One of our biggest recent corporate drumming events was for the Charter Housing Association in Newport, Wales. This was a fantastic drumming session: it took place in an absolute wonder of a room - a big wide space, just perfect for a drum circle.
For this session, we were leading one of our 'challenge' team building sessions. This involves splitting the group into teams to create their own unique drumming piece, which is then incorporated into a final composition. The ideas that teams come up with are often very funny, out of the box and sometimes pure genius!
Take your time over it!
One group at this event really stood out. 25 team members who claimed that their piece was all 'done and dusted' way before the other teams had finished. They wanted to get back into the main room to show what they had achieved.
I advised that this might be disruptive for the other teams, and instead asked if I could hear them first. (Bearing in mind that this was in a rather thin corridor, it was quite a strange set-up!) But I counted them in and listened to their piece.
And in all honesty, it was dull. A nice rhythm, but too similar to what we had previously taught. After some persuasion, I convinced the team to go back to the drawing board and consider ideas to embellish their piece and give it some originality, such as some choreography, whoops, chants, etc.
What they came back with was stunning! It didn't resemble their previous idea in any way, but had a dynamic rhythm and dance element. The entire team looked tight and together. I'm so glad I stuck to my guns on this!
Knowing when to raise the bar...
So lesson learned - it pays off to raise the bar with some teams. If they have that confidence, then why not push them further? This team clearly worked well together, but by gelling so quickly they became complacent and failed to explore more creative options. They went for the quickest route, which in this case was not the best! Other teams may have less confidence and need some gentle encourage to play with self belief.
Taking part in a drumming workshop is hardly part of most people's typical workday, so it can be way out of many people's comfort zones. That's why I'm always so impressed by what people manage to achieve in their teams.
Watch for yourself!
If you’re interested in a corporate team building activity including African drumming, please get in touch!