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Team Alignment Day – ‘To learn the power of story’

“Stories do more than document our experience. They allow us to imagine and create what is yet to come.” Dominic Colenso

HarrisonStevens took part in its annual team alignment day in January. Fuelled by the start of a new decade, this session was focused on ‘The Power of Story’, with an ambition to end the day with a refreshed appreciation of what HarrisonStevens stands for and where the practice is going.

Martin Stevens and Mike Harrison have recently updated the website with a new message on ‘Dream, Story, Impact’, which sets HarrisonStevens focus of intention. The ‘story’ aligns with our core values and gifts an opportunity to better understand HarrisonStevens as a practice.

Aristotle said that every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Inspired by fantastic projects, personal development plans and team motivation we set out to gain a better understanding of ‘What is the truth within the story I want to tell?’.

The Protasis – The exposition

Starting the day off at The Institute of Directors, with ACTIONcoach Daniela Grendene, HarrisonStevens discussed what ‘Team’ truly means. Broken down it can be better understood as ‘Together, Everyone, Achieves, More’, this acronym was used as a platform for aligning a mindset. The collected understanding of TEAM was:

  • Knowledge
  • Teamwork
  • Attitude
  • Commitment
  • Responsibilities
  • Balance
  • ‘Team-ship’
  • Destiny
  • Effort
  • Self-worth

Mike and Martin went on to disseminate information and updates regarding the last three months of 2019. This was a chance for the team to hear the results of an exceptional quarter. HarrisonStevens’ resilience, confidence, investment and security were the highlighted feedback from an incredibly productive 90 days.

Through 90 Day goals and financial planning, the Management Team at HarrisonStevens continues to set priorities and offer momentum to the hardworking and creative team. One of the morning ‘take-aways’ was to action adding goals and achievements to our personal diaries. In fact, we were encouraged to stop using the word goal and instead change it to ‘Have’ or ‘What are our ‘haves’ for 2020?’.

S.M.A.R.T objectives are only attainable when one understands the ‘Big Picture’. Daniela Grendene presented this powerfully with the use of Russian Dolls and the team discussed how we could set a compass towards intention and accomplishments.

Personal Improvement Plans, or PIPs, offer an understanding of what individuals are striving for and a map of intentions. Every member of the team from Director to Graduate are offered the chance to set personal plans for the year. These are supported by Line Managers who set focus and offer accountability.

HarrisonStevens’ top ‘take-aways’ from the morning session were:

  • Add 90 day plans to the diary
  • Communicate differently
  • Take systems to the next level
  • The important to see one’s own values in line with that of the company
  • Confidence, Contribution, Clarity
  • The need to finish what we have started
  • Link DISC profiles, goals and business priorities together

The Epitasis – Rising action and climax

During the afternoon of the team alignment day, we set off across Edinburgh towards the Scottish Storytelling Centre, on the Royal Mile. Along the way, the team undertook one of the ten challenges to photograph the whole team at several different Edinburgh landmarks.

Upon arrival at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, the team had a chance to muse upon the day so far and catch up while enjoying the fantastic space on offer at the centre. We were all curious about what activities we would be tasked with and a little apprehensive about the quest ahead.

The objectives of the storytelling session were to encourage the team to learn:

* Ability to understand the power of creating a narrative
* How to create a narrative within business
* How to engage with our client and consultants through a narrative and story

Guided by a professional storyteller the team were introduced to the key components of a story. Inspired by Scottish folk stories we were taken on an adventure. While taking practical steps we were pushed out of our comfort zones and encouraged to be imaginative in storytelling.

The challenge was to understand the power and tools of storytelling by expressing a story first to one member of the team, then two, then to the group. Then individually we had to draw a creative storyboard, re-tell parts of the story and present HarrisonStevens’ ‘story’.

What makes a great story well told?

  • Adventure
  • When the ordinary becomes extraordinary
  • Psychologically preparing
  • Transformation
  • Research and Development
  • Mystery
  • Imagination
  • Focused energy
  • Adapting

The whole team had a tremendous time and were encouraged to leave with several new skills under their belt. The ambition is that these new skills can be transferred into exceptional project work, how HarrisonStevens’ story is told and how we engage with you.

The Catastrophe – Resolution

What was our outcome for the day? ‘Cherish the story or the character and identify with it.’

The rain was hammering down by the time we were finishing up and the team were quick to scurry off to a pub to discuss the top ‘take-aways’ for the day. Ultimately the goal of introducing powerful storytelling techniques, embedding confidence and setting new ambitions were met.

  • Simple steps are the easiest way to reach long term goals
  • The importance of planning a beginning, middle and end
  • To tell a good story you need all the resources you can get
  • Think outside the box
  • Be more confident
  • Ask questions, be curious and inquisitive

Thank you to Daniela Grendene, ACTIONcoach and the Institute of Directors for hosting our morning session. Thanks also to the Scottish Storytelling Centre and Marion Kelly for an inspiring afternoon.

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