A little while ago I was asked to run a workshop on “Team Development” for some students at Vilnius University so I recently flew out there and ran the said workshop on Saturday 8 March 2014 (my business colleague should have been co-tutoring but went down with the “lurgy” the day before we were to fly out and was unable to make the trip).
A group of 20 psychology students turned up (impressive for a Saturday morning) for the half-day session.As it was International Women’s Day on the 8 March I told the young women in the group that today they would become aeronautical engineers, designers and artists to participate in the group activity I had planned for them. It is worth saying that there were four male students in the group who demonstrated solidarity with the “sisters.”
The first half of the morning was spent looking at what a team was (and wasn’t) and the second half was the team activity.
I split them into three groups and asked them to work as teams designing and building 10 paper aeroplanes, which had to be exactly the same in design, as well as containing a company logo. They were allowed to “test fly” them on the runway I had laid out in a corridor at the university.
Each team was then allocated 5 minutes to fly all 10 of their aeroplanes and try to score as many points as possible. Competition was fierce and one group did very badly so I asked why they thought this was, back came the reply “it is because we let the two male students in our team design the aeroplane”
After the first set of test flights each team had a further 10 minutes to build a further 10 aeroplanes (all had to be exactly the same again in design) and then prepare for the official second round of flights.
One team had developed a ‘production line” for producing their aeroplanes which was very impressive and showed good team working, another team had a more informal (possibly haphazard) approach to design and construction.
It is quite remarkable how competitive the students got and the excitement generated when making the test flights. The final result for the two sets of test flights was very close between two of the teams but more importantly was what they learned from working as teams, clarity of vision, clear goals, effective communication, maximisation of talents within the team.
It was a tremendously enjoyable morning for me as tutor and I would like to thank all the students who participated and Dr. Dalia Bagdžiūnienė who arranged and organized the workshop.