A major reason capable people fail to advance is that they don't work well with their colleagues ~ Lee Iacocca

Truth in Teamwork:
Are You Being Herd?©

Team-building Skills
Leadership Identity
Group Dynamics and Equality

A small number of people with complimentary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
Most executives advocate teamwork. And they should. Teamwork represents a set of values that encourage listening and responding constructively to views expressed by others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, providing support, and recognizing the interests and achievements of others. Such values help teams perform, and they also promote individual performance as well as the performance of an entire organization. ~ Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith
The Discipline of Teams, Harvard Business Review

Encouraging people to be on the same page and act as a cohesive unit requires team work. Equine assisted learning exercises are designed to successfully scout out multiple possibilities for solutions to problem solving and to enhance creative exploration. This type of group interaction, while working with horses, establishes a non-judgmental view in the form of metaphors to reflect the current dynamics of your group and how its present state is affecting the work environment.

photo courtesy of Equine West ServicesThe advantage to enlisting the assistance of the horses rests on their innate ability to recognize and identify internal conflict and frustration instantly. Teams discover and can gain a new non-verbal understanding from their equine teachers to elevate their own perception and awareness. Like your customers, the horse is always right. If one approach is not working or the horse is not responding, we first examine the messages that are being sent. Teams are encouraged to assess the situation and identify what they think is causing the breakdown in communication between themselves and the horses. By examining what may have gone wrong team members begin to accept accountability for their actions and search out which skill sets are represented by various team members and how to utilize the best that they have to offer and achieve mutual success.

One of the exercises we use is called "Life's Little Obstacles", where the group is asked to get one of the horses over a small rail on the ground. On the first attempt no ground rules are given and generally this leads to a loud, somewhat chaotic tug of war as to who is in charge, unsuccessful efforts to force the situation, etc. and the horse usually ends up fleeing the confusion of this situation. After a brief discussion, we ask the group to try again only this time we lay down some ground rules, such as: no talking to each other, no bribing or bullying the horse to traverse the obstacle. True team work takes over. Egos subside. When the group becomes focused on the singular goal, and they begin to utilize the assets and skills of each member on the team the horse reacts to the focus and clear intention by easily following the group over the rail. An exercise like this one (and there are many others) helps the group to learn what they need to change in their approach in order to find a different result.

photo courtesy of Life-NavAt the conclusion of each exercise, we lead a group discussion to examine if the team used every resource and worked together as allies, and if not, what would they implement differently next time. Opportunities for rehearsal and continued skill-building are optimal within the equine assisted learning model. Building effective and productive teams is an on-going process and the most successful teams realize that resiliency and the ability to constantly adapt and remain open to change will have them winning every time. The horses will illustrate and teach these lessons in a swift yet concise pace where the learning continues long after your day in the paddock.

At Spring Reins of Hope we aim to provide companies and organizations with the keys to unlock the full potential of working teams, whether in the boardroom, the sales office, customer service center or the mailroom.

The Truth in Teamwork: Are You Being Herd? workshop will improve your team's abilities in several key areas:

    photo courtesy of Teaming for Success
  • Identifying your personal best, in terms of teambuilding skills, while bringing out the best in everyone participating
  • The idea that mutual respect leads to mutual trust
  • True self-confidence is a winning team effort and that the test of confidence is finding the courage to be open and genuine
  • Actively engaged employees are far more productive and that any disengagement will compromise team productivity
  • It is never safe to underestimate, discredit or ignore the power and ability of the "little guy"
  • Think creatively, while challenging habits, patterns and beliefs
  • Expose the barriers that stop people from effectively working together
  • Enable your employees to have better understanding of one another

Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success ~ Henry Ford

Resources on Professional Training and Development with Horses