I so often see organizations beginning their valuable time together without taking a moment to acknowledge each other and build connection. What a missed opportunity!
If you know me at all, this is one of my biggest pet peeves! How can leaders waste valuable time not recognizing individual members of their team? How can they not see that building relationships is one of the biggest factors for success? Why is it considered a waste of time to align the team before getting to work?
I cannot speak more strongly – every meeting should open with some sort of connecting activity!
Now I get share one of my simple and robust favorites: Rose, Bud Thorn. You might already know this one because it is an oldie and a goodie! Take it out, dust it off, and give it a try!
At the beginning of the meeting, have everyone take a minute and think about a Rose, a Bud, and a Thorn that is going on for them. A rose is something positive in their lives that is blooming, A bud is something budding that they are looking forward to in the near future, and a thorn is something that is “sticking” and not going so well right now.
Pro tip: Have participants write their answers down in advance of the share. Giving a minute to consider the answer gives people a chance to think which is nice for folks that need a minute to process. It also cuts down on rambling answers when it comes time to sharing (yes you, you verbal processors!).
If your group is small, have people share any of the answers they would like out loud to the group. With a larger group, or if you are tight for time, have people share just one – whichever they choose. If you are having your gathering on a video conferencing app like Zoom, you can utilize breakout rooms to make the sharing groups smaller.
There are lots of ways to have people share their information, the point is to have them share something. Sharing allows people to catch up and get to know what is going on in each other’s life, which is the best point of a good check-in.
One last note – The Rose, Bud, Thorn reflection framework can also be used as a debrief tool to solicit feedback and generate “positives”, “opportunities”, and “weaknesses” around any topic. Consider that!
Give this a try and let me know how it works! If you need more assistance implementing this or other great team building activities, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.