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Team Dynamics Exercise needed


I am due to run a strategy workshop for the senior team of a pharma company.  I have heard that they do not work well together.  Can you please suggest an exercise which will help them to explore and understand the issues they have as a team?  I want something with real learning outcomes rather than a gimmick or an icebreaker.

Thanks in advance

9 Responses

  1. Team coaching rather than a single exercise

    There are lots of exercise you could use, but I suspect that a single exercise within a strategy workshop would not make all that much difference.  It sounds as though your team needs some team coaching – over a period of time – to surface the issues and get them to change their behaviour.

    If you just want an exercise, get them to all think of the best team they have ever been on and ask them what it was like and flipchart their replies – this will get them to identify the qualities of a high performing team. Then get them to identify the areas that they are currently good at and the areas that they are not good at. This will surface the areas of growth.  Then you could get them to imagine how their team would be different if they had those missing qualities – this will give them a goal to go towards. Then take them to action – what are the first steps you could take towards that goal.

    How the team does the exercise will also give you information about the team. For instance, if it is a low-trust team that they may not be honest about the issues. If you notice that happening, that is a great opportunity to reflect to them the reality of what it is like in their team. Ask them what it is like to be in a team where people are not able to be honest. You are revealing the team itself so that it can then do something about it.

    If they do come up with a number of areas this is then an opportunity for you to sell on some team coaching as you will have got them to articulate the need for this. If you go on to do some team coaching, I strongly recommend you get a qualified/experienced team coach to co-lead this with you as team coaching has a different set of competencies from facilitation, training or individual coaching.

    If that is an area you are interested in developing I can recommend an assessment – the team Diagnostic – and the Orsc (organisation relationship systems coaching) training from

    I'd be happy to talk this through in more detail with you offline.

    Good luck




  2. High performing team?


    Overall, I agree with Catherine.  If there are real issues within the team then a one-off exercise as part of something else won't resolve the problem, but as she outlined it might give you the opportunity to begin some focused team development work with them.

    I have an exercise which may be of use.  It's a questionnaire designed to identify whether  a team is high performing.  Team members complete it individually, then the results are considered by everyone.  It's pretty straight forward to run and helps identify the areas that teams need to work on. 

    It might fit in nicely as it asks the team to think about whether they have vales, a clear shared vision, hold each other accountable etc, so the development areas are quite tangible. 

    I've used the tool with a wide variety of teams  at different levels and it has always been well received.

    If its of interest, PM me.




  3. Could you do some diagnosis beforehand?

    Hi Paul

    If I were you, I would be worried about going into the unknown with this group. You said you have "heard" they don't get on well together. Is it true? You don't say if you know why or how badly? What are issues? Are they willing to tackle them? They may be in conflict but also be in conflict about whether to face this!

    I would urge you to do some diagnosis before you settle on a design. At minimum, you could phone the group members and have a brief chat about what each person wants from the event, what are the internal and external issues the group is facing, what, if anything is each person concerned about that might happen at the event? (This could range from "It will be boring" to "We'll open up and then won't be able to deal with it")

    You can answer their questions and deal with their concerns too.

    When you have this information, you will be in a much better position to help them. It also will help you build a relationship and a bit of trust with each person. You will be able to create a tailored design, which will be more fun and more effective for you and for them.

    I always do this now.

    Best wishes,


  4. Diagnosis is essential

    I agree with Paul on diagnosis – I would always do that for any workshop like this.  Fiona's sounds interesting and I would like to know more. I use the team diagnostic, which is probably a bit too heavyweight for your workshop, but really great for getting the team issues out on the table.

  5. Here is a design for a strategy session

    This Strategy Development workshop, (link below) based on Appreciative Inquiry, worked very well. The link goes to a detailed trainers plan.

    It did not have the complication of the group not getting on. None the less, their might be some ideas you or other readers could use. Appreciative Inquiry is a very positive approach, so interpersonal conflicts are less likely to intrude than more conventional work, which is often about fixing what is wrong.


  6. Workshop ideas


    Great input.  I like your suggestions and your agenda.



  7. Team Assessments

    Hi Paul

    All great suggestions already. If you're looking to do some preparatory work there's nothing better than an individual interview with each member about their challenges, strengths and how things might work better.  

    If you're looking for some hard data to back this up then there's a number of tools out there, but as ever the power is in the administration, report compilation and quality of the facilitation following on.  You might like to look into MBTI (focus on leadership styles and impact in a team setting rather than individual styles), TKI (Thomas Kilmann Conflict model) and Patrick Lencioni's 5 Dysfunctions of a team. 

    Good luck – Jayne Harrison

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