Recently, I received the email below from a leader and I thought sharing this along with my response would be useful for others trying to merge two teams and blend two pre-existing groups to form one team. Or one “we.”

Hi Chad,

 

Reaching out because I purchased the We! Connect Cards and plan to use them at an event tomorrow.  I’m the manager of a Civil Engineering Department where we have about 25 employees in the East Region and 15 in the West Region.  We are getting together tomorrow for the 1st time.  Many of the employees are very close to each other in their respective regions; however many have never met each other from the different regions.  As engineers, its sometimes hard to get them to open up and want to make new connections/relationships, but I think that is imperative as I try to “blend” the two regions into one department.

 

I thought your cards would be very helpful getting conversations started.  Any pro tips to make the event tomorrow successful?

4 Tips to Help Connect This Team—and your team using We! Connect Cards

Hi ________, thanks for reaching out!
For digestion ease, I’ve bulleted out a couple thoughts below. And, you can actually watch me utilize several of these tips with several leaders via the video on the very bottom right of this page in case you tend to be a visual/experiential learner:


1) Introduce people to the concept of “challenge by choice” …

…whereby THEY are the ones that get to choose how we respond to any given question. We all have multiple truths, so if a question cues something really intense, you get to choose how to respond. (I can share lots more about this if it’d be useful.)


2) Acknowledge the introverts and extroverts in the room

Call out the elephant in the room that some people tend to be extroverted and this will be easy. And for others, this will require energy output to engage. The good news is though, that these questions are designed specifically to create conversations that go beyond “small talk” which is REALLY the type of connection that drains introverts.


3) Invite people to “pair up with the people they know least in the room”

When you invite people to pair up with each other for a question swap, one simple phrase can help the groups merge/pair up with people they don’t know yet. It is: “as we are swapping, aim to pair up with the people you know least in the room.” This helps people notice and tune into new connections rather than cling to their comfortable ones.


4) Afterwards, ask the group, “what struck you about that experience?”

Lastly, debrief as a large group! This is so valuable to have people share their experience. My favorite question that is nearly all encompassing is: “What struck you about that experience?” And get responses from at least 5-10 people out of your group of 25. 

Based on these ideas, I’d love to know if you have any more questions. Remember, there are also a dozen unique exercises on the resource page for We! Connect Cards as well! For engineers, the “Me to We” exercise may come in handy as well. It’s also a process that can be useful to kick off a team meeting with some intentional “connection before content.” 

With gratitude,

Chad Littlefield

Co-founder & Chief Experience Officer at We and Me, Inc.

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