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Four ways to make your team's experience a resource for your business

People are the superpower of a business, but are you fully harnessing their talents and learning from their experiences? People are more than their job descriptions, they didn't come to your team from a vacuum. They have a life outside of their role and a wealth of experience from ‘a previous life.’

Everyone in your team has a unique perspective and skillset. Amazing things can happen when you apply this diversity of thinking to problem solving.

We challenge you to tap into the wider experience of your team to refresh your thinking and build stronger connections. Force your mind to forge new pathways and be rewarded with more balanced decision making and new ideas.  

Four ways to get to know your team and make people’s unique experiences and perspectives an asset for your business 

Experience maps 

Your people aren’t going to read each other's CVs and this is about going beyond someone's role in the business. So ask your team to map their experience in a simple visual chart. Make it broad and encourage them to share not just their business skills but their interests and talents e.g. what languages do they speak? Do they volunteer at a local charity? Are they a secret podcast enthusiast? Can they bake? 

Teach us something

Set up a schedule and challenge each team member to create a short workshop on something that interests them and deliver it to the team. Encourage them to focus on things they’re passionate about. It might be something related to work or it could be completely unrelated - either way it will no doubt enhance connection within the team and broaden their thinking.

Did you know that I once learnt to…

In this exercise ask everyone to share something they learnt to do and why. You’ll definitely learn something new. Make it fun by giving them 2 minutes to speak and they have to keep talking until the time is up!

What’s challenged you 

Ask your team to share something they’ve read or listened to recently that challenged their thinking. We can vouch for the impact of this method, for us it opened up a robust discussion. There was a big range of ideas and people came away feeling energised and closer as a team. 

We hope these exercises help you expand your thinking and culture. If you have any questions about this get in touch with the team or reach out to Ariane, People Advisory and Design Consultant at Sprout.  

P.s. See below for the list of ideas that challenged our team recently! 

Sahil Bloom's Chronicles: The four stages of competence to learning a new skill and the Dunning-Kruger Effect - a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task are prone to overestimate their ability (“unconscious incompetence”). Combat this by making a habit to question your assumptions and get more comfortable with saying “I don’t know”. Then, focus on learning and growing to move up the stages of competence until it becomes effortless.

Trello, the difference between brainstorming and brainwriting: some people are hares and some people are turtles, get the best work out of all your team by mixing up the way you generate ideas.  

Applying learnings from critical health psychology to business: in Western societies we individualise health responsibility which can lead to blaming people for being poor health citizens when unwell. This can be applied in a business setting, when someone isn't performing by focusing only on the individual you can miss contributing factors from the culture and organisational environment they’re operating within.

All Blacks mental skills coach, Gilbert Enoka presentation: asked everyone to picture a triangle with structure, skills and mindset at each corner and identify what they thought was most important for high performance. The audience guessed ‘mindset’ but the answer was in fact ‘structure’. This highlighted the importance of having the right structure, systems and habits in setting people up for success, and aligns with James Clear’s advice in the book Atomic Habits.

Blitzscaling book by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh: Blitzscaling is “when you need to grow really, really quickly. It’s the science and art of rapidly building out a company to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale.” The takeaway is that when you have to scale really fast in the face of uncertainty, there are times that you need to throw out the rule book and efficiency and ‘perfect’ in favour of speed.

Panel discussion, Aaron Dinin, What was the most unexpectedly valuable skill that helped you succeed as entrepreneurs?: Sure sales, fundraising, managing/hiring people are all important but you also need to know how to listen, how to manage your time and be able to self educate. 

No more mean girls book by Katie Hurley: the observations of girls in society today from primary to intermediate: how they are creating a sense of identity, resilience and communication. We live in such a different world from the one we grew up in, this is a practical insightful guide to raising girls today. The issue itself raises the question how will this new environment impact business culture when this generation grows up?

Written by Ariane Tredrea
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