Away Day Case Study: Energising and Developing a New Team
Team: UX Team, Conde Nast International Digital (CNID)
Location: Kew Gardens
A moment from the day: We are gathered around a tall, colourful tree with pineapple style blooms while exploring the characteristics and ambitions of this new team. We have travelled through many climates and seen many wonders in the Princess of Wales Conservatory – rain forest, cacti, ferns, carnivorous plants, orchids, mangroves. This short walking adventure is a journey discovering how the team sees itself now, what it aspires to become and how it wishes to impact on and interact with their wider company and beyond. It is a creative and active way of holding a conversation that draws on a morning of reflection and activity and is turned into a set of actions in the afternoon.
Before the day: The CNID UX team are a relatively new team who wanted a day away from the office to understand what their current strengths and challenges are. The aim was to ensure the team develops in a productive way with a unified vision of who they are and what they want to be.
In-depth coaching style conversations designed to clarify and focus the aims and outcomes for the day were carried out with the team leader. Each member of the team also participated in a twenty minute walking coaching session prior to the day. These sessions were confidential and gave each individual a follow up action. However, team wide themes were captured from the walking coaching and used to plan the day.
On the day:
Walking: Throughout the day, the team walked between locations in alternating pairs. This activity enabled the team to reflect on the day, explore particular topics and have more in-depth discussions. Walking and being in nature has been proven to impact positively on creativity, thinking skills, wellbeing and openness. Walking also allowed the team to explore Kew further and generated endorphins giving a natural high.
Storytelling: Stories are powerful tools that offer emotionally charged and memorable ways to raise understanding, enthuse others and bring about change. The team shared stories and used these to generate and discuss team strengths and values. Communication, expressed in a variety of ways, emerged as the key theme of focus for the team.
Artefacts and Vision: Using the cornucopia of plants in the Princess of Wales Conservatory the team went on a journey exploring the team they are now and the team they aspire to be. This discovery was used to collaboratively create and visually represent a team vision.
Planning: Drawing on the reflections and findings of the day, the team held an inclusive conversation identifying key issues and determining actions designed to achieve the team vision. Manageable, useful actions distributed across each member the team were recorded.
After the day: The team felt positive and motivated. They gained greater understanding of each other and themselves as a team. The team received a report summarising and capturing the day. This included recording a clear plan of action addressing better communication within the team and across the department as well as activity focused on raising awareness of the team’s achievements across the organisation.
What the client said: “I can’t thank Anise enough for her time with our team. From planning to execution she was always professional, accommodating and reassuring. She worked closely with me to plan our day to ensure activities were truly tailored to the needs of my team and the challenges we’re currently facing. Between this and her impressive ability to moderate in a way that is inclusive and analytical lead to both an enjoyable and practical experience. A rare achievement! We not only bonded as a team, but we also left the day with an actionable list of things to do as a team to improve the way we work together and with others in our organisation. We were all so inspired by the day that we hope to repeat the experience at least annually.”
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