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Facilitating Team Development Workshops

About GSIF

The Global Interagency Security Forum (GISF) is a member-led NGO forum that drives change through our global network of over 130 member organisations. We influence good security risk management practice that works for the whole humanitarian sector, improving the security of aid workers and operations for sustainable access.

The Requirement

GISF had grown in staff size and had established a US-based team, and the time was right to request a series of Collaborative Teamwork Workshops. We approached consultant Annekatrin Madlung of Global Recourse who, with support from Ann Start of Start Development, identified different ways of working that would be appropriate and effective for the new team dynamics and would support us to adopt new processes.

Discovering the Needs of the Organisation

Annekatrin used an Appreciative Inquiry Model in the design methodology.

To identify the learning objectives for the workshops, Annekatrin and Ann gathered evidence surrounding the collaboration issues we faced in trying to achieve its objectives. They identified skills, knowledge and systems that our organisation needs to deliver these objectives.

As well as a desk review of documents and previous surveys, the Annekatrin and Ann carried out semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders on how existing work practices, processes and organisational structures affected collaboration and decision making. Attention was paid to what ratio of time is spent on work that is Business As Usual (BAU) work versus Strategic Work.

The Solution

The support package implementation was underpinned with the four Imperatives at the Heart of Agile. In order for the organisation to achieve this, Annekatrin developed three virtual workshops using a range of interactive tools and exercises, which were delivered in 2021.

A Series of “Collaborative Teamwork” Workshops

We engaged with the following workshops covering:

  • An introduction to the Heart of Agile, its four imperatives (Improve, Reflect, Collaborate and Deliver) and how they apply to GISF.
  • How to Improve using a solutions-focused therapy approach to address organisational challenges and make iterative improvements in small steps
  • How to Reflect together in a session to make time to Pause, Check Data and Emotions
    • Reflection, especially, was introduced as a key tool to support the adoption and embedding of new ways of working and new skills
  • How to Collaborate by identifying what speeds up (and slows down) the exchange of ideas. Including discussions around time, distance and culture
    • by considering team sizes and structures as well as what our meetings need to achieve, we examined how we can improve collaboration
    • by considering tools we saw how we can improve communication, workflow and an understanding of project timelines
  • How to Deliver by identifying the complex decision-making pathways in GISF and considering more effective team structures and developing a better understanding of our work relationships
  • Additionally, we looked at some lessons to be learnt from “Design Thinking”

Challenges to Overcome

The workshops were held remotely due to COVID 19 restrictions and geographical location of the team (US and UK), with effective use of time and technology. Sufficient time was given between workshops to adopt and practice new ways of working explored in the workshops. Breakout rooms, shared document platforms and varied media were used to good effect to bring the workshops to life. Fun ice-breakers and warm-up exercises had an underlying purpose and were all linked to the content of the workshops. They gave us energy and supported our learning.

Annekatrin and Ann maintained confidentiality and trust as consultants and ensured a safe space for staff to share openly.

Results and Impact

We can identify at least three positive outcomes from this investment:

  1. Streamlining of meeting structure
  2. Introducing a collaboration platform (Monday)
  3. Building reflection into regular team meetings
Lisa Reilly
Executive Director
Global Interagency Security Forum
2021

And a year later:

In the year since we worked together on team collaboration, the team has grown. I have committed to presenting the headlines of the work we did last year, as a refresher for those that participated, and as an introduction for new staff.

A year on it seems like a good time for a refresh on what we agreed to do, what we are still doing, and what we still need to work on!

It was a very useful exercise.

Heather Hughes
Deputy Director
Global Interagency Security Forum
2022

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