The Facilitative Flavour to Outbound Team Building process - Brig Sushil Bhasin
As a Master Trainer, Transformational Coach, and Motivational Speaker; I am passionate about achieving and contributing to outcome-focused results.
Master Trainer, Transformational Coach, Motivational Speaker, Educator, Author, TTST, Online Workshops, Youth Leadership Program, Train The Super Trainer, Design Your Life
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The Facilitative Flavour to Outbound Team Building process

The Facilitative Flavour to Outbound Team Building process

Facilitators are the ‘catalysts’ that can move people, teams
and thus organizations towards collaboration and synergy.
Picking up new ideas
and processes and experimenting them has always excited me. Recently, I was
fortunate to learn some new facilitation processes at the AIF’s
MAD Conf in Aug and reinforced my learnings on 24 Oct during the IAF Week.
The facilitation processes
I discovered were relevant to the Leadership and Team Building we conduct at
Empower Activity Camps. I found it could be easily integrated in our Outbound
Experiential Team Building interventions. I used ‘Divergence’ and
‘Convergence’  in 4 difference settings
in recent ‘Leadership and Team Building’ workshops. Today I integrated the
“Jigsaw’ which I found very interesting. I am sharing what I experimented,
hoping my facilitator friends will offer their views, ideas and suggestions to
make the entire process more interesting and effective.
I realized during
the “Flipchart Facilitation” by Ajit Kamath on
24 Oct that I could use it effectively. I had
two corporate groups in our camp the next morning (in fact one of them had
already arrived on 24th evening). I decided to apply these in both
the groups. What I am mentioning here is what we did in one of them.
The Program Design
was already made. Yet, during my travel from Belapur to Kolad (between 9 pm and
11.30 pm) I had visualized the possible integration and how I would modify the original
We had a corporate
group from an automobile company. The focus group was a team from a plant that
manufactures propeller shafts. The group size was
17. After an initial context setting and
deriving the ‘desired outcome’ I used a flipchart to capture what the
participants thought were important characteristics of a ‘TEAM”. Then, I gave
everyone two colored pieces of paper and said, “Focus your thoughts on what
‘you’ think are the two most important characteristics of a team that you need
to build or strengthen or reinforce in ‘your’ team. Write one idea on one
paper.” Now each team had to brainstorm and arrive at the 4 most important
characteristics of teams bring in more harmony in the team that could
lead to better performance. The selected points were put up on the ‘Sticky Wall’. The Team leaders came
up and initiated a discussion and this led the group to decide 4 most important
team characteristics they needed to focus on, thereby converging the 12 ideas
into 4.
On the Flip Chart we captured what the participants thought were the important characteristics of a good Team.
The teams selected important ones and placed them on the sticky wall (left)   

To summarise,
  • the team came out with what they thought a good team
    must be. I, as a facilitator, added two points they missed out, in the
    end. That was also done in a suggestive mode and when they all nodded I
    added them on the flip-chart.
  • The points on the flip-chart (their own creation, or can
    I say their recipe) were to be taken as a guideline. They could consider
    additional ones in their group discussions.
  • Everyone had two chits to write on – so equal
  • Everyone ‘had’ to write two points – so 100%
  • The convergence happened because everyone had to convince
    or be convinced. In many cases they voluntary withdrew their point voluntarily,
    agreeing that others’ points carried more weight.
  • The 4 most important characteristics of a team were
    arrived at by ‘them’ with no ‘gyan’ by the facilitator. That led to ‘ownership’.  
Post experience gained in team
 building activities the participants
wrote how they will
implement “Communication” in the plant.
This team wrote on
Ownership and Mutual Respect
In this case the team wrote
 on Passion, Risk taking and
Blame Game

Thereafter we did a
series of team building activities in our usual ‘outbound experiential
learning’ pedagogy.
In the closing
session I had the four characteristics placed on the sticky wall. I reformed
them into 4 teams. Each team was allotted one topic. (In this case
Communications, Blame Game, Passion and Commitment). Based on the experience
gained during the 8 activities done over two days, they were now asked to
arrive at actions they think if taken, in their work place, to enhance these
four characteristics of a team, will make their teams perform better, as also
make their workplace a better, happier place to be in.
I used the ‘Jigsaw’
process to disseminate the ideas in the entire group. As there were 4 people in
each team, and four charts, I numbered the participants as One, Two, Three and
four and asked the plant head to be a silent observer.
Ones were to stay at
the chart they worked on and the others (2,3,4) moved one step in the clockwise
direction to the next chart. For example if ‘One’ of Red team was on
Communication, 2,3 4 of Red Team moved to Passion. Similarly No ‘One’ of Blue
Team stayed at Passion and 2,3, 4 moved to Blame Game, and so on. In each case
all Nos ‘One’ were part of the team that had worked on it and were to explain
their teams logic to arrive at these points. He was to answer all questions. Nos
2,3,4 were permitted to add points if they wished to.
In the second round,
Nos ‘Two’ of each team stayed there and remaining people moved. Now No Two had
heard No One and had to convey that. He was not a part of the original
discussion. In this manner after 4 rounds
  • Every one had known discussion points of all other teams
  • Every one had spoken, so no one was left out of
  • Every one was allowed to add his point to the existing

The entire
experiment was a great success. Every one of the 17 individuals got an equal
opportunity (2 slips), an opportunity to convince the team or get convinced,
reflect, discuss and finally in the jigsaw everyone had to speak out and
explain what the team thought. This is now going to be converted into a
documented action plan for a clear goal with discernible milestones.

Thanks to IAF.
Thanks to Vinay Kumar. Thanks to Ajit Kamath for teaching me this process which
made our training more effective. Thanks to Col IP Singh and Anand Mehta for co
facilitating the process with me.
Lessons for future
This was the first
time I used this combination of processes. It was done impromptu, with very
little preparation. These are some lessons we learnt that will be applied next
1. In Jigsaw, while
giving instrs, it is good to clarify that each person will be required to speak
up and explain a chart which he would have heard from another person, about.
This will caution them to be more attentive.
2. Observer is a
good idea. He can patch up for something that was left out. In fact there
should be a static observer (from the original group) who should stay static.
3. Ask for questions
in the end. For example, in this case, ask whether anyone thinks that a
suggestion made can be improved upon / modified.  

4. Also encourage
participants to add anything after having gone through all the charts.

5. The trainers
challenge may be ‘time’. In any case even if some voids remain, this process covers
so much more ground that that small loss is acceptable. 
  • Anand Mehta
    Posted at 06:54h, 27 October Reply

    Amazing amalgamation of various ideas into one concept. Outbound is a very powerful way of conducting training and reaching to the desired outcome through Experiential Learning makes it even better and perfect. Usage of Flip Chart, Divergence, Convergence & Jigsaw to it adds true value (icing on cake). Kudos to your thinking style and implementation of the same. The world can learn so much from you. Thanks for sharing the idea with entire process and pictures to make it even more clear and impactful. Regards.

  • Arun Chitlangia
    Posted at 10:55h, 29 October Reply

    Sushil, What I learn from your sharing is that what ever we learn – if we implement it soon, it is very effective. Compliments to you for doing just that.

  • Ajit Kamath
    Posted at 10:38h, 03 November Reply

    Sushil & Arun – actioning learning reinforces to behaviours – that's how I have learnt in my facilitation journey. Kudos for implementing what you experienced in the IAF sessions back to your trainings.
    W.r.t. the process – my personal opinion is that you have planned it well – good divergence so that everyone's point is considered, you brought convergence to 4 key action points – probably through voting and then the best I like here is you connected to the experiential learnings within the day and further converged it to action points and then made each one be part of each of the action lists by using a good jigsaw chart facilitation. Wonderful!

  • Sushil Bhasin
    Posted at 20:12h, 03 November Reply

    I have refined the post a little and will like my facilitator friends to please have a second look, if possible. Thanks for ypur patience

  • Myvoteindia
    Posted at 11:05h, 04 November Reply

    An excellent integration of both the methodologies. Congratulations.
    Keep it up and keep sharing.

  • Prabhjot Singh Sood
    Posted at 11:52h, 04 November Reply

    This is indeed excellent way to ensure, everyone opens up & contribute. It encourages shy ones to participate & feel/experience how valued they are.

    This removes mental barriers & inhibitions. This also indicates individual involvement in activities…. Fun for them & serious planned activity for we facilitators….

  • Roger
    Posted at 10:49h, 07 November Reply

    Lots of good principles in action to encourage participation.

    Writing on coloured card looks like a good size for groups of 4, but seems a bit small for a group of 17.

    You write that "the team came out with what they thought a good team must be". I would usually prefer a more grounded (experience-based) and specific question such as "Think of an example of when your team was working really well. What factors contributed to this good team performance? What key things did people say or do? What do you want to take from this example into future team tasks?"

    I think it can also be useful to relate such discussions to specific team scenarios or to different stages of a team project, rather than being tempted to create a 'one size/guide fits all' team situations. I also like the way you (or they?) have dvided teamwork into different aspects that are important to them.

    I like the system that gives everyone the responsibility of sharing information at different points in the process. Doing this is groups of 4 also helps to maintain higher levels of engagement in the process.

    I would usually go for something more active (like doing an action replay of key moments) rather than 'talking about', but from the photos it looks as if everyone is enjoying cooling down in the shade of the trees and taking a break from activities in the heat of the day.

  • Sushil Bhasin
    Posted at 12:37h, 29 July Reply

    Dear Roger
    My apologies for responding so late.
    I am grateful to you for enriching us with your comments. I have particularly taken to using this idea
    "Think of an example of when your team was working really well. What factors contributed to this good team performance? What key things did people say or do? What do you want to take from this example into future team tasks?"
    This works well
    We are very happy to see the 'acceptability' and 'buy in.'
    Learners feel good when they know that the entire workshop is focused on what they asked for and NOT what the management or the trainer (facilitator) thrust on them. We did not say you need to improve your communication. They said so.
    The coloured paper slips with marker pens used for writing are OK for upto a group size of 40
    I will be very happy to exchange more ideas and experiences on training

  • Free auto approve list 7-27-2018
    Posted at 06:04h, 28 July Reply

    I added a new list. As you’ll see it’s bigger than most of them. I hope you all have had a great week!

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