Collaboration in a team

Peace and quiet away from human problems

Collaboration in a team

future and goals, testing solutions, motivation and involvement


We carry out our collaboration in a team training in the following situations:

  • Distance and isolation. Collaboration between various organisational structures of the company involves tensions resulting from adopting different perspectives and different logics of action. Leaders of individual areas sometimes establish their own “duchies”: they seek to dominate others, limit access to information, defend interests of their department and expose the company to risk and loss. The purpose of our classes in such a situation is to build a common narrative of what is most important for the company, and mastering skills that enable to talk about goals, future and solutions.
  • Conflict. Sometimes tensions and misunderstandings arise within a single team that features hostile factions and subgroups. Communication is focused on talking about problems, their causes and commenting on unacceptable behaviours of colleagues. Grudges and accusations arise. In an extreme situation, leaders of individual “circles” strive to remove the people who they disagree with from the team. During the training, we help understand goals and needs of others: we improve listening skills and abilities to strive for results. We enable “safe” naming of behaviours that destroy collaboration and communication in a team.
  • New team. Serious changes in the composition of a team or creation of a new organisational structure activate a full cycle of the group process. The team usually goes through the following phases: 1. Orientation phase: What are the tasks that we have to perform? What will my role in this situation be? 2. Conflict phase: What do I care about? What will I not accept? Who and to what extent makes decisions important to me? 3. Collaboration phase: What resources and possibilities do we have? What are the ideas and solutions? What to do to take into account the needs and values most important for individual people? During the classes, we master skills that are of key importance to building motivation and commitment in such a situation.
  • Integration. Sometimes, the collaboration in a team training does not involve any tension or conflict. Having fun together and integration become the most important thing. In such situations, we become a circus. Common quirks that we manifest in the workplace become the object of jokes. We laugh at our narcissism, paranoia, obsessions and stupidity. The scope of this version of the specific competencies training is restricted according to your guidelines.

We are impressed by people who present the attitude: “I am OK and you are OK”. They can create teams in which energy is focused on achieving set goals and is not frittered away on fighting with others or defending their position. People who use the line “I’m better than others and I have to prove it” have a destructive impact on team functioning. During the training, we perform exercises that show patterns of various psychological games, and teach how to stop and interrupt them. Our goal is that after the training, its participants are able to function in teams to a greater extent with the assumption: “I’m different (not better/not worse) – without my colleagues, I will not achieve my goals”.

Selected issues:

  • Brief team history. Stories about the past and a common understanding of events that had a key impact on the formation of a team have a significant influence on the effectiveness of collaboration. In this part of the training, we help participants hear stories told by colleagues without immediately evaluating and commenting on them.
  • Past vs. Future. Excessive focus on past events most often makes it difficult to formulate goals and search for solutions. Using what we say, we want to determine who has and is right in such situations; our language is used to build abstract justifications and reasons; it ceases to be a tool for achieving goals. During the classes, we practise expressions and grammatical structures that restore the language to its original practical nature. The most important question becomes the question about common goals and common future.
  • Exceptions from problems. Stories told by the team are often dominated by negative events and experiences. In a situation of tension, misunderstanding and conflict, attention is focused on mistakes, failures and “the guilty ones”. Our goal in such a situation is to build a “complex history”, namely one in which we express and emphasise the experiences confirming the strength of the team, good collaboration, values and competencies of individual people. These so-called exceptions are the capital and foundation of the relevant team: they often determine its survival.
  • Formulation and testing of solutions. How to focus attention of others on what we are to achieve? How to make my colleagues able and willing to formulate ideas and talk to me about their observations? What to do to make them listen to me more carefully? How to ultimately dissuade someone from implementing an unwise idea in a constructive way? In our opinion, language habits are of great importance here: if our language is built around assessment, criticism and competition, collaboration will be difficult, sometimes impossible. During the classes, we suggest words and expressions that enable to focus on listening, understanding and building solutions together.
  • Feelings and emotions. What we “experience” collaborating with others is often a huge challenge to us and to others. Our uncontrollable anger, fears and sorrows take away energy and motivation to work from us and from our colleagues. From this perspective, experiencing joy and satisfaction has a decisive impact on the fate of the team and the company. How do we construe other people’s feelings and emotions? What do we do with them? How do we treat our own experiences? During the course, we devote a lot of attention to emotions; they play a role that is way more important than our “cool” thinking and calculations.

During the training, we use the following methods and tools:

Analysis of statements

The Whitefox Statement Coding System was created on the basis of an analysis of over 3,000 transcripts recorded during AC/DC sessions, exercises and simulations. It includes 152 language forms. Almost all of them affect the effectiveness of collaboration. The scope and content of practised phrases and grammar structures are adapted to the group we work with. Our experience shows that teams and companies speak in “different” languages: what is a habit and custom for one needs practising and training for other. In principle, Whitefox’s tasks and training materials enable to adapt the scope and content of classes to the needs and expectations of the group.

Analysis of facial expressions

During the training, we teach how to precisely identify 7 basic emotions (joy, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, contempt and disgust). The training deepens the understanding of emotional states of other people and enable faster and more accurate identification of their needs and values. For exercises, we use computer software that supports learning of facial movements characteristic for each emotion.

Psychological models of adult human development

The way we collaborate with others largely depends on our general logic of action. During the training, we present traditional development models for adults; help in understanding limitations of preferred attitudes and behaviours; present language forms and practices characteristic for 15% of the most effective and mentally resistant people. We discuss individual development stages and crises that separate them.

Behaviour training

The training is of a practical nature. The lecture part is restricted to the minimum. We do not use slides. Classes rely almost exclusively on performing exercises and simulations.

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