What a great saturday creating art on the sand with the dreamers of Imagine!
This event, originally called “Drawing for Peace” is an in depth exploration of team dynamics.
As usual the structure of the event is prepared to trigger a particular situation:
a) The instructions and the plan to make the big drawing were on purpose left a bit fuzzy and not very detailed. We always do this and the explanation is:
If the purpose of the project was just to make a large drawing then we would make a very precise grid, with equal measures of separation and reference points in sequence easy to use, easy to replicate, easy to trace.
That would mean that making the drawing would be much easier and faster. But the main purpose of the event is not that end goal; it is not to make the drawing
On purpose, we make the instructions complicated, imprecise and challenging so that we make the participants face the situation of having to deal with complexity, uncertainty and all of it in a race against time and pressure, just like real life itself! We want them to face the situation of finding it hard to go from imprecise instructions to a fuzzy large end goal;
Who will be the ones that will take proactive steps to try to find ways to get there?
The question is, what do you do when a large huge task is ahead of you and you know your team only has very few hours to complete it, and the instructions are not very detailed, and the way to get there is neither easy neither clear
What do you do then?
Because this will happen to us all many times during our lives. And then it won’t be about a drawing in the sand, it may be about things that can change our lives in dramatic ways.
b) Doing this project with a large group introduces a new and very interesting challenge. A large group introduces the possibility that some of the participants proactively take the initiative to lead small teams within the large team. Identifying some of the parts of the whole challenge and accelerating the process by coordinating subsets of the team within those parts.
Some of the dreamers proactively did that on saturday. Being an entrepreneur is all about being proactive and having the courage to lead at different levels within your challenges. Sometimes it’s about leading the whole thing, but many times it’s about leading parts within the whole and other times it’s about leading very small parts of the challenge. The importance of this is enormous as it sets an example and a chain-reaction effect for those around you. If you proactively lead and encourage or if you do the opposite, both behaviours cause an immediate influence and effect on those who share time and space with you.
c) So although the result in the end was liked and appreciated the result was never the objective here. The objective was to reflect on what everybody was doing during the process.
Was our mind on the weather, on the early morning, on the uncertainty of the instructions, on the “problems” of distributing the tasks, on the tiredness?
Or was our mind focused in helping the team, in dealing with the challenge in the most proactive and positive way possible for us to achieve the goal before the tide arrives (in our case it was a tide of dogs ) ?
Real life is way more complex than a drawing on the sand. The first behaviour may not only complicate your life but may also quickly spread to your partners. The second behaviour will accelerate your problem solving skills and make you grow both at a personal and professional level, as well as positively influence those working or collaborating with you.
d) This is at the core of entrepreneurship. If you feel that something can be improved, what do you do? Do you proactively try to contribute towards its improvement, or you simply sit and wait?
e) The other important aspect is that equal results can have different meanings and influence you in different ways. We may get a nice result, the giant drawing but how we get there is what actually influences our personal and shared feelings about the team, ourselves and life itself.
Victor, our professional videographer did a fantastic job capturing the emotions of the participants during the process. It was very interesting to see how some participants ( who maybe were more focused on results at the beginning ) had doubts, were not sure about the situation, their mind seemed to be mainly dominated by uncertainty and their morale was not very high, but once they started to see the result taking shape their morale improved a lot and they started to describe themselves as “happy”. Other participants instead from the very beginning simply focused on the task and process at hand and they didn’t seem to even have space or time to doubt or dwell on the uncertainty, they were fully focused on the problem and challenge and fully immersed on it.
These are two different ways of facing life that we see around us all the time.
The first one, where end results shape you.
The second one, in which it is the process that shapes you and the end result is secondary.
Of course we are exaggerating the point in order to reflect about its essence.
Most interesting is that on saturday i observed some participants start with the first attitude and later change to the second attitude showing that the experience itself was starting to produce a transformation in some of them.
It was all about team dynamics and about the belief in the large perspective that can emerge from the blending of our hard work on the little details.
I was also very inspired by many examples of participants putting aside their discomfort, problems, doubts, tiredness and egos to build on the positive energy necessary to reach the objective. A great learning experience for all of us.
And let’s all remember, the result itself was the least important thing. Either the sea (or the dogs in our case) were soon erasing it. But the effect that the experience was making on us was the key.
And the effect it makes on you, at that moment, when you finally see the large perspective, is very closely related to how proactive you were, how much you were engaged during the process, with the task, with the team, with the small challenges within the large challenge.
Depending on that, experiencing the end result changes you more or less.
Depending on that, you grow more or less during the experience.
Depending on what you did at the base of the pyramid (The process), the top of the pyramid (The end result) will mean A or B or Z to you and will or will not change you and transform you in different ways.