As 2016 draws to a close, the ResRequest team embarked on their annual team build. The location was kept a secret and anticipation was noticeable.
Horseplay in the Dargle Valley was the location of the 2016 team build. This innovative programme uses horses to demonstrate the need for effective communication as the horses will not respond unless they understand the task and trust the leader.
To demonstrate the importance of clear communication, Carlene Bronner of Horseplay, had the team direct Nicol (ResRequest developer) through an obstacle course using only the words, “Yes” and “No”, and in fact, Carlene said that ResRequest was one of the fastest teams to complete the challenges, proving we are not so bad when it comes to communication!
The team was then divided into pairs and given a horse. Over the course of the day, we learnt increasingly challenging activities with our horses, and how to communicate these activities to our horses so that everyone understood and the activity could be completed.
Great fun was had, and even those who were nervous of horses, overcame their fear.
Carlene summed up the key points from the day as follows:
Have a plan: If you don’t have a plan, then your horse/colleague will sense a void in your leadership and will fill in that void. The results will seldom be productive.
Be consistent: If you are consistent in your emotions, your execution of ideas/work/dealing with situations as they arise, you will be found to be dependable. If you are dependable, you will be seen as trustworthy. If you are trustworthy, then it becomes easy for someone to hand over responsibilities to you.
Be patient: If you are impatient, you will lose the connection between you and your horse/colleague. Sometimes it takes time, but next time it will take less time, although some situations/people/horses may require going over the basics more than once.
Be persistent: Some situations/people/horses need more reassurance more often because of their doubts about their own abilities, and some require affirmation that you are in control because they are in doubt about your abilities! Don’t see that as a criticism but as a motivation to be better.
Be non-confrontational: If you lose your cool and lash out under pressure, the damage could set you back in the eyes of your colleague. Take a deep breath and think about how you are going to respond, rather than just reacting. Remember the 8 + 2 = 10 = point of balance. Don’t buy into the emotion of your colleague, rather control yourself and get that point of balance back into the equation.
If you mess up (and you will), fix up and move on: We are human and we do sometimes find our ability to stay calm being challenged, when you do mess up; fix up and move on. Don’t be tempted to put your colleague in the proverbial box and limit any future growth in the relationship. Horses never forget but they always forgive, unless they see a pattern developing into a bad habit because then they will develop undesirable behaviour to deal with your bad habits!
And the biggest lesson of the day: Be in the moment, be present!