I came across this wonderful case of dissolving silos written by Hanna Hall of The Sunflower Corporation Hanna kindly gave permission for me to reblog this version which was originally posted as a guest blog post on the Merrill Consultants Site HERE http://www.merrillconsultants.com/valeries-blog/guest-articles/tackling-disruptive-cliques-in-the-workplace/
” Tackling disruptive cliques in the workplace
Clique: A small close-knit group of people who do not readily allow others to join them.
A clique may seem harmless, it can form naturally, whether it’s a few people bonding whilst working on a project or the crowd who sit on the left of the office. As creatures of habit, it’s natural for us to group with others who are like-minded or share common interests.
Cliques can however foster a culture of exclusivity, leaving others feeling isolated which can in turn effect morale and productivity. After all, no one wants to feel like an outsider, do they?
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 43% of workers say their office is populated by cliques. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, these groups create tension, pollute the work environment, destroy trust, and sometimes even drive good workers out of the job.So, how can we tackle this issue?
Client Case Study:
One client’s team were physically split across a number of locations so they naturally formed cliques. The team leader recognised that the efficiency of the team as a whole was being affected as each clique was working in isolation.
A team building day was scheduled and we ran a Team Challenge Toolkit session using a series of short, sharp, interactive exercises that are designed to explore various aspects of effective team behaviour.
We started the day with some ice breakers with everyone acting independently to break down the natural silos. We then split the group into pairs, then small teams, increasing the team size on each exercise until they were ready to tackle a task as one overall team.Tasks included:
Tower of Eggcellence – a table top construction task undertaken in teams of 4. It created a natural competition between teams, required them to make decisions, work under time pressure and to strict specification.
Giant Marble Run – a physical time based task undertaken in teams of 8. This required planning, decision-making, agreement on a plan of action before carrying out the task.
Number Cruncher – a memory based task undertaken in 2 teams of 15. This required planning, negotiation and agreement on how to reach the common goal. This task often exposes blame culture which is then addressed in debrief. The task was then repeated later in the day with everyone working together as one team to show how they had bonded throughout the day.The end result was one unified team ready to take on their next challenge!
“The team building tasks really helped us bond and it’s amazing what we can actually do when we all work together!” NHS Client
Call Hannah if you want to chat through your team challenges on 020 8798 3218″
Visit Hanna’s site for more of her case studies here: http://www.sunflowercorporation.com/blog/
After reading about how Hannah’s event went, I can see why it was so effective. I notice that the exercises were planned for getting to the unconscious processes of organisation life. They seem to get to grips with issues on the surface such as the blame culture while providing interesting practical tasks for helping individuals in groups to try out new behaviours while working closely together. It sounds like the process helped them to start experimenting with working more closely together. You get the feeling from the case study that delegates grew confident in being able to take back what they’d learned into their workplace. These are all good signs of an excellent set of techniques for dissolving silos in an away day event.