This article was based on episode 195 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Get one of three available discounted team-building flower design workshops for 5 or more people when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join.
A sense of belonging is one of the most precious commodities in any workplace. It’s what can make the difference between great staff staying or leaving. One way to cultivate strong relationships and an inclusive culture is through team-building. Here’s the problem: sometimes team building activities like ropes courses or a scavenger hunt can feel stressful and competitive. Plus, your remote team may need a virtual option.
Enter the unexpected practice of floral design. Elise Bernhardt specializes in bringing teams together to deepen their connections and have some fun through the ancient art of floral design. Prior to this venture, Elise spent 30 years leading non-profit cultural organizations. She then studied floral design based on the Japanese art of Ikebana which considers floral design to be a spiritual practice. Elise joins me to explain how floral design workshops can be both relaxing and informative, training your staff in important communication skills they can use for the future.
THREE ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITY
There Is No Wrong Way To Do It
While formal floral design involves all sorts of design elements, in Elise’s floral design team building workshops, the sky's the limit. There’s only one rule: no two stems can be the same length. Other than that, it’s a relaxed, non judgemental space in which there is no right answer. The beauty of this activity is that everyone’s final products are different and all are celebrated.
People Learn About Each Other
The best team building workshops help us see each other in a new light. This is where flower design workshops shine. Elise frequently hears people in her workshops say things like “I never knew Sally had such a creative eye!” It’s a fabulous way of getting to know one another. Elise makes sure that each participant holds up their finished piece as everyone applauds, spreading positivity and appreciation across the group.
There Are Opportunities To Build Or Practice Collaboration Skills
Elise makes sure that everyone takes time to stop and look at each other’s work when finished. The group is asked to comment on what they see. Rather than share “constructive criticism” of what they like or don’t like, this is a time for observation. What colors do people notice? What is the placement like? What shapes do they see? Observational dialogue causes people to shift how they reflect and talk. This communication style can spill over positively into workplace conversations. It can promote a simple, less emotional way for colleagues to observe what’s happening and give each other feedback.
BRING FLORAL DESIGN TO YOUR TEAM
The Ultimate Remote-Friendly Activity
Floral design is perfect for both in-person and virtual teams. For one thing, you don’t need to be staring at the screen while you do it. Everyone can keep their cameras on (positioned to see their work of art) and just start arranging. You don’t even need to do it all at once, making it accessible to teams in different time zones. You can each create your arrangement separately and then come together to comment on and applaud one another.
How To Do It On Your Own
While hiring a floral design workshop facilitator like Elise is a fabulous option, it’s entirely possible to do it on your own. Have your team stop by their local grocery store to pick up some flowers and a vase, a mason jar, or another type of container if they don’t have one already. You can (collectively or apart) watch online tutorial videos if you need some inspiration. Then, just follow Elise’s one rule: no two stems can be the same length.
Once the group is finished, after about 20 minutes, come together so each person can present their creation. Whether it’s you or a fellow team member, one person should facilitate the group to foster conversation that follows the observation (not criticism) approach.
While I love adventurous team-building activities like rock climbing and trapeze (which I made my team do in the past!), I recognize that they’re not for everyone. Talking with Elise opened my eyes to all the possibilities for team building exercises available. At a time when teams are in need of relaxing ways to come together, floral design may be the perfect fit. Flowers have been shown to lower blood pressure, and the arrangement can spark joy for days after the event is over. So go ahead, engage your team through floral design. It is (basically) guaranteed to make your whole team feel good while bringing people closer and improving the quality of relationships among your staff.
KEEP UP WITH ELISE
Get one of three available discounted team-building flower design workshops for 5 or more people when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join. Purchase individual episode guides at themodernmanager.com/shop to help you implement the learnings and continue to enhance your rockstar manager skills.
This article was based on episode 195 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article:https://www.themodernmanager.com/miniguides.