This week I ran a workshop for a team in the ACT Government. The team has had a hectic year and wanted to take time out to reflect on their shared experience and look at how they could continue to build their team culture in 2021.
Taking a moment to stop and reflect is really important for any team. Time for reflection allows everyone to come together as a team to express thoughts, feelings and opinions about a shared experience. It is a great way to think about what happened this year, the good and the bad. Creating a safe space for people to be honest about their personal thoughts and hear that others have shared similar experiences helps to build openness and trust in a team.
This year taking time together is more important than ever. Many teams have lost the opportunity to talk and connect. The team this week talked about what it was really like working at home, what they struggled with and what they enjoyed. They talked about how they connected with each other and how they struggled to engage with other teams.
Reflection is also about taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate your shared achievements. We rarely do it, often moving on to the next big thing we need to deliver. Celebrating our achievements helps us to not only value our work and feel appreciated but importantly evaluate what we did so that we can learn for next time.
Can you even remember what you did in February? What were all of the little things that you managed to achieve this year despite all of the challenges we collectively faced?
Most of us have a hard time celebrating our success. We find it awkward to “toot our own horn.” Many of us associate “celebration” with our personal lives, weddings, birthdays, parties not with what we do at work. If we do celebrate at work, it’s normally for the big chunky projects. We’re less good at applauding the smaller daily wins that enable us to achieve – the engagement, governance, planning that goes into actually achieving the big stuff!
You don’t need to have a full-day workshop to reflect as a team. It can be an hour together in a meeting room, take two hours and sit in a park together. Keep it simple, what went well this year, what didn’t, what do we need to celebrate and how can we learn from this year to make next year even better.
It might feel like at the end of the year you don’t have time to do this – you just need to get to the end. But 2020 has been a tough year for many teams, not everyone has spent a lot of time together, and some people have found it really hard. Taking the time to share, reflect and celebrate will help you to come back together as a team. Take a breath and remember what it’s like to work together. Time to get ready for what 2021 will throw at you!