Failure Is A Great Teacher – Part 2

Motivational Speaker Mississauga

In the previous blog, I wrote about the power of failure to be an amazing teacher provided your mind, heart and eyes are open to the lessons available. Failure often produces very strong and not always favourable emotions. These emotions can block our ability to learn from failure. As a result one of the first steps in learning from failure is to give yourself some time for the emotions to stabilise. Then you can examine the event in depth and pluck out the learning and the applications to future challenges. This takes a certain level of emotional intelligence to accomplish.

This learning process is what is called the Experiential Learning Cycle. This method of learning involves three basic steps. Experience, Analysis, and Application. In order for there to be learning there needs to be an event or an experience. This can be something you were personally involved in, something you observed, or event something you read about. Next, you need to analyse what took place and look for the learning. Bring in relevant models and research to help you see clearly and make your own conclusions as it relates to your goals and challenges. Lastly, you need to figure out how to apply what you have learned in a practical and realistic way. You can follow the simple steps of What, So What and Now What.

As you may recall from my last blog I had failed to climb one of the world’s tallest mountains. Well, it was not just me, but it was my entire team of highly experienced mountaineer partners. Partner and team are not really the right words as we were neither. For various reasons every person there, myself included was focused on personal success only. This was the result of a very dysfunctional team environment that had formed within our group. Trust, support, compassion, empathy, and teamwork were replaced by selfishness, mistrust, gatekeeping, conflict, and ego.

In the end, this devastating experience became one of the greatest teachers of my life and I used this experience to go on and summit Mount Everest on my first attempt and to complete many other arduous adventures.

Patrick Lencioni helped me to crystalize my learning in his book 5 Dysfunctions of Team. Through my personal experiences and the desire to focus on the positive, I developed my High-Performance Team Model.

I believe the foundation of all high-performance teams is RELATIONSHIP. We need to get to know and understand our fellow teammates as well as to bond with them emotionally. After all, I always say “we do not do things for each other because we HAVE to, we do things for each other because we WANT to”. And this is based on positive relationships.

This relationship foundation is the root of building TRUST as trust comes from positive experiences with others.

This trust allows us to COMMUNICATE openly and honestly. If we trust one another I will ask the stupid question, I will disagree with you, and I will express my opinions event if they are not shared by the rest of the team. This allows us all to express ourselves fully and to discuss and debate the issue at hand. Without trust I will keep my mouth shut and although the team will appear supportive and committed it is really a mask hiding tension just below the surface.

Only once we have communicated openly and honestly will we be able to truly COMMIT to a team vision, action or decision. It is through this open dialogue that we listen to one another and formulate our plans. As Stephen Covey writes in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People “seek first to understand, and then to be understood”.

Only through true and real commitment can we achieve ACCOUNTABILITY. Accountability of one’s self and accountability by others is critical for follow through. In an accountable team, we feel safe to follow up on each other’s actions and commitments and this is seen as supportive rather than threatening.

Although simple in principle, this model is not always simple to implement. It takes strong leadership to bring it to life, but after all, that is what leadership’s most important job it; to build high performance within individuals and in teams.

At Summit Team Building we use this model in our Team Development and Leadership Development training programs.

I love corporate team building

Outward Bound

I have been a corporate team building facilitator for more than 20 years. It all started during my time at Lakehead University and as an Outward Bound wilderness instructor. Outward Bound is most likely the founder of the modern corporate team building program.

One day I was asked to facilitate a corporate team building program for Outward Bound’s Professional Development Programs. This corporate team building program brought the experiential elements of the wilderness based Outward Bound program and adapted them to be appropriate for an adult corporate audience and to be delivered in an urban setting.

I quickly discovered that I loved being involved with these corporate team building programs. I realized that I am an educator and a facilitator at heart. Through my entire life I had always been teaching others what I knew, sometimes this was very little and sometimes it was a lot, but it was always focused on helping them to develop personally. As an Outward Bound instructor I did this with youth in an informal wilderness setting. When I started working with the corporate team building audience I thrived with the adult audience and the more formal setting.

I went on to complete my Masters in Training at Royal Roads University to add greater depth to my understanding of leadership training and high performance teams. I added this to all the Summit Team Building corporate team building programs to make them the best they can possibly be.

One of the great testing grounds for my team building theories are the mountaineering expeditions I lead. Having climbed for over 25 years I have seen great teams and I have seen highly dysfunctional teams. The main factor in success on a mountain, and in a corporate setting, is not skill and experience (yes those are required), but it is team dynamics, leadership and culture.

A high performance culture does not form by accident. It is built through great leadership, planning and structure.

My most recent series of expeditions have been a part of the True Patriot Love expeditions to help ill and injured Canadian soldiers and veterans and their families. We have explored the Himalaya’s together, skied to the North Pole and most recently climbed Mount Vinson; the highest mountain in Antarctica. Each of these expeditions began with a plan to craft a group of strangers into a high performance team. In everything I do I see the power and value of corporate team building.

Now you may not be wanting to take your team on an expedition (we can arrange that if you like), but you are most likely interested in helping your team become or maintain a high performance unit. This is where Summit’s keynote presentation, team building programs, and team development training workshops come in. At Summit we will have the perfect session to match your corporate team building needs.

My fellow facilitators at Summit are just as passionate about corporate team building as I am and together we have delivered corporate team building program to companies throughout the world, big and small. If you are looking for a corporate team building program contact us at Summit Team Building and we will make your corporate team building experience a great one.