Personal Maps as a Team Building strategy
How Personal Maps kicked off the building of a well-connected and purposeful team.
Personal Maps is a Management 3.0 practice that is light, fun, and easy to perform. It can be used as an icebreaker and also as a bonding tool for the team to get to know each other. I decided to use it to improve communication and to increase engagement among the team.
- Book a conference room for at least 90 minutes. Total time depends upon the number of participants;
- Bring enough blank paper sheets for all participants;
- Bring pencils, crayons, markers, post-its and whatever else you find interesting for making the map;
- Prepare your Personal Map in advance, focusing on the themes you want the conversations to be developed around. I chose the following:
- Friends and Family;
- Hobbies and talents;
- Movies and music;
- Life goals.
- I started with a 20-minute session where I presented the tool and shared my Personal Map:
- I handed the material for them to draw their Personal Maps;
- I told them to start working on their maps to share it with everyone afterward, which prompted half of the participants to want to leave the room immediately. =D
- Some finished theirs quickly while others took longer, but everyone really tried to reflect on the themes in order to summarize them on their maps;
- Everyone had their maps ready in ten minutes so we started the presentations:
The presentations flowed naturally with a lot of joy and exchange of experiences.
We were surprised that the person who usually barely spoke at the meetings was the one who ended up sharing the most! She took 20 minutes to tell her life story.
Although the team is quite diverse with regard to age, origin/background, and professional profile, we found similarities between the team members in several aspects and this was the starting point for building a team, which is no longer just a group of people working together.
My initial plan was that each one would share for 5 minutes only, but the conversations flowed so well, with everyone interacting, questioning, taking an interest in the other that I let them take as long as needed without diverging from the focus of the map.
Because of that, we took one hour longer than planned so I will bear the timebox in mind for upcoming sessions! Even so, the dynamic was well received and mentioned as a positive point during the sprint retrospective.
Everyone must respect how much each one is willing to open up in the conversation, don’t put whoever is speaking in a therapy session!
In addition, as much as you want so badly to hang all personal maps on a wall, do it only if it’s a unanimous decision.
Find out more about Personal Maps at Management 3.0 website: