Are you involved with teams? Want to be able to shape team dynamics toward more productive outcomes?

Come dive below the surface of personalities and words to discover the perspectives and preferences that shape them.

We’ll learn together and from each other through facilitated hands-on experiences.

You will be able to apply what you learn immediately and directly to improving the quality of interactions.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Introduction (~5 mins)

Objective: introduce the idea that there are unseen systemic dynamics at play. Our intent is introduction through experience, rather than building deep expertise in the models.. People who want to learn the models will need to do so in follow up work (or attend our team building workshop!).

Build Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model (~15 mins)

Build a room-sized map of Kolb. One facilitator invites participants to consider that we prefer ways we tend to react to new situations. On one hand, some of us like to think through things; others like to feel their way, or use their intuitive sense. The other facilitator will tape pieces of paper on two opposing walls labeled "Think" and "Feel." The group is invited to find the place between these two concepts that feels right to them.

The first facilitator then works on the axis at 90 degrees to the first, suggesting that when encountering a new situation, some people prefer to learn about it by watching or observing, and others like to actively experiment by jumping in and trying things. As these concepts are introduced the other facilitator tapes these labels onto the other opposing two walls "Experiment/Do" and "Observe/Watch." As before the group is invited to find a place that feels right to them in relation to the two new concepts.

At this point the participants have divided themselves into four subgroups; each of these maps onto one of the Kolb learning preferences. Individuals who are not clearly in one of the groups are invited to join the one that they feel the most affinity for. Each corner of the room has a flipchart with the learning style written, covered by an additional sheet of paper. Each group will reveal the style name.

The facilitators will present both a brief overview of the Learning Cycle and version 3 of Kolb's Experiential Learning Model. The conversation is then turned over to the sub-groups. Those larger than 8-10 people are invited to break into smaller groups again to maximize participation and learning. Each sub-group will be asked to come up with the following lists:

- how might this particular approach help a group?

- how might this particular approach hinder a group?

- what might happen if this approach is absent?

- what might happen if this approach is overrepresented or the group gets stuck here?

We'll hear from each group, inviting the rest of the room to contribute as they see fit.

Plan a Party! (~20 mins)

Once in their learning style groups, invite each group to “plan a party.” The party plan itself is a red herring; we are seeking to gain instances observable behavior. Give 3-7 minutes to do this. Each group is invited to share examples of their conversation to illustrate how the different approaches to the same situation elicit different responses. These responses are in many cases conflicting, which highlights one of the most powerful insights of the entire activity: individuals do not get into conflict with each other; their preferences do!!!

Build Kantor’s Four Player Model (~30 mins)

Introduce the Kantor four-player model’s action modes, ask each sub-group to create a 2x2 matrix on the floor and apply the four action modes from the model: Move, Oppose, Follow, Bystand. Facilitators will give a brief explanation of these, then invite the groups to self-organize into the action modes they identify with most of the time. Invite each group to scribe examples they observed in their "plan a party" of moves, opposes, bystands, and follows. Invite each subgroup to make note of important insights.

The facilitators will bring focus back to the entire room and invite contributions about what's striking them. Specifically we will want to hear from those other than movers!

Debrief and Close (~5 mins)

Debrief as subgroups: what insights did you find? What sticks out for you? How might this be helpful in your work? Most times it is revealed that these action modes are roles and not identities. We can use choose to flex into other action modes besides just our default preference one!

Learning Outcome

  • Ideas for productively harnessing the inevitable conflict of teams
  • Understanding how our preferred approaches to situations drives our, and others', behavior
  • Strategies for working with preferences other than our own
  • Learn how to effectively and smoothly moving a group decision through all necessary stages to reach consensus
  • Working introduction to two robust and validated models of human behavior: Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model and Kantor’s Four Player Model
  • How to be a more effective team member and leader

Target Audience

Anyone who works with other human beings and would like to have that work be more effective.

Prerequisites for Attendees

None! The session provides insight for all levels of practitioner from those just starting out to experienced senior-level professionals.


schedule Submitted 2 years ago