Team building

Group dynamics in the booth: that wasn't your ego that got bruised!

Photo credits: Clic! (Benoît Cliquet)

For years we’ve been told to act commercially, that we are all micro-businesses and need to move with the times. And we all try, don’t we? Really hard.

A part of any manager’s toolbox (you see how the jargon simply slides onto the page) is a cohesive and well-drilled team. At one time AIIC central wanted to instil corporate skills into us through team-building exercises such as white water rafting on Lake Geneva, although the lack of any rapids did rather put a lid on the project. Still, it was a lovely day out and we all ate ice cream.

This all came back to me when watching the recent Olympics. I like the minority sports that you only see every four years, and took some quality time to watch volleyball, both inland and beach varieties. It struck me that every time a team scored a point all members slapped each other on the back, high fived or simply hugged and kissed. It set me wondering.

To build a robust team spirit we should perhaps start our day with a team hug, with lots of manly cuddles to get us into the zone (I have never quite figured where or what the zone is, but I know that’s where you have to be). We could get all touchy feely every time we get a word right. Not simply stuff like “good morning” that we can manage on a good day, but difficult concepts like “cluster leveraging”, “gender mainstreaming “and “dipstick avowal”.  Such accomplishments deserve a serious man-hug.

Of course we must grade the response. Anyone sounding fluent when wading through a flowery speech gets a quick finger flutter; those tackling harder stuff, say the difference between a camisole and a camshaft, get a full frontal hug. It’s the sort of encouragement we need because it combines hands-on motivation with peer approval.

Of course we have to be careful. You can readily imagine getting home black and blue because of your pithy and virtuoso renditions. Have you been in a fight, your significant other will warble. You will have to explain that you’re a victim of your own success, that every bruise bears witness to your pluck, every mark denotes your intercultural acuity. You will wallow in peer approval and embrocation.  Of course two days later you’ll come home with no bruises at all, and the light of your life will congratulate you on getting unscathed through the day. In a voice of iced steel you will announce that you prefer not to talk about it. 

Recommended citation format:
Philip H. D. SMITH. "Team building". December 17, 2012. Accessed June 3, 2020. <>.

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thanks, Phil. I can always rely on you to make me chuckle out loud. I seek you out on my "blue" days and it always works! Ta muchly, Micky

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