M R Dynamics is a UK-based learning and development organisation specialising in team and leadership development, working with a variety of organisations around the world. We formed to help people, teams and organisations to find and adopt the specific knowledge, attitudes and behaviours that will lead to enjoying the greatest benefits that teamwork can bring. We create and deliver tailor-made programmes and events for teams that create positive changes in th most relevant and impactful areas of teamwork.
If nothing changes, nothing is learnt. And our clients have not got what they signed up for! As such, we generally have a 'no-tables' policy and make our sessions interactive with experiential activities and games, and discussion. People learn best when they are involved, they experience and when they are relaxed and enjoying themselves.
So we put a great emphasis on activities that create real learning, memorable new perspective and that foster sustainable behavioural change. The main tools and methodologies that we use are the Insights Discovery profiling system and Metalog training games.
We find that Metalog tools in our team sessions help us specifically in three areas:
- To see the personality types in action. As people solve a problem or complete a task, it brings the theory of typology into live action for all to see and hear. It's one thing reading and talking about how the more extraverted people in the team tend to be quicker to speak up and comment, but watching it then happen in real time is often when the penny really drops. These moments make a big difference.
- To shine a light on real life dynamics. All teams and groups have habits and trends - team norms that come into play when they solve problems, share information etc. Metalog tools often shine a light on these norms, bringing them into focus. Or they act as an unobtrusive metaphor that opens up candid debrief conversations about performance development opportunities for the team.
- To build greater trust and cohesion within the team by having a fun shared experience together. Also, research shows that greater belief in the team's capabilities to succeed can in itself bring about performance improvement. The satisfaction and buzz teams get when they complete a tricky task builds team esteem and belief through success.
So for us the results are always interesting. Whilst teams often face similar challenges, we know that each team is unique - unique people, team dynamics and organisations. So you rarely get the same results from Metalog games with different teams. From the Metalog catalogue we have had great success with teams using Pipeline, Floating Stick, Culturallye and the Dominoes.
Floating stick is a game that we have used with teams for years. This quick and fun exercise always brings lots of laughs and leads into discussion about:
- Behavioural styles within the team
- How leadership can come from unexpected places
- How the team handles conflict
- The team's norms in reviewing performance and learning
- Levels of clarity and alignment on the team's goals
- Where the team is in a change process and or/how the team handles change
- Where the team is in Tuckman's forming, storming, norming and performing process
- How the team is perceived by other people that it interacts with
When a client of ours rolled out team training across its service function teams, they found the floating stick exercise particularly interesting. None of these support teams had a clear purpose or goal above their day to day operations; IT fixed IT problems, finance made sure the numbers were all in order etc. At the same time the business was in the process of expanding rapidly and therefore the leaders of these functions had been tasked with making these teams think more strategically and thinking more long term.
The floating stick is all about the whole team working in one unified direction (down!). After the exercise we were able to lead into an exercise based on the questions, "What is the goal that this team is working towards? Where are you going to take the (IT/finance) function over the next 12 - 18 months so you will add value even greater to the growing organisation?" We could then also talk about the emotional journey of stepping our of your comfort zone and going through change.
Because people were engaged, energised and emotionally attuned, these discussions about purpose and goals were much more productive and fruitful than if the manager had raised the topic in an operational meeting.
Even we find we sometimes have team members who have already done this exercise with another team, they always learn something new as each team behaves in their own unique way while doing the exercise or finds it is a metaphor for another aspect of teamwork.
We continue to use these tools, in no small part, because of the quality of both. Metalog equipment is always well made, well presented, lasts extremely well and always reflects positively on our company's brand and image. Plus the support we get from Shirley and her team is great, from easy ordering to guidance and tips on how to get the most from the tools in different situations. We are delighted that Metalog is part of M R Dynamic's story and success.