The Dunchurch Park Hotel near Rugby offers 150 rooms, a host of large conference and meeting rooms and ample grounds to run team building and training activities. 15 mins from M1, 10 mins from mainline trains.
Facilitation for us comes in two parts; the facilitation process and the facilitator. It is crucial to understand how these two go hand in hand, because getting it wrong can be a huge waste of your time and money.
So let's deal with the process first. Facilitation in it's most basic form is about drawing out, the solutions to challenges people face at work. It works on the premise that, most people probably already have solutions or ideas for improvement already. The difficulty is that there is never the time to focus on our development as a team and also we are guilty at times of just sticking to what already exists and what we know.
Facilitated team building is about helping individuals to challenge each other where it's needed and on things that can really make a difference. It is very easy when discussing the business, or a function, to get distracted and side tracked into other issues or too much detail. Often these side tracks waste time and cause a loss of focus on actions. The facilitation process ensures, the group remain focused on actionable improvement and objective discussion.
Having been in this industry for over 20 years, we have seen facilitators in all shapes and sizes. Many of these don't make it past our initial vetting stage. Why? Because they often fall into two categories; Ex trainers or People who read a book or went on a course and are now experts. The two key things missing for many of these people that we've met over the years are; the experience to say "I've been where you are and learned from success and failure" and the character to be challenging and demonstrate tough empathy with people in pursuit of pragmatic improvement.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our facilitors. They are not perfect and have experienced their own highs and lows of corporate life. But they are all, relentless in their pursuit of improvement, even when the journey is a tough one to take on. Above all, a facilitator must be able to manage a group's dynamics to ensure fair representation, clear focus and direction and a healthy balance between discussion and actionable output. We believe that is what sets us apart from many of our competitors.
Often when people are due to come on an event with us, the most common concern is the nature of the activities and being expected to climb heights or do strenuous physical activity.
Let us make it clear from the start, we are not into challenging your fear of spiders, heights, flying, the dark or sushi (that's a personal one!). We will therefore never ask you to do something that you adamantly feel uncomfortable about doing. It's a fact, people don't perform at their best when they are afraid or apprehensive. The vast majority of our facilitated team building activities are ground based or at most, no more than a foot off the ground. Our more physical and adventurous activities are only ever used with full consent and understanding from the client and delegates.
We won't ask you to do anything you are adamant you don't want to do. We're not here to test the limits of your fear of physical ability.
In simple terms this is the approach we follow. How much time we spend on each stage depends on how complex or simple your needs are and therefore the amount of input we have.
We firstly understand the rationale for the event and outcomes sought.
We then identify our activities and facilitation criteria that will draw out the right learning.
We then run your facilitated event leading to tangible work actions for improvement.
We follow up with you 6 weeks after to ensure the learning is being used.
To safeguard your team, you need to escape through the spider’s web. This game involves passing people through the spider's web without touching the strands of the web.
If you do touch the web, half of your team will be caught and returned to the spider's lair. From there they will have to attempt to re-escape! You get points for successful escapees and extra points if you can predict how many you'll achieve in the alotted time!
You are a team of genetic engineers who have discovered that your latest research project has been tampered with and completely muddled up.
Your team must work out how to sort out the mess and then set about moving things around back into their right locations. You must work quickly though as time is against you and the genes will soon perish.
Your team has been tasked with solving the riddle of an ancient curse that protects a fabled treasure inside a tomb. Unfortunately the tomb is unstable and you only have a short amount of time to complete the riddle or the treasure will be lost forever.
You only get one attempt at this and if you fail, the curse will be unleashed and you will all be doomed. Be careful as you attempt to enter the tomb, it is riddled with boobytraps and some of you may be prevented from entering!
A much loved, local structure, has been destroyed and your team have been called in to rebuild it. Word has it you are well organised, work well together and have good attention to detail.
Some of you will build the structure whilst others consult the plans and then direct the builders. Your client, the local Mayor, wants the structure built exactly as the original. Client brief clearly states "quality not just quanitity". Are you up to the job?
A number of objects have been left lying around after vandals broke in a wrecked your company's "special diseases" lab. These objects may be potentially dangerous and therefore you cannot touch them with your hands.
The objects must be returned to the cold storage chamber within 30mins or they could become airborn and infectious. Your team needs to find a way to lift each object and move it back into it's correct container. There is a containment zone placed around the storage chamber so as to maintain a safe distance perimeter.
You have been tasked with getting your team to move to new offices. The only thing is, they don't seem as keen on the idea as you and are giving some resistance.
They have to move for commercial reasons which due to the nature of, you can't disclose. How will you convince them to cross. What leadership qualities do you need to demonstrate in order to win round their belief in you? Or should you just order them to move!
Whilst exploring the jungle, your team discover a temple with a water fountain. Unfortunately, one of your team washed their face in the water and has now gone blind. You can see what looks a piece of parchment with writing on it marked "unsighted only may touch", trapped inside a recepticle in the middle of the fountain.
Your team needs to find a way to transport the blinded colleague to the receptical to retrieve the parchment. This may hold the key to restoring your team member's sight.
Your team has been asked by a manufacturing client to find ways to improve the speed of production for their new "Planks" shelving product. You have been provided with a freshly manufactured flatpack version and need to construct it.
Once you've constructed the planks, you must then identify improvements in efficiency before demonstrating this to your client. The key here is efficiency and cutting out wasted activity. This team also works brilliantly with multiple teams and is ideal for conference sessions.
Your team of criminals and low-lifes have been working on the chain gangs and have spotted an opportunity to make your escape across the countryside to freedom. The only trouble is, you need to get across the marshland and bogs that lay before you.
Being chained together at the ankles, you must work together to move safely and calculate your route using the stepping stones laid out across the marsh. There are also a number of obstacles for you to navigate. If you step into the marsh you will either be eaten by crocodiles or discovered by the guards. Tread carefully!
Your team is stuck on the wrong side of a lake and you need to get them all to the other side within 30 minutes or your transport home will leave without you! Fortunately your team have some mobile islands that float and can support human weight.
The downside is that you have one less island than the number of people in your team. You will need to use your ingenuity if you are all going to make it successfully across in the time allowed. This is an exercise ideally suited to multiple teams but also works well for single teams.
Silos aren't created by accident. They are a conscious choice by individuals who are frustrated by others or the function within which they work. The silo is formed as a result of not having an effective way of tackling the frustration and therefore using avoidance behaviour.
To reduce silo mentality, we need to learn the skills required to effectively identify when personal frustrations may lead us to do things in a way that breeds silo behaviour and how to tackle these in a team environment.
When a team needs to transform, it can be a tough challenge. The Hero's Journey is a practical and inspiring step by step concept to help teams move away from their ordinary world (now) to the new world (destination). The concept identifies typical challenges teams must overcome such as the "Nemisis", which work to prevent change.
Using the Hero's Journey can help teams prepare for and avoid pitfalls and arrive at their goal sooner and in better shape.
Some of the companies we're proud to have worked for.
I can't believe the transformation in myself in just three days. Even my kids have noticed the changes in me......for the better. Thank you for all you support and encouragement!
I've been on lots of these tree hugging courses before, but I can honestly say this was the best and by far, most useful course I've ever attended. Hope to see you again!
I was really apprehensive about attending the programme, but I can't believe it went so quick! I didn't want to leave it was that enjoyable. Hats off to Andy and the team, just brilliant!
The one to one coaching has done more for my career in six months than in the last 15yrs. I can't thank you enough. There is now a little Andy that lives in my head acting as my guide!
I've used countless training companies before, but none have come close to the level of rigor and effort you put into your programmes. I look forward to a great working friendship.
Our conferences are normally in swish hotels abroad where we are wined and dined. I would trade them everytime for another couple of days with you guys doing the activities in the woods. It was so much more useful!
I don't like change and I can be a stubborn git when I feel like it. Never has anyone told me to my face and done it in a way that totally made me want to change. Either you're a magician or an alien! Thanks again!
Thank you for a wonderful few days. It was great to meet new colleagues, break down those international silos and to learn a few things about myself too. Hope you'll do something in Germany soon!