Getting people to work together is important ……….
So many organizations embark on team building programmes, to try and foster a sense of co-operation. I’ve endured a few of these.
Endured is the word.
For some reason, team building programmes often involve extreme “wilderness” experiences, at least in South Africa they do.
In the “wild”
A group of city slickers, with little sense of connectedness are dropped off at point A. They are expected to get to point B, together…….. some time later.
Between point A and B, a “fun” adventure awaits.
The “fun” part – is it’s outdoors, it’s exercise, it’s facing your fears and WINNING. Hopefully !
Do they work ?
Getting to point B, does depend on team work. But, what arrives at point B, is not always a team. The experience sifts people into, “leaders”, wimps and the whiners.
Knowing that Jimmy from accounting is not the person you want to be stuck with in the apocalypse, is helpful if you should find yourself living through a REAL apocalypse. But, Jimmy is probably still your go to man, when living through the apocalypse of tax season.
If only there was an easier way…………..
A civilized way
Actually, there is.
This is what a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The secret to team building, is to do something TOGETHER.
Really TO-GET-HER. Synchronously.
Being in synch
The team gathered a gaggle of 8 year olds together. The children were paired up, with another child, of the same sex and asked to tap.
- In synch, with each other or
- Out of synch i.e. asynchronously
To co-ordinate the tapping, the researchers made use of a computer programme – which rhythmically bounced a ball. The system was set up, so that each child, sat in front of a screen and tapped, each time, the ball hit the floor. The computer could mix and match the rhythm, so, some kids tapped, in synch, some didn’t.
They started as strangers
At the start of the study, the kids were strangers…………..
Quick introductions were made, before they were tapping away.
Each pair, tapped on two occasions, each session lasted 90 seconds, with a brief rest between sessions. Once the kids were done tapping, they parted ways. The parting of ways, was followed by a brief questionnaire. The researchers wanted to know, what they thought of their partner.
When the kids tapped in synch, they bonded.
They perceived the other child to be, like themselves – PART OF THE TEAM !
The activity, also sparked a feeling of increased closeness, based on the shared experience.
So if you want to make “friends” FAST, whether it be in a classroom setting or a board room setting – use a little neurotechnology, do something in synch. Walk, sing, eat………doing it TOGETHER, will garner up some TEAM SPIRIT.
If you want to close a deal quickly, you can supercharge the negotiation process, by feeding your prospect a meal, laced with trust serum.
So what should a leader look like ? Being tall dark and handsome – will help. But, actually one of the biggest things people look for – is how healthy you look.
As “information overload” increasingly overwhelms the modern human, maybe it’s time to revisit the ancient advice from Proverbs and “Go to the ant…”
To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..