:: Corporate Team Building & Sailing


The Making Of A Team

Case Study: Australia Post

Too many cooks strengthen the broth.

Australia Post's, Business Process Analysis (BPA) Team, recently conducted a Team Build that not only helped people in the team get to know each other but gave them a different perspective on their roles - all while 'slaving' over a hot stove at 7 o'clock in the morning!

The team members knew that a Team Build was scheduled for the day but only the manager knew what the day would actually involve and with an Agenda asking them to meet at work at 7am. Team members had convinced themselves that they would be going sailing for the day.

"When I told them that we were going to be holding our Team Build in a commercial kitchen, they were obviously disappointed. It was obvious in their faces that this is not what they had in mind," she says.

The Team Leader wanted to put her team in a situation where they didn't know what they were doing - and booking them into a cooking class seemed like the perfect solution. She, says, I thought - what a perfect way to take people out of their comfort zone, with the

bonus of enjoying the end product at the end of the day."

There they were greeted by the course coordinator, Tony Legg of SEA LEGGS Corporate Team Building, who proceeded to give them an OH&S induction and later introduced them to their teacher, Chef Aaron. Tony presented the group with a whiteboard and asked them to plan what they were going to do.

The Team Leader explains: "We are dealing with a team of project managers, so I don't think the chef was expecting the intensity with which the team set to plan the work."

The team broke each recipe down into preparation, cooking and resting times, and then followed by breaking each down further into individual tasks. They then proceeded to work out what time they wanted to eat by, and worked backwards from there to allocate the time needed. They add, "we received some amused glances from people who walked past our

door. At the end of almost one and a half hours of planning, the

whiteboard featured a GANTT chart with interdependencies and milestones."

At one stage, the team decided that the planning phase was very important, but that if they didn't get started soon they wouldn't be able to meet their deadlines.

So they got to work making the pasta dough needed for the tortellini and Andrew took on the role of project

manager for the day, ensuring that the team kept on track.

And it happened that as they gained new cooking skills they learnt some valuable individual and group lessons.

"At one stage the project manager had to leave the room to use an ice-cream making machine. When he returned he shared with us his feeling of frustration at not being in the room to check on our progress. We learnt here that 'we need to trust the person or persons to whom delegate a task"

Another lesson came during the day, when a team member put the prepared dough aside to rest and started assisting others with their task. Suddenly the filling for the tortellini was ready but the pasta was still to be put through the pasta maker. They explain : I forgot about it. Working in assisting others, and with the dough out of sight, it slipped my mind, but another team member jumped in to help. Although we ate a little later than planned the quality of the food was fantastic."

But the lessons weren't over she adds: "Once the group was walking back to SSD, following lunch, we realised that we had forgotten some potatoes in the oven. We had so much food that

we didn't miss them, but we learnt that 'things out of sight get forgotten."


The team followed the morning out with a debrief, where they noted down their:


Top 4 Key Learning's


1. Quality control: enforcing milestones, things out of sight get forgotten, accountability, policing.

2. Complementing egos, goal congruence: people to be happy

to ask for advice, backing each other up.

3. Importance of planning and time Management.

4. Conflicting experts: even experts had different opinions on how to tackle the jobs.


The change of energy following the task was amazing, "one hundred and eighty degrees from when we set out in the morning."

The team has since then decided to go out for lunch at least once a month and she adds, "even though they each still manage their own projects I've seen how they now put up their hands up to back each other up.

In some projects I'm even asking all of them for their input,

and we adopted brainstorming sessions. The team element

is definitely improving.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 The infamous Gantt Chart

Teams interested in organising a Team Build can seek advice from:

Tony Legg

SEA Leggs Corporate Team Building

Tel: 0425752745



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