Possibly not the most obvious learning from a team building exercise but one which is super useful – ask questions.
We often notice the lack of questions, especially during the briefing. Despite advising the team members that they can ask anything they like, there are usually few questions. It seems especially strange as the activity is new to 95% of people meaning any hierarchy is removed.
One reason may be that the team members are more excited about the exercise in the field than staying in the briefing area to ask questions. Everyone is really keen to have a go at herding sheep and the questions can wait!
And to an extent this does play out. Participants ask a few more questions whilst re-grouping in the field. They’ve had a few attempts, it’s not worked out, so the obvious questions arise, such as:
“What are we doing wrong?”
“What would you do?”
“Does any team actually succeed in getting the sheep in the pen?” (the most common one!)
As the saying goes: there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Chances are that if it’s in one person’s mind, it will be in someone else’s too. Yet they may not have the courage or confidence to ask it out loud.
Unsurprisingly less assertive team members prefer to ask the expert one-to-one, rather than within a group setting. It’s then interesting to see how they choose to use the information gleaned when they are reunited with their colleagues.
Paul Warriner, The Recognition Coach, is in conversation with Chris Farnsworth, Head Shepherd and founder of Raising the Baa. In this episode they ponder on the apparent reticence to ask questions and the frequent assumptions made as a consequence.
Enjoy – and thank ewe for listening 🙂