While Dubai enters its fifth week of sauna-like existence, KnE was able to ignore the mercury bubbling! This is because our mid-year gathering kept us laser-focused and filled with enthusiasm.
Each July we make sure to plan a day away from the routine of our office. We sit back, get candid, share our stories and look back at the year to see what’s working, what isn’t and course-correct as a team. After multiple years of keeping up with this tradition, we found it helped improve the KnE team’s productivity in many layers thus we thought it could do the same for you!
Team chemistry not team building
At KnE we aim to go beyond teamwork, team building and aim for team chemistry.
What has helped us achieve this is aligning our vision through multiple quirky introspective exercises.
This year we tried to identify each of our values. When first asked to do so, most of us were beyond perplexed. Luckily, our Head of Learning, Samantha Miles is always equipped to get us going!
Here’s how it goes, for those of you interested to try it out yourselves.
- Pick a person you look up to/find inspiring/respect. List 15 characteristics about them that you admire
- Note down 15 characteristics/situations/behaviour that you dislike
- What are 15 things that make you happy?
From those 3 lists find 6 overarching themes that connect. For example, if a characteristic you like is honesty, you dislike insincerity and original art makes you happy – your one overarching theme could be authenticity. Now from those 6 themes, narrow down to 3 core values and write a quick description as to why these are important to you. Make sure to include an example of how you’ve abided by those values in your life. From your 6 themes, which would you assign to KnE (or in your case, your own institution)?
This was surprisingly tricky. Many of us found ourselves scratching our head for some time, but once we were on track, we got to know ourselves and each other with a lot more depth. We found a group of people operating with a shared sense of mission and a feeling of camaraderie. We are a team with a shared vision who care for each other’s success.
Solve for gaps
At KnE we try to keep things transparent when reviewing our shared performance. We look at what we set out to achieve, what was accomplished, what went right and what went wrong.
The motto is “KnE is our company” – we succeed, and we fail together. Everyone’s work is interrelated and connected. If one of us failed, it means the rest of the team and the environment failed to deliver the required support for success. We make sure to share the good, but also what mistakes we made, where we feel we need support and our frustrations.
The reason we do this is so that we feel we can trust and support each other.
Patrick Lencioni explains it quite well in his book “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business”.
“When everyone on a team knows … that no one is going to hide his or her weaknesses or mistakes, they develop a deep and uncommon sense of trust. They speak more freely and fearlessly with one another and don’t waste time and energy putting on airs or pretending to be someone they’re not. … At the heart of vulnerability lies the willingness of people to abandon their pride and their fear, to sacrifice their egos for the collective good of the team.”
Jolt us out of busy work
It’s important to step back from the nitty-gritty details of the day to day and remind ourselves of the bigger picture.
The tendency to drown in ‘busy work’ starts to creep in more as head deeper into the year. It happens to all of us.
For the uninitiated, when we say busy work, we’re talking about work that makes you feel like you’re doing something impactful, when in reality you’re not.
Taking a quick break to look at what we’re trying to achieve can help us course correct when we’ve gotten a little lost. A study conducted at the University of Potsdam, actually discovered that four out of five students were increasingly more inclined to fall victim of busy work when not reminded of the key goals they were working towards.
We hope to stand by these traditions and welcome more during the years to come! At the end of the day, it is all about taking care of each other and looking out for one another so that we can achieve what we set out to accomplish together.
By Helina Hein, Marketing Specialist – Knowledge E