Away day case study: Engaging a team around a new vision
Team: User Research and Design Team, Kainos Software
Location: Nottingham Contemporary Gallery
A moment from the day: 8am on a frosty winter morning. The team is gathering after having travelled in from their sites in multiple cities and countries. It is early and as is often the case at the start of an away day, there is a sense of apprehension about the event. Wrapped up in scarves and armed with coffee, the day starts with a walking conversation with different partners through the city and a local park. There is a buzz as the team walks and talks. This is a chance to connect with each other and the city we are meeting in. Walking, particularly in green spaces, has been proven to improve creative thinking and reduce stress. Walking side by side breaks down hierarchies and generates rapport and trust producing a different quality of conversation and reflection. Walking also releases endorphins causing the team to begin the day on a natural high feeling positive, open and ready to work.
Before the day: Walking coaching conversations enabled the team leader to clarify and focus the aims and outcomes for the day. The event was then planned in conjunction with senior members of the team.
On the day:
Walking: The day started with walking conversations enabling the team to feel positive, connected and ready to work.
Strengths and line-ups: The walking activity was used to capture and explore team strengths. This gave insight into the team’s characteristics. The team then lined up according to a number of different categories such as length of service and geographical location. This provided an active and visual way of telling the team’s story and further discovering who the team is, how they interact, how they fit into the wider company and how they can develop.
Engagement with the vision: The team leader presented the vision for development of the team over the next couple of years. The team then engaged with and reflected on the vision in topic based moving groups. The groups investigated the challenges and opportunities posed by the vision alongside exploring steps for implementing it.
Planning: The activities, conversations and findings of the day were summarised and a number of short-term and long-term actions emerged for the team.
After the day: The team felt positive and motivated about the future. They gained deeper connections and understanding of themselves as a team and left with a clear plan of action.
What the client said: “Over the last 2 years the team had experienced significant growth having doubled in size. With plans to double again in the near future we needed to pause and take stock. Anise was pivotal in planning and facilitating a successful away day. From helping define the aims and running the day, to contributing to next steps and debriefing, Anise ensured this was a highly productive, successful, and fun day. I am now engaging Anise in planning our next away day.”
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