In certain ways, the concept of a “team” in the workplace has evolved. For instance, instead of staying at the same job for decades, as seen in previous generations, today’s workforce has become used to switching companies many times throughout their career. This shift can leave some organizations with high-turnover rates that create unstable and unpredictable work environments.
That means teams, individuals, and organizations all need to be prepared for a constantly changing work environment. The challenge, then, is teaching staff how to adapt and respond to differing conditions while still ensuring the quality of work is kept at an extremely high level.
Tall Ships is a learning exercise that tasks teams to work together under pressure to build the tallest ship mast possible at the lowest cost. In Tall Ships, teams are assembled to represent imaginary boat-building companies that have been chosen by “The Seven Seas Company” to bid on a big contract for designing and building a tall ship. In order for a team to be awarded the winning bid, they must first demonstrate they can successfully embody the “Seven C’s” upon which The Seven Seas Company is founded: Clarity, Capability, Collaboration, Commitment, Communication, Continuous Improvement, and Creativity.
These “Seven C’s” aren’t just a fictional part of the game, however. Research has shown that effective team performance typically comes as a result of several interrelated factors working together to create the best conditions possible for success. High-performing teams typically differentiate themselves in seven key performance areas, which are known as the “Seven C’s of Effective Team Performance”:
The Seven C's:
- Clarity — A clear understanding of the team’s purpose, potential outcomes, roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
- Capability — The ability to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to complete tasks efficiently.
- Collaboration — A common understanding of how to work together and use the resources available to achieve team goals.
- Commitment — A passionate degree of commitment to the team’s mission, and to fellow teammates.
- Communication — The ability to practice positive communication practices, including active listening and giving and receiving feedback in a professional manner.
- Continuous Improvement — A dedication to improving work processes and team effectiveness.
- Creativity — Developing the conditions that encourage diverse thinking, new ideas, and innovative solutions.
It is through the integration and interdependence of each of the Seven C’s that the conditions for exceptional team performance are created. The real battle to be fought is by concentrating on perfecting the Seven C’s as teams navigate the ever-changing waters of their performance challenge.
There’s something to be learned in the building of a ship, as well. If you think of a ship as one whole of several interdependent parts, designed to maximize power, speed, stability and agility while producing dependable performance, you can understand how that idea correlates with effective team performance. And just like on a team, each separate part of a ship cannot accomplish extraordinary results on its own. The only way that is possible is when all the pieces work together as an integrated system.
The same is true for effective team performance. Individuals are an important piece of the equation, but only by working together can they accomplish truly incredible things. Throughout Tall Ships, teams not only learn the skills necessary to facilitate critical and effective team performance, they also learn by doing too.
Includes comprehensive Facilitator Guide and all materials.
Developed by HRDQ; for 3 teams of 5-7 participants.
Duration 2 hours