Art imitating life?

It’s not often you get the chance to experiment with charcoal and Playdoh in the normal working day. Unless of course you’re an artist.

But a Team Awayday should be fun and different and help people to see their colleagues in a different light. And if the aim is to enhance teamwork, communication and creativity, then using art as the vehicle seems perfect!

So for a recent team awayday I worked with local artist Susie Olczak to devise some art-based activities.

Working with charcoal, teams of 3 were asked to illustrate on a poster a proverb about teams, such as ‘A boat goes nowhere if everyone is rowing in a different direction.’ Interesting and revealing how each person interpreted the same proverb differently and a real challenge to agree and draw a common picture. In the next stage a rep from each group went to look at another group’s poster and then explained it to their group so they could copy it – an exercise in clear communication and open-minded listening.

Later, in a highly competitive and frenetic game based on Pictionary, one team member had to draw, mime or model from Playdoh a team value. Not easy when they are values like ‘Trust each other’ or ‘Be supportive’ but ideal for defining what these values actually look like. And this of course is the point!

Outdoor activities are well-established as a means to encourage the development of team skills. More recently the team cookery challenge has become a great indoor alternative. Using art proved to be a new and fun approach – I’d certainly do it again.