72 Days till Christmas! My favourite time of the year

Last week I was helping my current client organise an away day for the ADM community. This was really important to me as it was the first time we had come together for a such thing. We finished off the event with some Axe throwing… which was epic!  I can really recommend it as a team building activity. Here are a few photos of the fun.

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I wanted to share with you a kick of exercise I completed. The history of this exercise dates from when I was working at AVIVA. It was one of those things I remember doing wondering what the hell was going on! It was not until many years later I realised the powerful value of this to teams. I have done this at many clients now and always get positive feedback and learn a little something along the way.

The exercise is called the Real Deal. It comprises of a deck of cards which each contains a word. You lay these cards out and ask each team member to pick 4 cards that represent things that are important to them at work. Card examples include things such as trust, autonomy, rewards etc.

You then ask them to each pick a deal breaker. This card represents the one thing that is most important to them and that if this thing is broken, then they effectively checkout.


Let me give you an example of mine:

  • Autonomy – I like the freedom to be able to innovate and get on with my work. I don’t need to be controlled or monitored. When I am no longer delivering value, I don’t hang out my contracts I leave. This is closely linked to my second choice.
  • Integrity – I have strong values in myself and my approach to work. I can only be myself.
  • Respect – For myself and others.
  • Learning – I like to continue to learn. If I am doing the same ole things over and over again, then I will lose interest.

My deal breaker has to be:

  • Fun – You spend so much time at work, when did have to be so serious?!? So I like fun, laughter, social events and spending real time with people getting to know them. This helps break down barriers, but can also help you make some friends for life.

As part of the exercise we discuss:

  • How will we know if your deal breaker has been breached? What will we see or hear?
  • What can we do to change this situation? What would you like to have happen?

I typically run this exercise with the whole group standing in a circle so we can give each other the full attention we deserve. At the end of each contribution I take the opportunity to thank them for sharing.

I find that this exercise helps to form teams by getting to know each other at a deeper level. Understanding each others core values will show how we are all in fact different and need to be treated and respected differently. Maybe someone needs more praise than others, maybe someone needs to feel more empowered than they currently are. The result being a more close knit and aware group of individuals.

So this is a really simple exercise that can support groups that need to work together for any goal.  You don’t need any fancy decks of cards, you could write these words on post it notes and achieve the same effects.

Surprisingly my values have changed very little over the last 7 years (since I first did this technique).  Fun has always been my deal breaker. Remember this the next time we meet

Why not give this a try and let me know your results.