a junkie for finding out more about others and different psychometrics, I think delving into different profiling tools give agreat conversation. Many of the profiling tools you can use can certainly harbor further engagement – as long as positioned correctly and not labeled as an excuse for bad behaviour.
We are huge fans of the Desire Map and so I would encourage using the exercises from the book and courses to start a dialogue with each other.
Effectively, I see these as Trojan horses for ... a great conversation.
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* We promise not to virtually stalk you, it will be (at max) weekly round ups and elements that it would be rude not to tell you about...