A popular new program is helping to ‘break the ice’ in Asia

Organisations today face unique challenges. Because of the great diversity within companies, and the new structures and functions of teams that support them, there is now the need to focus on the development of individuals within the context of teams.

Virtual, cross-cultural and 'silo-minded' teams require extra cohesion to function positively for corporate success. Stresses such as time pressures, geographical and cultural barriers, communication, and increasing organisational expectations are just some of the challenges that individuals and groups face on a daily basis. The greater the anticipated stress, the more group members need to develop strategies to ensure they are prepared to cope. By recognizing these stresses, groups can pull together through collaboration. If they don't recognize they are under stress, however, the same people can end up turning on each other.

Good teams don't just happen by chance – in fact over 50% of virtual teams fail – so the environment for open discovery and discussion of the pressures and how they will affect teams needs to be created.

Surviving 'On Thin ICE'

Tirian International, an organisational development company that focuses on 'synchronized team development', attributes to great success of one its most interactive programs to the fact that it directly addresses this need. Through this program, 'On Thin ICE™, participants are made aware of the importance of managing stress within a team specially a cross cultural and or virtual team. A simulated 'Antarctic expedition' creates the context for this. As part of the expedition, participants are invited to complete a mission to examine the effects of global warming on the continent and the rest of the world, while at the same time learning to combine the different strengths of the team through planning and communicating team strategies. This program can be run as an interactive exercise with simple props – or can be supported by a full Hollywood set up to create a special visual impact.

Dramatic change opportunities through integrated programs

Tirian's themed approach to team development has been very popular, engaging even the most skeptical participants. “We don't insult adults with childish games, or bore them with long lectures,” says Managing Director Andrew Grant. “Instead we create challenging simulations that combine fun and learning, allowing people to reflect on individual and group dynamics and practice positive behaviors in a safe environment.”

The comprehensive integrated approach Tirian takes provides a dramatic experience with much significant impact. By immersing groups in a given scenario and challenging them to make practical and ethical decisions, full participation and involvement is ensured, greater impact is achieved, and clearer outcomes and longer-term effects are identified.

Clients have been attracted to Tirian's new approaches to team development because they are both mentally and creatively challenging – interactive programs that take people a little out of their comfort zones but are still supportive of individuals and empowering to the individual and team.