In the beginning of November I was asked to run a teambuilding for the German Medical Student Association (bvmd). Whilst a transition period of both their executive and extended boards, they had a general meeting and invited me to help them with their getting to know.
Through contacts of another training I attended, I got in contact with their board member responsible for trainings and she made me realise that an extended board with 20 members and an executive one with 8 indeed needs a lot of work and effort to make communication and working run smoothly.
Although most of the participants would know each other beforehand, the setting was new, as the executive board was going to change soon (both the old and the new board were present) and the extended board was in office only since a couple of months. Therefore they wanted to have a teambuilding that would enable most of the participants to get to know each other better and discuss their individual motivation behind their work to increase mutual understanding.
I quickly encountered that, contrary to my usual audience, most of the participants had attended several trainings already, some even trainings for trainers. This challenged me as I didn’t want to use “usual” exercises and at the same time still understand their deeper needs and fulfill them. As time was limited (only 4 hours in total) and they would only start working together from now on, I decided that I would be able to go through a complete group development circle, but rather raise some topics, making them aware of ongoing processes and future challenges, hoping that they would be capable of addressing these issues afterwards.
We started of with relaxed getting to know, bribing them with sweets. Afterwards we mainly focused on their individual communication behaviour, using several group exercises and bridging back to future scenarios during reflection. From there I asked them to reflect on their perception of the organisation, how communication works, etc. as I believe that mutual understanding of their action frame is essential for their future collaboration, especially as their work is mainly done on distance and digitally. Constantly mixing the different groups was essential for me to make them share their different perspectives.
The feedback I got on the spot and afterwards was generally positive. In particular they were happy to have a trainer from outside who would bring some new impulses whilst still being capable to understand their organisational struggle. Also, those experienced in training, shared their appreciation for the solid and fitting agenda.
“Good run through many aspects of teambuilding.” (Fabian)
“The training was well tailored to our needs and will surely influence the work of the board. Though I have training experience already, I picked up some things for reflection and new methods.” (Pascal)
There is a little article on the homepage of the bvmd as well (in German).