Are your teams working as effectively as they could be?
Are you looking to reinvigorate your culture?
There is plenty of evidence that shows that teams produce better results than individuals – but only when a team is functioning well! Everyone has experienced the frustration, aggravation and productivity loss of being in a team that is dysfunctional. If the team dynamic is starting to turn sour it is best to address it early before problems become entrenched.
This presentation is about improving the culture within a team, about setting up the ground rules for behavior and heading off problems before they become serious issues. It’s suitable for a team that’s just starting out, a team that is starting to show a few cracks or a team that wants to take their performance to the next level.
The ‘Trojan Horse’ approach
Often dealing with the issue of poor performance in a team, and relations with other team members, can be delicate. Sometimes the manager can find themselves too close to the personalities involved to intervene and having an external trainer in to address team behaviour can be pointed and confronting.
However, because I’m outside of your organisation, and have a wide range of teamwork anecdotes from the adventures to draw from, I can, if required, present the messages without making it obvious that that was the point of the session. By including in the wider story relevant teamwork incidents from my adventures and how they were resolved I smuggle in the message, and leave a legacy of anecdotes that can be referred to should the problems appear again.
My experience and what I bring
An expedition team shares the same dynamics as a team set up in the business place. In both cases people of different backgrounds and varying abilities take on a common goal with limited resources and tight timeframes. So the insights from one environment are directly applicable to the other.
I learned about teamwork the hard way. I spent nearly six months trying to find someone else who wanted to row across the ocean (it’s much harder than you think), and trained together for nearly a year only to have them withdraw just three weeks before we were due to fly out to the start. As a result I rowed with his last-minute replacement, Jamie Fitzgerald. We barely knew each other before setting off on our 5000 km journey.
The Atlantic rowing race and expeditions to the Pole have been absolute graveyards for teams. Relationship breakdowns are one of the main reasons why roughly a third of all attempts to row an ocean fail. It could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t. We developed some simple rules that helped us become a very effective team.
As hard as the Atlantic row is on teams, the Antarctic is even harder. Many high-profile expeditions have returned with the members barely speaking to each other. While down there I became convinced that Jamie’s habit of breaking things and losing vital equipment (like the stove lighter) would either kill us or end the expedition. There was a dramatic resolution to this and I share the insights.
The approach that I take
If the presentation is to team members I focus on the behaviours expected from team players and the right attitude and expectation to bring to the team. If it is to managers I focus more about how to set up a team for success.
I start by focusing on the five things an individual receives from a team. To be a good team player these are the things that you need contribute – it’s a lot more than just being good at your job. Then I go into what different personalities bring to teams, and why that diversity is crucial, how it can lead to problems and how these can be resolved.
This presentation helps create a team that is competent, collaborative and committed. With each participant able to answer the question ‘What can I do to help the team function its best?’
“We have had Kevin speak to our two operational teams over the last few months. Not only does Kevin tell an inspirational and funny story of his adventures over the last few years, he expertly weaves in very powerful safety messages that helped us strengthen points that we have been focusing on internally. He had the crowd engaged from the first minute and I have had nothing but positive feedback from the team. I would have no hesitations recommending Kevin to anyone.”
Jono Brent, Chief Executive Officer, Connetics
“Thank you, Kevin for a truly inspiring and motivating presentation. I was looking for an outstanding speaker to address a large group of our business leaders on teamwork, leadership and periods of significant change. In making my selection, I was guided by the excellent background and testimonials on your website and that was actually surpassed by your delivery. You made strong connections between your very entertaining account of your experiences and our desired leadership behaviours and examples. Your presentation was the highlight of our workshop and your standing ovation was testament to that.”
– Mary Bulog, Customer Service Manager, Inland Revenue.
Kevin Biggar takes pride in delivering tailored keynotes and workshops that are fast paced, entertaining and informative. Packed with practical skills and techniques to enable participants to make a significant impact in their performance.
Kevin has a B.Sc degree from Auckland University and a Masters in Environment and Development from the University of Cambridge, UK.
He worked for the NZ Treasury and the Boston Consulting Group before deciding to take part in the world’s toughest endurance event- the trans-Atlantic rowing race. Despite not having rowed before he won the race and set a new world record.
Together with his rowing partner Jamie Fitzgerald he went on to become the first NZ team to trek unsupported and unresupplied to the South Pole. He has authored three books and co-hosted the TVNZ adventure documentary series ‘First Crossings’ and ‘Intrepid NZ.’