How to team build in a racially-culturally-and-personality-conflicted team – HR Pulse

Published on 15 Jan 2013 in HR PulseFor more articles relevant to the HR Community

Brian V Moore

In 2002, we were called in to Eskom by Bruce Moody, a high-level HR officer at Eskom. He said: “We have some heavy cultural clashes in a technical service centre in the Northern Province [now Limpopo].

Do you think that you can you do something to change the situation?”

“I am sure we can.” I responded. “What are the challenges?”

Bruce pondered for a while and said: “There are some heavy racial attitudes from all sides. In fact, I don’t really know why I am asking you! What are you, a white man and your Indian wife, going to do to make a difference? This is a bunch of tough hardliners. They have a long history of conflict and nothing that we have done has worked.

“Let’s get this clear: These are heavy workplace disputes!” said Bruce. “There is continuous backstabbing and gossiping. They complain that everything is wrong and nobody is to blame! They are totally unmotivated and their productivity is very low, which is resulting in poor customer service.”

Arthie, my wife and business partner, asked: “What do you think is causing this?”

Bruce gave Arthie a knowing look: “Well obviously there is very low morale among them because of the constant bickering. There is racism, prejudice, laziness, no ownership, no accountability and poor communication – and I mean REALLY poor!” He took a deep breath, shook his head, and continued: “This is a hugely conservative area where old attitudes die very hard. It could be the worst case that you could ever take on.”

I felt confident we could take on the challenge

We were almost overpowered by his statements, but I had no doubts. If I could work in areas, as a peacemaker, where bullets were flying, we could duck a few words.

“We can do this. When do you want us to start?” We were given two weeks to prepare.

We hit the ground running

We had to find ways to build relationships swiftly with groups of people who we had never before encountered in an area of the country where we had NO experience. We spent the time studying the history of the area, and the cultures and languages of the people in the team.

Arthie and I then put together the Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict Resolution programme for diverse teams. This fun, exciting, inclusive and enjoyable programme included celebrating diversity, diversity management, team building and a sustainable long-term team-managed code of conduct.

And so we set off to the town where the centre was located

As we drew closer to the centre, we passed a huge flock of vultures feeding on the carcass of a wild animal. I silently prayed that it was not an ominous sign!

When we arrived, Jan – the depot supervisor – greeted us. He then took us aside and pleaded: “You must just motivate them. They need it.” I looked at his stressed face and saw a man in pain. He was ready to explode. Another senior member of the team said: “If you guys mention racism, just once, we WILL walk out.”

We had to change the mood from the outset. We spent that night in the training room transforming the venue into one of celebration: Balloons, happy colours, hand-drawn posters and a very unique seating arrangement…

The next morning we found separated groups sitting together. They were grouped by colour, language and level. All in their own comfort zones. All spiritually, emotionally and physically apart. Some were obviously angry and others totally disinterested.

Then we began to help them to celebrate their humanity

Three days and 21 working hours later, the same people were sitting side by side at a family barbecue. Children played with children. Wives chatted to each other while the men cooked meat, spoke about cars, sport and laughed as they shared jokes.

They had experienced each other in a fun environment, shared wisdom, seen value in each other, worked as teams, cleared all of their past interpersonal baggage, committed to a code of positive behaviours and removing their negative actions from their lives.

15 months after the first intervention, Jan sent this feedback

“I had a group of 30 people from diverse cultures. They could not get on with each other:

There was continuous friction between the different race groups, and between people from the same race and cultural group. The people were negative and not satisfied with anything.

Complaints were the order of the day. This also placed our depot in a bad light with management.

We decided on Brian and Arthie’s training. The people were very negative about the programme initially.

As the course progressed, peoples’ attitudes changed from negative to positive.

Communication, respect and ownership improved from all sides by 100%. The respect between different race groups has been restored.

Some of the people who were negative have changed so much that they have been promoted to higher positions with greater responsibility.

The foundation of the entire course was so successful that the group is now going ahead with a leadership course.”

Now that was the change that we had been looking for!

via How to team build in a racially-culturally-and-personality-conflicted team – HR Pulse.

Respect in the Workplace – by Arthie Moore

Another great article, from ARthie Moore

Respect! Period!

So it is now 6 years down the line and we have already impacted the lives of  over 6000 people from various companies. From Board Members, Directors, CEO’s, Heads of Department, right down to the humble Cleaners and drivers in various organisations. We have worked with people in the Mining industry, Banking, Government, Parastatals, Conglomerates, Small businesses, Churches, Schools and Corporate Companies.

The one thing that is always relevant, valued and needed is very simple – Respect.

Respect for one’s culture, religion, knowledge, experience, life’s experience, wisdom, upbringing, ancestry and individuality.

The one underlying cause of lack of respect within the workplace seems to always stem from thee most simplest challenge. The lack of communication and understanding that each person is different and wishes to be respected in their own way.

Lets take the following for example – very seldom do we take into account the various underlying human issues that affect people such as Personality Types and Learning Styles. We are all aware that culturally and religiously, we are all different. That is a given…. More

Respect in the Workplace: Respect! Period!.

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Team Conflict Resolution Options

The well-known Celebrating Humanity Team Conflict Resolution program has been designed to accommodate teams that are pressed for time and large organisations.
The Harvest program, with an initial 2.5 to 3 days session,  gives participants extra time to develop leadership, solutions to challenges and advanced communications skills.
The Mini Harvest program, with an initial 1.5 to 2 day session, is tightly adjusted to build the team in as short a time possible.
Both programs have the Values Circle Process to clear the past, get commitment and a peer-developed code of conduct – to guide the team into the future.
The follow-up processes and programs ensure long lasting and powerfully inclusive change.
Check out our website for more information. Or email Brian V Moore.
Request a Team Building, Diversity Training
or Team Conflict Resolution proposal
on http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
or email: brian@africa-dreams.com
or call +27 79 643 4457

Celebrating Humanity – Team Conflict Resolution©

Celebrating Humanity – Team Conflict Resolution©
24 May 2011 – Brian V Moore

Celebrating Humanity International has over 20 years experience in diversity training, team building and team conflict resolution.

“Put people together in a way that will have them bouncing ideas off each other, befriending each other, and taking care of each other, and suddenly they are coming to you, not with gripes and problems, but with solutions and great ideas.”
- Richard Branson, in his book, Business Stripped Bare

The focus of this enjoyable, inclusive, participative, non-threatening and effective team unity building© programme is to develop professionalism, trust, motivation, understanding, communication, relationships, unity, accountability and respect within your client’s team.

From challenges – to unified and professional teams

The programme is a combination of diversity management, team building, leadership development, relationship building, communication skills development – ending with a solid long-term team agreement which guides the team to work together into the future. After the intervention all team members start afresh – with a clean slate – clear of all past challenges.

This is not a talk, a negotiation – or a traditional team building – this fun and exciting programme is an interactive, transformational and sustainable experience with wonderful lessons learnt and skills developed!

The Celebrating Humanity Mini Harvest© programme has 3 separate stages, with support and follow-up, to ensure long term success.
Team Conflict Resolution Process


Stage 1 – Initial 2 day programme.

EYE Opener Day 1

Designed to Celebrate the Humanity within your team and develop skills in an Exhilarating Learning© environment and thereby:
Create an environment of respect in the team.
Develop an understanding of communication styles and personalities and how to communicate with respect and effectiveness.
Develop an understanding of team members.
Develop interpersonal communication and respect
Create an environment of communication, solution-finding and praise.
Develop understanding of attitudes and their effect on relationships
Bring the team closer together as colleagues.

Values Circle – Day 2
 
Develops understanding of how the team should and should not behave and puts the team in charge of its own actions and behaviours.
1.The team creates and commits to a formalised peer-managed Code of Conduct, thereafter all team members clear past interpersonal challenges and commit to the team, and to manage their own actions.
The code of conduct ensures that all team members are committed to work together in a respectful way and commits the team to very brief monthly meetings to:
a.Praise and Honour those who deserve it.
b.Develop understanding
c.Give guidance to values breakers
d.Offer support to those with challenges and send those who will not be guided by the team and who break the agreed rules, for the normal company discipline processes.

Monthly meetings and follow-up +- 1 month after the initial programme.

Sets up the team to maintain the programme, through 1 hour 6 weekly meetings. The first meeting, 2 – 4 hours, is facilitated by a CHI lead facilitator, on site.

The team will receive:-
1.A fully explanatory copy of the Code of Conduct.
2.A copy of their signed commitment to the team.
3.An agenda for the management of the ongoing monthly meetings.
4.Photographs on CD or DVD.
5.Free access to telephonic or e-mail support.

Exhilarating Learning Methodologies


Exhilarating Learning© is non-threatening, effective, fun, lasting and unifying.
Exhilarating Learning© activates all of the human learning senses through group & team-focussed processes and exercises.
Learning is ensured through Inclusivity and the use of Intellectual, Visual, Audio & Kinesthetic sensors.
Inclusivity and Teamwork is ensured through Team reliance on each individuals’ Unique Talents, Skills and  Knowledge.
Knowledge and Understanding is developed though the Inclusivity processes.
Teamwork is developed through Group Achievement and the need for Total Participation of all delegates.
Mutual Respect is ensured through the Competition Points System.
Communication Awareness and Skills are developed practically.
Open Minds and Total Participation are ensured through the unique environment and processes.
Long-term Understanding is developed through introspection and the questioning environment.
Tools include the use of various languages, story-telling, music, video & competition.

Testimonials

“On behalf of Team US, from the U.S. Consulate General in Durban, I write to extend our appreciation for and unparalleled experience in cultural sensitisation and team-building!
The 2 day session made our diverse team stronger and more supportive of one another.  This (team building) was by far the most meaningful and effective in fostering good communication, mutual respect and a strong spirit of co operation amongst our multi-cultural staff. “
Jill Derderian – United States Consul General – Durban

“There were times when attitudes were so hard and fast that I thought it would be an impossible task to create teams within groups of people that we were working with but Brian and Arthie with incredible insight and genuine humanity were able to find the chink in the armour and break down barriers that had been built and protected for decades.
From those tenuous and fragile beginnings, many teams soared to great heights achieving outstanding results. I am forever indebted to their excellent work.”
- Sue Hall & Associates

 
Celebrating Humanity International
Diversity Management, Team Building and Team Conflict Resolution Specialists

079 643 4457/ 072 439 4220/ brian@africa-dreams.com

http://www.africa-dreams.com
http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
http://transformdiverseteams.blogspot.com

Request a Team Building, Diversity Training
or Team Conflict Resolution proposal –
on http://www.celebrating-humanity-projects.com
or email: brian@africa-dreams.com
or call +27 79 643 4457

Protecting one’s Turf – McDonnel’s road

Conflict will often arise in the workplace, when we cross into team members “domains”, the special little side-empires that they have built. Their “departments”, or their offices. They live in fear that this space will be changed, by those around them.

They live in a small space, and suffer their pains alone. They believe that no-one else has felt their pain. And they feel the need t0 fight to protect their turf and keep their pain, as a reason to live.

I was on one of the Isles of Aran, off the West Coast of Ireland, yesterday – with my beautiful wife, Arthie.

We were taken on a tour of the island by a man, on his horse and carriage… His name was McDonnel and a very talkative man was he. He explained at length about his 100 year old carriage, where it came from, how it was made and how it was built with special wood. “Steamed it to bend it, they must have.” he said – a number of times.

As we went along the beautiful, rock-walled roads, he began to discuss every aspect of the road, and how “they” could make it better.

As each vehicle, bicycle and person entered into his 5 mile “domain”, he complained. They should not be on his road, they should move over…etc.

When a mini-bus needed to pass, he told us, “They shouldn’t be here. It’s not right. They are too big for the road.” He almost shouted under his wind-burnt lips.

As he went he commisserated with Jimmie, his beautiful horse. And if Jimmie could talk, he would complain about the stopping, too. His head bounced high, after each stop – he too was on Jimmie’s (McDonnels’s) road.

Now I understood McDonnel, I could see how this was his whole world was wrapped into those short and beautiful 5 miles of road. I could understand why he repeated himself to me – because surely, I would never understand – I was not from McDonnel’s road, or the Isles of Aran. McDonnel earns about 50 Euro per day (+-R600), for the one trip that he and Jimmie will make.

Poor McDonnel. Alone, in his perception, saddened by his circumstance, because all of his life was based in his little road. Alone by choice, and looking for somewhere or somebody to blame.

This is one of the many challenges that we face in the workplace and can be likened to departmentalism.

Enjoy,

Brian

Teambuilding in South Africa

There are many fun and excellent teambuilding programmes for teams that already work well together.

However when challenges arise, such as the following , then it is time to go for transformational teambuilding:-