LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies based on J.K. Rowling’s books. I planned to read the 7-book series, but I got stuck in the second book because I got too freaked out! I know, five-year-olds, who have read the entire series, roll their eyes in response. It was Universal Studios that brought the books to life in Orlando’s theme park. People wander around with their interactive magic wands causing rain on passersby and flowers to bloom.
“With the debut of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last April, attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood skyrocketed by 986,000 to 8.1 million visitors…” ~L.A. Daily News
So, why was the guy sitting next to me hiding from his group? He was on a corporate team building event in what has become, according to Comcast, “a global phenomenon — capturing the imaginations of millions of people all around the world…” As he ate his melting ice cream, he said, “I hate this team stuff!” He didn’t need ice cream (though I do believe in its medicinal properties), he needed a magical leader to guide him through his concerns about:
- Vulnerability: Though we insist team building events are a safe place to share core feelings, new thoughts, and challenging experiences, some people don’t like altering traditional lines of communication or organizational structures. Plus, people typically choose professionalism over vulnerability around colleagues. Magical leaders always balance professionalism with vulnerability.
- Silliness: Though we insist there is a lot of value to team building events, it is hard to get past the initial awkwardness that comes with stepping out of a comfort zone. Plus, it takes patience to participate in an activity that initially seems silly, before it unwinds into a powerful event of substance. Magical leaders always balance playfulness with substance.
- Workload: Though we insist a team building day is a good use of time, some employees are overwhelmed with work and envision setbacks or another late night away from family. Plus, the current workload seems very urgent compared to long term personal growth or team development. Magical leaders always balance urgent tasks with long-term development.
This is what I think ice cream guy was really thinking, “I hate this team stuff because I fear being vulnerable, silly, and overworked!” I don’t blame him, but I wish I could wave a magic wand and help people like him experience the transformative vulnerability, playfulness, and development intended by well-run team building events. What else would make your next team-building event magical? If all else fails, at least serve ice cream!
* FUN FACTS: The Butterbeer Recipe has been served over 20 million times at Universal Studios. J.K. Rowling picked one of the five recipes she sampled, settling on the recipe which is now classified. Butterbeer is made, at Rowling’s request, with real sugar (rather than corn syrup) and is, or course, alcohol-free.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.