We found an interesting post recently from our friends at Sabre Team Building in Australia, relating closely to what we at Norsvald are working to provide:experiential learning bringing colleagues together through common purpose.
The article discusses three important levels of team building as it relates to matching appropriate activities to business needs. Indeed, the discussion relates around land-based and “event” learning, but we see several similarities when bringing corporate learning out to sea.
The first level is “simple interactive” events for meetings, conferences and other venues. “Human beings at their most basic behavioral level seek engagement within a social network to establish conscious and subconscious awareness of power, relationships and collective purpose.”
The style of events that can work well at Level 1, says Sabre, are “virtually anything that will require basic collaboration and shared purpose for small teams usually on a competitive basis.”
These are often played out in activities such as races, skits, treasure hunts, creating art, etc. Results of this approach can be limited, “rarely if ever are events at this level capable of carrying any depth with respect to messaging, lasting outcomes or as agents for long term change.”
We agree, however, we do see some benefits incorporating this level of learning when applied to our “on the water” program. Prior to boarding the vessel and conducting the “at sea” team building exercises, certain light activities can be a nice warm up to the more in-depth training that takes place later. This can be anything from working together to ready the ship for sail, working through the procedures to ensure the safety of everyone onboard and delegating onboard tasks.
The second level constitutes more in-depth learning but still maintains the fun and recreation of Level 1. Activities on this level are meant to “draw out diverse team role behaviors, thinking styles and individual and collective strengths and weaknesses for observation and review.” These approaches start with the basic business games but then require individuals to mirror some of the challenges and complexities they may face at work. Reviews and de briefs ashore link experiential outcomes to positive outcomes in the working world.
Applying this level to our at-sea training program, we at Norsvald look at the entire team as a whole, review the individual components (the people that make up the team) and what personal factors are coming into play when problem solving, managing staff or working as a group to meet an important deadline. As does Sabre, we look to the Level 1 activities for the first clues to what needs to be worked on and the different personalities at play.
The third and most involved level encompasses high-end team and leadership development. The drivers here are drawn from specific approaches and solutions to achieve meaningful and desired outcomes that translate specifically to solving the challenges that exist in their workplace and even the entire organization.
“At Level 3 we are also engaging highly complex neuroscience, accelerated teaming, individual and team profiling tools along with a level of facilitation and design that far exceeds” the exercises in the first two levels, Sabre points out.
For us at Norsvald that means passengers onboard dig deep to use their brains, muscle, and communication skills while drawing on all the senses to reach full understanding of themselves that they can then carry back to the office.
We see this taking place mostly onboard while navigating the vessel to a destination and working together to make it all happen. Based on the team characteristics revealed in level 1 and 2, these activities take a more personal theme so that the individuals can actually translate what they are experiencing onboard to solving those greater issues at work.
A successful corporate learning experience needs collaboration between staff and client prior to venturing onto the water. Being honest and open about what is not working and what works well back in the department adds to the experience making it memorable and worthwhile.