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What do team training and sex have in common?

Last year, I wrote about the day we started with a team training for a company in Amsterdam and that we interviewed some people in the workforce to better understand their ideas and points of interest for the training.

Speaking of the content of the training, one manager remarked: “I don’t want to do a so called alternative workshop activity. I find that extremely silly. One day”, he continued, “we were drumming for an hour!”  In another workshop we had to juggle, please! Does this seem normal to you? Knowing that together we are responsible for 260 people in our company? What a waste of time for our team….“

His remark made me think of a manager of another company who had told us that his management team participated in a workshop for leadership. “It was”, he told, “one of these modern courses with so called innovative methods. I had to cook a special meal together with a new manager I didn’t know and it happened to be the nerd of the team”, he said, “he knew nothing about cooking and instead of listening, he ignored me completely. Everything he did was a disaster! He could not even cut an onion well! I decided to ignore him as well, we both cooked our own dish, separately. Honestly, what could this type of course really bring the team? Please!”

I think that those people were totally right.

Dynamic and innovative courses? Very well. Learning through experience? Excellent. But reflection and changes can only be achieved if the trainers are able to transfer the meaning of the exercises and create an insight, “click” or “aah! moment for the participant which enhances changes in their behavior afterwards.

When I listen to people telling me their frustrations with these workshops, I think in some cases we’ve lost the essence of what we’re doing. We’re trying out new things, more challenges, more creativity, more impact and we’re thriving away from the main goal.

And what about the sex?

A few weeks ago, I saw the connection while watching a documentary about couples who perceived their sex life as being extremely boring. Some couples had tried to bring more excitement to it by using a variety of sex toys, fancy postures, playing games. But without the desired result. And what struck my attention? The advice of the experts in this documentary was awfully simple:  the couples had to sit together on a frequent basis, look each other in the eyes for 10 minutes without speaking and keep the sex toys away for a few weeks. The effect was amazing. It brought the couples back to a deeper, personal connection with each other and that brought back all the fun and excitement!

Playing games and seeking impact is not that difficult to do. The problem is that in some cases it thrives us away from what we really need: connection. The challenge is to bring us back to what satisfies us most: the connection with ourselves and with key people around us. At least if you’re opting for fun and excitement on the long-term. Strengthening connections in team training is achieved through vulnerability, transparency, honest feedback and integrity. The games and fancy tools are extra’s that should bring us there!

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Marianne Slotboom

Marianne is a strategic partner and practical developer of human behavior that helps leaders, teams and organizations become more focused and effective, elevating their value to customers. In 2015, Marianne founded Yellow Training to answer the call for more inspirational and creative leadership in the modern workplace.

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