During the many years working in business we found that it remains a continuous challenge for companies to have their employees collaborate more effectively. Yes, we all know the slogans like 1 + 1 equals 3, together we know more than one, etc. In practice however people often do not apply the basic skills necessary to work together successfully.
Companies invest on a regular basis in team events, team building activities, workshops and alike but most of the time these end up to be more social events such as a bowling evening or going go-karting. Sometimes it is a bit more adventurous like rafting, survival or rappelling. Such activities are of course fun for the more sporty among us but often a torture for those colleagues who are less sporty. What all these activities have in common is that the experience the participants gain is not so easily transferable to the work floor. After such events most employees quickly revert back to "business as usual". Based on this knowledge we developed the idea to have another approach to address this issue and see if we couldn’t come up with a new and creative solution to this challenge.
First of all we had to analyze the phenomenon “collaboration”. After reading a lot of the available material on this subject we came to what according to us were some basic skills one has to apply to really work together successfully. Now we had to make it clear and transparent in order to transfer this theoretical knowledge to others. Because of this we wanted to offer, in addition to the theory, some practical assignments using the "experience based learning methodology" during which we could let people practice these skills and let them experience the effect of using the skills.
So in addition to the theoretical part we also needed a good practical exercise. An exercise that appeals to people and that they remember; something they recognize and can achieve even though it brings them out of their comfort zone. Of course it also has to be safe, affordable and flexible to apply. Last but not least it has to be easy transferable to real work situations.
Eventually this led us to the idea to use oldtimers. After some further investigation we came to the Volvo 144 as the best suited oldtimer for what we had in mind. The Volvo 144 included as one the first many "modern" safety features. In addition to the body with its energy-absorbing zones front and rear disc brakes were used on all four wheels and it had some more innovative safety features for that time. In addition the 144 is a very spacious car with a reliable and at the time efficient engine of which more than 500.000 have been produced. Most spare parts you can still find relatively easy which also is important to keep the cars running. Never the less it remains a real oldtimer, on average more than 45 years old, no power steering or overdrive, only 4 forward gears (and one reverse) and limited power. In short, a perfect metaphor for “limited resources” which today for most organizations remains a daily reality. In addition the oldtimer concept is very mobile i.e. the old-timers can relatively easy be transported or collected to/from other locations.
We decided to acquire a number of Volvo’s 144 that we made fully roadworthy again. The Volvo 144 is perfectly suited for groups of 4 people who per car or together with other cars can complete an assignment.
All this together resulted in a perfect mix of theory and practice through experience based learning leading to an optimal return on investment as far as obtaining knowledge and skills of the participants versus the investment of time and money.
Teamskills is part of Aline & Partners bvba - Pontweg 70, 9890 Asper - Company registration number 0830.100.066