A great start? When Sibylle an me arrived at the Kaospilot School in Berne on Monday morning, we knew most of our students only from their applications; and we had no clue where we were headed other than that the place was called Damvant and Erika, the host, apparently a nice woman. By the end of the week I feel like my world has been enriched in a profound and beautiful way: firstly, I know now that Damvant is an awesomely nice place near the French border, secondly, I know that describing Erika as a nice woman is about the most flagrant understatement I came about in my life; and thirdly, I have had the privilege to share an intensive week of learning and growing with 12 new kaospilots (and I cannot wait to get to know the other three who couldn’t come for one reason or another).
Here are my main learnings from the week
1. Never ever underestimate what a group of 12 young(ish) people can achieve if they are motivated, eager, open and mindful towards each other.
If you want to see systems theory in action and proof-positive of the claim that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, give such a group a task in a limited timeframe. You’ll be amazed by the result: in all likelihood it is more impressive than you or anyone in the group expected. I just was seriously impressed by what Team SUI2 came up with in terms of the resources, experiences, skills, competencies and special features they bring to the table, how they dealt with their limitations, what dreams they are eager to bring alive in this world, and how they formed as a team around their presentation for the welcoming party Team SUI1 threw for them on Friday and around commitments and contracts they want to enter into in order to make teamwork work.
2. Never think that a living system such as a team can be effectively and mindfully enhanced by a development plan you made beforehand.
Sibylle and me were, almost from day one, continuously rethinking and rewriting the program of the week so as to make it fit the needs of this particular group. Not that we chucked our overall aims (allowing all team members to get to know each other on as many levels as possible; making sure that the added value of a team as a resource base and trampoline is understood; generate trust and mutual understanding to have a firm base to work from) over board: just in order to really reach them, we had to be prepared for redesign, reflection and re-action.
3. Never underestimate the power of preconceptions, the need for unlearning, the power of hormones (certainly below the age of 35, but I personally would hope way above that as well ;=).
If confronted with new stuff and experiences, all sorts of resistances and limitations show up, and prevent openness. But the group has really created such a sound basis of safety and trust that all of them found ways to confront limitations, dance with them, find new ways around, into and out of them – a great start. The fact that hormone rushes kicked in variously was just adding a layer of energy which helped push us as team leaders and as a group. So, okay, can’t all be true, and there must be a downside. No, there isn’t. This is real, enriching, life-giving and amazing. Cos if you are running, you are running, not standing still. And if Schaffhausen is paradise on Earth, it is the dream town come true (yes, there was lots of fun and plenty of insider-jokes, so you have to come and visit us and ask one of Team SUI2 to explain…).
Rolf, Co-Team Leader SUI2