Team Relationships Retro

Is there disagreement in your team, are there groups and teams within the team, are your team’s relationships inhibiting the teams ability to deliver? Then this may be an interesting exercise to work through with your team

This exercise will could help your team explore their relationships both within and outside of the team. The exercise draws it’s inspiration from Art Therapy, I have adapted it from the book Creative Supervision by Mooli Lahad to work well with teams but this is really effective exercise to use when 1-2-1 coaching.

Prep: In person make sure to take along paper and different colour pens and pencils it can also be useful to take along clipboards, online set up a grid on a virtual whiteboard which one square for each person

In Person

Give everyone a sheet of paper and pop the pens in the middle of the room

Ask everyone to draw a relationship map of the team, starting with themselves first. Think about what colour and what shape they are, what position in the team do they occupy.

It’s ok to use any shape you can think of, it can be a square, it can be wiggly lines, whatever they feel represents them or a member of the team the person. Encourage the team to be as creative as they would like. Reinforce that it does not matter about the quality of the image, and not to worry about it.

It is useful to create your own map, not of the team but of a fake team or some relationships you have not connected to work to show the team what you expect them to produce. You can then talk them through your logic. My example map is below:

Relationship Map Example

Have spare paper as people sometimes need to iterate and may after drawing a couple of shapes or lines need to start again.

When everyone has created a map, have them talk through them one by one allowing each person to explain where they have placed people, the logic behind the colour, the shape.

After each person has had a chance to talk through their map, invite the team to collaboratively create how they would like a team map to look. What changes do they need to make? Take actions to improve. Standard retro stuff

Remote

Use a virtual whiteboard like Mural, Miro or Jamboard, create a space for each person in the team

As above it is also useful to create your own map, not of the team but of a fake team or some relationships you have not connected to work to show the team what you expect them to produce. You can then talk them through your logic.

Ask everyone to draw a relationship map of the team, starting with themselves first. Think about what colour and what shape they are, what position in the team do they occupy.

Encourage the team to be as creative as possible, use icons, pictures, memes, lines.

As above descriptions, get the team to talk through their maps and discuss their reflections taking actions and creating a new team map if this would be beneficial to helping the team find a way forward.

Other uses

What about using this to explore the teams relationships with other teams? You could use this technique to map stakeholders, how close are they to the team? Does one block another? Who is not on the map who really should be?

If team members lack artistic confidence you could start the session with a squiggle birds introduction.

As above this is a very useful technique for 1-2-1 coaching and one I am using more and more with clients to explore their relationships even where the coachee is getting validation from.

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