Dynamic teams: Learning from the kids

The other day, I had the joy of taking my eldest daughter to a theme park (Chessington World of Adventures). We had an amazing time, finished off with a visit to what I thought was a sort of soft play area.

It turns out it was way more awesome than that. It was a steam punk themed ball shooting arena called Temple of Mayhem.

The arena was 2 floors high, with walkways laid out in a horseshoe around the edges. Each of the walkways had a bank of guns, whilst the ground floor had 2 large cannons.

The guns and the cannons fired tennis ball sized foam balls (as many as you could get in them). Also dotted around were various mechanisms to get the foam balls from the ground floor up to the first and second levels.

The basic idea was to grab a gun and start shooting across the arena at other people.

That is what the parents did anyway! The kids had other ideas. They started to fall into distinct roles.

Some started to make sure that the balls in the arena were being fed up to the people manning the guns. Others made sure that gunners had the balls once they got there. A few also get the cannons fed, raining down balls on people trying to keep the enemy well stocked.  A few also manned the guns with the parents.

What amazed me was that none of them knew each other, but they all started to work as a team. What’s more, as the realised who was good at what – they changed roles as and when needed.  If a new person came in who was a great shot, a lesser gunner would drop out and start supplying them with balls.

The lesson for me was that teams need to stay dynamic. People are good at different things as situations change and a team structure needs to be able to adapt on the fly.

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