March 31, 2020

Virtual Development Experience for Teams

by Lisa Oates

At WinShape Teams, we believe there is a difference between good teams and great teams. We also believe in the power of community. Time together is essential to any community, even if it can’t always be in person.

In order to help you build a great team with strong community — no matter the structure or geographical distance — we developed a simple, easy-to-use resource for leaders to facilitate a virtual activity around the inspirational story of one of the most high-performing teams in the world.

 

The benefit of this experience?
You’ll walk away with a new perspective on team culture, perseverance, trust, respect, the character of a leader, and more.

About this Virtual Team Experience


The centerpiece of this experience is For The Team, a documentary about the inspirational story of Team Avaya, 6x World Championship Adventure Racing Team from New Zealand.

They are no doubt one of the most high-performing teams on the planet. As you watch this film, prepare for an endless list of learnings that you can apply to your own team!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Team Leaders

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Before you take any action,
read through this entire page
to get acquainted with the full experience.

Step 01:
Schedule a Team Meeting

 

Schedule a 1.5-hour meeting or virtual call with your team. (Note: If you have a larger team, you may want to consider scheduling a 2-hour meeting to allow for plenty of meaningful discussion time.)

It is important that each member of the team prepare for the discussion ahead of time. In your meeting invitation, include a link to this page, built specifically for your team members, which is pre-loaded with everything they’ll need to know for the experience: a link to the documentary, discussion questions, etc.

View your team member instructions →

Step 02:
Download the Discussion Questions


Now that your team meeting is on the calendar, download the questions that your team will discuss during the meeting.

We suggest having them on hand while watching the film so you can take good notes!

Download the Discussion Questions →

Step 03:
Watch the Documentary

 

The next step is to watch the documentary, For The Team! The film is approximately 40 minutes long, so grab some snacks, settle in, and be prepared to take a few notes as you watch. Remember to look back on the discussion questions as needed.

You may find that watching the documentary more than once will be beneficial as you lead your team through this experience, because there is just so much to learn from Team Avaya.

 

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Remember to “like” the film on YouTube!

Step 04:
Prepare for Your Team Meeting

 

You will need to prepare for the team meeting in two ways:

#1: Write down your answers to the discussion questions.
#2: Get ready to facilitate the discussion.

Keep in mind that depending on the size of your team, you may not be able to discuss every question listed. After you’ve prepared your thoughts, prioritize the list of questions to ensure you discuss the ones you are most interested in for your team. (Of course, you can add any additional questions you have as well!)

Remember during this experience to be honest with your answers and be sure to encourage team members as they share their thoughts.

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Pro Tips for Facilitating Discussion

 

  • Open your mind to hear good and honest feedback from your team members so you can begin taking the steps to building a high-performing team.

 

  • Silence means that people are thinking about how to organize their responses meaningfully. Embrace the silence.

 

  • Some team members may be more reluctant to share than others. Solicit input from everyone so the conversation is not dominated by only a few.


Step 05:
Host Your Team Meeting

001

5 minutes

Kick off your time together with a quick check-in to make sure everyone is ready to engage.

We like to have a little fun with our team gatherings, so if you're on a virtual video call, perhaps everyone can perform their best upper body dance move. Or, if you're on a phone call, everyone can say what they ate for breakfast that day at the same time. You get the idea.

002

5 minutes

Once everyone is loosened up a bit, intro the meeting with a little background on why you chose to walk through this experience as a team.

What was your goal or desired result for doing this activity together? It could be any number of things: time together, gaining alignment, learning from another team... explain to your team what you see as the benefit for going through this.

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1 hour & 15 minutes

Next, walk through the discussion questions that you all answered, in order of priority as you see fit.

Remember, depending on the size of your team and depth of discussion, you may not be able to talk through all the questions in a single session. (If time runs short, consider extending your time beyond the original timeframe, or scheduling a second meeting to maximize the impact of the discussion.)

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5 minutes

To close out your time together, welcome any final thoughts from the team, thank them for their time and engagement during the discussion, and let them know that you'll be following up individually with each team member to gain further insights.

Additionally, remind them to refer back to their Team Development Experience instructions for their final steps in this process!

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Pro Tips for Hosting Virtual Meetings

 

  • Allow a few minutes at the beginning of the call for everyone to say hello.

 

  • When you are ready to begin, invite all participants to mute their microphones unless they are speaking. This reduces background noise!

 

  • Practice with the video call features you intend to use prior to the call. And make sure everyone on the call is familiar with the features you plan to use in the call software you are using, such as group chat, microphone on/off, etc.

 

  • Prior to the call, turn off other application notifications to minimize distractions and excess noise.

Step 06:
Follow Up with Each Team Member

 

Success! You have facilitated what we hope was a meaningful discussion with practical applications that your team has learned from Team Avaya.

The final step in this Virtual Development Experience is to schedule time with each team member to follow up with any further insights you’d like to gain from their perspectives, ask additional questions, and just check in with them in general about how they are doing with their role on the team.

 

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Our Recommendation

At WinShape Teams, we have regularly scheduled check-ins between leaders and direct reports on the calendar… in most cases, every two weeks. We use those to catch up personally, discuss progress on goals or projects, and chat about professional development, among other things. If you have something like this already on the calendar with your folks, feel free to use this time for following up on the team discussion. If not, though, we strongly suggest starting this practice of checking in!

Step 07:
Send Your Feedback


After walking through any form of development, it is beneficial to practice debriefing the experience so you can not only loop back to what you learned, but also to consider further findings like how you interacted with your team during the experience, what you learned about yourself, and how the experience could have gone better.

We would love to hear from you about all of this! What was the experience like for your team? How did it benefit your team? What could be improved?

Did you like this experience?

Get updates when we publish more resources like this!

      

Get in Touch

Contact us with your request and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Prefer to talk to us on the phone? Feel free to contact us at (877) 977-3873