Issue: Team dynamics are critical to productivity and performance. Today’s teams are perhaps more diverse than at any other time and this can cause tension and sub-optimal work. I worked with an organisation where the office was informally divided by gender and age, unwittingly affecting outcomes.
Approach: My approach was to ‘burst the bubbles’ and enable people to see beyond stereotypes attached to age and gender. I chose popular culture as a way to illustrate this. Training also looked at self-limiting beliefs rooted in stereotypes. Real projects were allocated to newly self-organised project teams, enabling people to work first hand with others who they did not usually work with.
Outcome: The training sessions gave an opportunity for people to connect and debate the status quo. Participants got to understand the similarities between them and how to use differences in a positive way. Hearing that some colleagues felt stereotyped gave others an opportunity to rethink what they believed about people of a different gender or age. The project challenges led in time to more diverse self-selected project groups and more effective work results.