Thursday, November 29, 2018

Negotiating for cohesion with your team

Read Time: 4 minutes

Chapter 1: Outer

“The first thing I noticed was the fork with five prongs.”

Teams need to feel a sense of camaraderie before they are able to fully collaborate. As team leaders in the workplace we’re subtlety negotiating with our group to improve group cohesion, collaboration and work flow. Simply demanding more performance doesn’t work very well with creatives. Stories, storytelling and story creation are a classic way to have fun, get to know each other and begin to form a level of closeness that results in pleasurable and productive collaboration.

“Something is seriously wrong here” I thought as I slid on to a stool and put my gun on the bar.

This is a story that was created by our Thanksgiving guests over the 4 days we were together aboard the yacht De Anza III and enjoying each other’s company. Our goal in writing the story was just to have fun. What happened was a deeper level of friendship. And for me, a new appreciation for the power of story creation as a potential workplace method for improving collaboration.

“Is it me or my spinning head.” The hit had staggered me. I needed a moment. It was getting very real, very fast. No one noticed the gun.

Barb was entering from the back. So I knew I was okay there.

Then I realized that they knew we were coming. The bartender reached under the counter as he walked towards me.

“Why five prongs?” I asked as he pulled out the sawed off. My automatic was within reach but I wanted an answer not a dead bartender to deal with.

I swear I saw his face explode before I heard the shot. Shit. There won’t be any answers from him.

“Barb, stop it” but it wasn’t Barb. It was the other gal at the end of the bar. “Shit! What’s going on here.”

I grabbed my gun and dropped to the floor as her next shot shattered the spot where my gun had been sitting.

Where was Barb when I needed her? She was always late. My hand was shaking now. I’m not cut out for this rough stuff.

The guy who’d hit me appeared at the door. And l took some satisfaction from his bloody face. That shirt’s a goner I thought as I put two slugs into his chest. He went down. So much for animal rights.

Now there were shots from the kitchen. Barb wasn’t late just held up a bit. Thought as I slid around the end of the bar.

I heard the click, click, click of stilettos as the gal who fired at me rounded the bar and headed my way. So I asked…

“What’s your name and why…”

“What’s it to you asshole.”

Shit. As she rounded my end of the bar.

Barb put down two shots. Missed. But distracted her. I got to my feet and slammed her to the floor. Her gun spun across the floor. Barb picked it up and checked the clip.

“Down two”. As she holstered the pistol and wrapped the quick ties around the fem’s wrists.

Let’s get out of here while we can.” We’d found our target. I was feeling a lot better.

I noticed that the forks still had five prongs. As we hit the outer holding our captive between us.

Chapter 2: Fem’s rules

She arranged the work. We watched. There were thirty of us in the class. And we were all straining against the harnesses trying to figure out what her criteria was. (More to come.)

This story was created by a group of 6. I contributed the opening line about the gun. Others contributed the fork, and many of the following lines. A couple of the group members added overriding concepts. Others helped refine and polish the result. We read and reread the evolving story out loud over and over again of the to the cry of “read it again.” 

Everyone in the group contributed. Now that I think about it, everyone spoke in approximately equal amounts of time. Equal contributions is one of the ingredients that lead some groups to outperform others.

Building teams that produce great results is not easy. I envision using exercises like creating a story together as a way of establishing a level of creative intimacy that results in more free flowing collaboration. And it’s fun!
I can’t wait to see where this story goes. Feel free to contribute your thoughts.


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