• Tomás Romero Borzi

Did you really know your teammates? Close the gap and rediscover them like a cell on a microscope

Actualizado: 20 nov 2020

How to grow and cultivate an empowered system, Vol V.

How to encourage conversations, empathy, similar likes, and a motivated team on a ludic, forever growing, and adaptive practice like Personal Maps of Management 3.0?

Now, what happens when you see that there are not so many interactions with your team? Or if it’s a new team or project you are starting? Or you want to share and encourage others to talk about other stuff non-work-related probably?

There is a huge variety of ice-breaker activities that you can implement to grow stronger as a team, to know a bit more about other team members.

Even though we will never know everything about others, this is a bit closer than before and can boost the conversations, interactions, and team bonding or outings.

One of the activities that can encourage and improve the communication between the team members, and the understanding of each other, is the Personal Map practice from Management 3.0: https://management30.com/practice/personal-maps/.

Why is that so important? I can imagine hundreds of reasons for the importance of having a better understanding, relation, and communication with your team, and with any other person work or non-work related.

Before COVID, if we were on the same floor with other people working, we had spontaneous conversations, a joke someone made and we laugh about it, we share something we just buy on the internet, a musical taste for the t-shirt someone brought, a quick talk about a trip while the coffee machine prepares the drink, and an infinite different topic of talks that improve our relationship with other members, that encourages us to probably generate other activities and proximities with them.

But now that everyone is in their houses, or working remotely, we lost most of those interactions. Some of us are passing their day by day only doing their tasks on their computers, without interacting (even digital) with other people, or talking about other topics that are non-work related.

So, how can we encourage people to be closer with others (if they want, of course), have a better understanding of their partners, team members, or other people, while increasing communication, diversity, value, quality, and a lot of more thing we already covered before if we can’t decrease the current distance, and having only technology to help us.

What we can do, is to use personal maps, which is an incredible, fast-paced, graphic exercise to improve the understanding and communication between people. Of course, this can be used remotely, and in-person or physically with some papers and pencils, or colors if you want it fancier, while you draw the relationship between the concepts or what you have in mind for different topics.

As part of a 15000+ employees Software Development company, we met new people every week. Even if we are part of the same team for years, knowing each other is vital.

On the team where I applied this practice (being 6 members from different backgrounds, and skills), I thought, that as brainstorming to knew each other better, to use this practice to share valuable time, knowing each other, seeing similarities, and having valuable conversations.

With practices like this, we encourage each people to not only pursue their own goals but also set and reach team objectives that will be more effective and will have a better value for the work they have. Why not take a fast and light practice that can motivate your teams? That can make you happier? That can impact their results, ideas, creativity, value, and a lot more?

In my case what I did was:

What you are going to read is a proposal, not a ruleset, or steps to follow, those were the steps that I did with some teams, so you can adapt it on your own with whatever fits better.

  1. Since all of us were remote (thanks to COVID), I used a Miro board. But you can use whatever you want to replicate this digital or physical. And the timebox we are going to have.

  1. I left some “trees” or maps with the face of each attendance.

  2. I select 8 topics/labels/categories where each one has to put more information on each space - I will share a list of some of the infinite suggestions you can use for this.

  1. Then each of us starts adding more information on the Personal Map.

  1. When we finish, we share with the others what we fill

  2. After that, we shared what we discovered about the others if there is something new if there are similarities between our categories.

And that’s it. Yes, with something as simple as that, you are encouraging members to be more empathic, to have different conversations, to share with others from different aspects, and probably to generate other kinds of activities.

Here you have a bit of my Personal Map:

There you have 8 categories I used but are not nearly closed limited to them: (Who I) Admire / Books / Education / Family / Friends / Goals / Hobbies / Home / Job / Values.

You can use whatever you want, and as much as you can or want with the time you had. Probably you only use 2 branches, and then you can have something like that to welcome new members with 20 branches.

You can have branches likes: achievements, activities, ambitions, animals, artists, career, challenges, companies, fears, food, heroes, holidays, languages, motivators, movies, music, needs, passions, series, skills, songs, sports, superpower, talents, weakness, and millions of more (and probably better) options.

The team really liked this practice. Some comments after applying this practice is how versatile, funny, practice, and scalable it is!

Some of the members already applied it with their teams, using other branches, and having fun while strengthening their relationships.

As a Facilitator I learned, that I always enjoy learning new things about the attendees, things that can connect us in other ways, things that can be used to strengthen the relationships between them and with me. Also, I will have something like this to present myself to new members, at the beginning of a talk or session with new people.

My next experiment with this practice will be, as a Facilitator, to encourage the use of non-work branches, or non-professional one. In that way, we will have a better knowledge of the others. We can see the professional life of someone at LinkedIn, on their Resume, but share the movies, music, series, or things that you can connect and empathize with others, will be more powerful.

As I mentioned before, I recommend this practice to start knowing each other, to start a training meeting, session, workshop, or whatever activity you had with different people (even if they know -or not- each other for a while, you can never know what they are going to share). With this practice, we learned new things from other team members and now we are sharing from another perspective, identifying similar likes, names, hobbies, etc.

Never is too late to have some fun.

Hope you liked it, hope it works for you, your partners, your teams, and people you interact with, so you can strengthen your links as well as how people interact with each other.

If you want to apply these practices or think about how you can mix them (with other Management 3.0 or with any other activities) just let me know and we can figure it out.

I share with you the steps I applied, and the activities individually but are so powerful and potent individually, that can be empowered by mixing them with others, of course, by knowing what is the goal, objective or what you want to bring into a visible aspect by acting.

See you next time, on the next How to grow an empowered system volume.

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