Generic stock imagery is everywhere. Think about how many friendly looking 20somethings wearing headsets convincing readers to “contact us today” you’ve seen on any given business website. Ordinary photos depicting businesspeople shaking hands as if to say “let’s make a deal” are so commonplace they rarely have the impact they once did.
As tired as these clichés are, parodying them became the focus of a recent team-building exercise I put together for my in-house design team. As full-time Director of Design at a local non-profit, the trend provided the perfect opportunity to build camaraderie and expand understanding among my diverse group of web and print staff. I used photostocking as a fun and interesting way to remind ourselves of the challenges we all face in working with multidisciplinary teams.
The exercise began with an introspective look at the pitfalls many teams face when working together and how to prevent them. Through a series of team building sessions and written exercises, I wanted our group to better understand one another and be open with one another about where we were as a team.
I chose the topics for this exercise carefully. They included, Rivalry, Connectivity, Creativity, Pandemic, and Myths. Although my team didn’t know it yet, all of the photos were variations of questions developed to explore how we interact with one another in the workplace. Questions included “What have you sacrificed for the greater good” and “How do you know if you’re doing a good job/How do you measure progress,” along with work attitude fill in the blanks and more. Many of the concepts are touched upon in John Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, which was handed out to the team upon completion of the exercise.
The three teams were selected randomly and given the task of finding images for the other teams that incorporated the five topics in some way. Then, each team chose two images to be reproduced. The training brought the team together in a fun and unique way. It was great to see people who hadn’t traditionally worked together select photos, coordinate photo shoots, art direct, and critique one another’s work in a safe, ego-free environment. The opportunity allowed us to focus on how to leverage our collective strengths while tightening up some of the deficiencies. On the managerial side, the exercises provided a solid foundation for professional development beyond a one or two day seminar.
For more information including the questionnaire worksheet and binder used for this exercise contact me. To see how close our team got, feel free to take a look at the originals here: