I am often asked by clients for ideas on what they can run internally to liven up team off-sites.
The exercise below is easy to facilitate and makes a nice ice breaker before a strategy session or team offsite. As with any exercise, it has to have a purpose and link to the session you are running. Do ensure that you highlight this in your debrief.
The purpose of this exercise is to, in a fun way, uncover characteristics, traits and themes of individuals, the team, and the organisation and to find areas of alignment between all three. It also uncovers where there is a lack of alignment and where the three are disconnected, which opens up the opportunity for a conversation around this.
Twenty minutes to an hour depending on how deep you want to take this and how many team members you are working with.
Ask participants to answer the following questions: give them five minutes to do this individually. Tell them that the first song that pops into their head is the one to use.
- As a team member what is your theme song?
- If your team had a theme song, what would it be?
- If you asked your stakeholders/clients what your team’s theme song is what would they say?
- If your organisation had a theme song, what would it be?
If working with a team larger than seven, split the team into groups to share the answers to the questions above and ask team members to dive a little deeper into what themes emerge.
I have provided some questions below to use as a guide for the discussion:
- Are there common themes in the songs shared? If yes, what are they?
- What opportunity exists for conversation around how individuals are perceived and how they really are?
- What opportunity exists for conversations around how the team is perceived and how the team really is/operates?
- Where is there alignment in themes from the different team songs shared? Where is there disagreement? How can this be useful for the team’s growth/performance?
- How do you bring richness from your individual songs, to the team songs and the organisation’s song?
- How do you bring richness from the team songs to the organisational song?
From here the team can grow a broader story and as a team come up with a team song that represents the team, this can also be an aspirational theme song to represent where the team aspires to be.
This broader story shifts the team from an individual story to a team story with shared goals, vision and values. It can also become a structure to remind the team of this, played prior to other off-sites, etc.
Have fun with this.
Pollyanna Lenkic is the founder of Perspectives Coaching, an Australian-based coaching and training company.