Yesterday I started a Think Tank in my agency. We are reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni for our first book together. Anytime a new team comes together it’s important to build a foundation of trust. I wanted to share a simple and fun exercise we did that you can do with your teams at your next staff meeting.
Personal Histories Exercise:
Answer the following three questions about yourself:
1. Where did you grow up?
2. How many siblings do you have and where do you fall in the sibling order (oldest, youngest, etc.)?
3. What was the most difficult, important, or unique challenge of your childhood—of being a kid?
What did you learn about your colleagues that you did not know?
When team members reveal aspects of their personal lives to their peers, they learn to get comfortable being open with them about other things. They begin to let down their guard about their strengths, weaknesses, opinions and ideas. Some may say this is being manipulative. It is and in a good way!
This exercise allows co-workers to have the opportunity to gradually make progress toward cohesiveness and collaboration by sharing, connecting and opening up without having to dive too personal too fast.
I hope you will try this with your teams. If you’d like to know more about how you can participate in the Think Tank or how you can begin on in your agency let me know. Furthermore, if you’d like a facilitator to come to a staff meeting and conduct this exercise with your team, please feel welcome to call on me! I’m happy to assist.