Building Great Teams

The ImageCenter can be used to explore a full range of topics related to team building. From initial formation to conflict resolution to celebrating success and planning for the future, the Building Great Teams approach will help increase performance and insight.

Each team exists for different reasons in unique circumstances. The best team-building activity works within the constraints of the organization or purpose the group has been formed to serve. In addition to having a mission and vision, organizations have unique collective cultures and values. Teams live within these confines, and are affected by the larger whole.

The building of great teams is not a singular event. While you can begin to explore many of the elements necessary for building a great team in a single day-long session or even a two-hour facilitation, it is only through consistent effort
over time that teams achieve great performance.

Why Use Images?

The use of images in facilitation can bring many benefits:

  • Create more engaging processes
  • Increase participation
  • Connect the dots
  • Level the playing field for non-native speakers
  • Inspire storytelling
  • Increase learning through fun
  • Break out of habitual patterns

Create more engaging processes

Photographs have a natural way of getting people to look and ask questions. There are usually stories attached to them. Think about the last time you were around someone showing pictures of a recent trip or of their family to a group of people. What happens? Stories get told, people ask questions and the lookers begin to tell stories of their own, because the combination of stories and pictures spark connections for them. People are engaged!

This is very similar to the process that will happen with using the ImageCenter. People will be engaged. And when they get engaged, they participate.

Increase participation

Because you are using a visual-based tool, you have helped people to engage with the process. This kind of engagement develops a synergy. When one person “gets it,” the others are soon to follow. Even people who had no inclination or desire to participate when they arrived are much more inclined to do so when others get actively involved. Who wants to be the odd one out?

Connect the dots

Images help participants get below the surface quickly. They create a door between the conscious and subconscious, giving your groups the ability to make associations and connections to information that is not always directly accessible. This linkage allows them to take leaps in their thinking by getting them out of their literal, analytical minds.

Level the playing field for non-native speakers

If your group consists of non-native speakers of the dominant language, then using images gives them another way to express themselves. The photographs will allow these participants to literally show their thoughts and gives them ways to communicate other than just in words. This has the added benefit of helping them feel included and empowered to share more. As a result, VisualsSpeak tools are used successfully across a wide range of intercultural settings.

Inspire storytelling

Stories are everywhere. They are the basis of communication regardless of culture. Every day we are bombarded with stories in the form of advertisements, movies, news, books, radio, songs and more. Even financial reports are stories told in the language of mathematics! Images help unlock the inner storyteller in your participants.

Increase learning through fun

Searching through stacks of images is a process that invokes fun in participants. They will compare and share stories about them, and engage in creative dialogues and find new ways to express themselves. Don’t ever doubt the power of increased learning through having fun—especially when it comes to adults!

Breaking out of habitual patterns

It is easy to fall into routines of thinking—it’s actually how we develop our expertise! Most of the time this is very helpful, but it can also tip into patterns that do not allow for new possibilities. Using images to spark associations can
lead us to new ideas and insights that are beyond what we think about with words alone. The brain processes pictures faster and in larger chunks, so we can further open the possibility of making leaps in our thinking by using images.

Guidelines for assessing your participants and choosing the right place to start

Designing Your VisualsSpeak Session

The best design will be the one that takes the particular participants, the environment they are expected to function within, and what they hope to accomplish into account. Once you are comfortable with using theVisualsSpeak Building Great Teams approach, feel free to make changes to the suggested formats to customize the processes. The more relevant the pieces are to the situation, the better your results will be.

Consider these steps in designing your session:

Step 1: Identify the most important characteristics of your participants and the desired outcome of the session.

Step 2: Select the area of focus that most closely matches the desired outcome of the session.

Step 3: Assess whether the participants in the group are ready to focus on this area.

Step 4: If the participants are not ready to focus on the desired outcome, what area of focus would move them toward that outcome?

Step 5: Choose a sequence that fits into the time allotted.

Step 6: Select the starting prompt from the area of focus. Make any adjustments to customize for your audience.

Step 7: Plan suggestions for carrying the session content back into the workplace.

Step 8: Gather materials needed and make logistical arrangements, including seating layout.