With the start of 2014 upon us, here’s an idea for an easy to facilitate team activity that will help foster enduring team motivation, and capture the pre-requisite data to enable deep reflection at the end of the upcoming new year.
Ask your team members to find two pictures (use the google images, flickr, or a collection of printed photo cards) – one picture should be of an image that depicts “success”, the other picture should be of an image that depicts “challenge”. Have your team members bring a printed copy (in color if possible) of their 2 images to a team meeting.
At the team meeting, ask each team member to share a short summary of how each of their images speaks to their understanding of “success” or “challenge”. Once all have had a chance to share the meaning behind their selected pictures, use dot-voting (3 votes per person) to select the top 4 pictures for “success” and the top 4 pictures for “challenge”.
Once the top pictures have been identified, as a team agree upon a short statement that summarizes what each of the selected pictures mean to your team – have a team member record these statements (which could be sentences, phrases, or even just a few key words) in a manner that can be visually displayed with the printed pictures.
Now post the selected pictures and the summaries of what they mean in your team’s work area, or post the pictures and the summary statements online for teams that don’t all work in the same physical location (perhaps on a team wiki).
Throughout the upcoming year, challenge yourself and teammates to use the selected images to track each team member’s attitude towards the team – this tracking activity integrates well into a team’s ongoing retrospectives. As attitude data is captured, ensure it is recorded anonymously, as what is most important is not how individual members of the team feel at any point in time, but how the team feels overall as a unit, and how team attitude changes over time.
While all teams will hopefully experience periods of “success” in the coming new year, inevitably most teams will also experience periods of “challenge”. Tracking team attitude over time will allow teams to be mindful of when attitude may start to decline, for which teams can proactively brainstorm ideas to overcome challenges that may arise.
Moreover, while this activity sounds simple, if your team commits to capturing a full year of team attitude data using a collection of carefully selected pictures that have specific meaning for your team, you will have the necessary data for an in-depth timeline activity at the end of 2014 to enable thorough reflection upon your team’s learning, collaboration, and success.
Best wishes for a successful and enriching 2014.