T-Thoughts: Team Building & Leadership Development Articles

Article Titles

Article Description

Many organisations are now facing a dilemma: What to do with the open office now that the COVID19 pandemic has challenged the very notion of a communal office? Contemporary open-plan designs had become the norm before the pandemic hit. Now the need for social distancing has meant we can feel threatened by the openness that was once so desirable. So is there a new ideal office design?

Virtual working is not just about moving the office online. This is why, and  how you can improve the ways you work virtually. The shift to virtual working has been a disaster for some. If not managed effectively working virtually can challenge communication and stretch relationships. There are stories now circulating of unmotivated, disengaged and isolated teams.

The COVID-19 pandemic can best be described as a ‘wicked problem’. This devastating challenge has left many organisations in a state of turmoil as they seek to find ways to rapidly reorganise and stay functional.

COVID-19 is especially challenging as we have no clear model for how to deal with it. It is both complex and chaotic, unpredictable and unprecedented. Yet somehow organisations will have to learn to how to manage the associated challenges in order to survive.

Why Do Team Building When you can just take your team out for lunch?! Why team building can backfire, and how to ensure it is a worthwhile investment - using intelligent team building and not just childish activities Written by Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant of Tirian More than a trip to space,[...]

More than a trip to space, Tirian's “The Sky is Not the Limit” uses research from NASA & game theory to show the value of real collaboration across mutually dependant players. As appeared in Mix Magazine, an Asia's creative media on meetings & events for corporations, an in[...]

What does empathy have to do with innovation? By Gaia Grant and Andrew Grant Originally published in a similar format as an article online by Human Resources Media with the title ‘What does empathy have to do with innovation?’. The surprising human-cented connection that counts Who w[...]

by Gaia Grant and Andrew Andrew Originally published in a similar format as an article online by Mix Magazine with the title 'Teambuilding: what you need to know'. Gaia and Andrew Grant argue the case for research-driven ‘intelligent teambuilding’ and maximising each session How can[...]

by Robin Speculand One of the late Peter Drucker's most famous quotes is “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” This is no longer always true and, in fact, it can more often be the other way around. Because of the accelerated pace of change in business today, strategy tends to eat culture. [...]

In our new book due out soon, The Innovation Race, we touch on an intriguing story about the development of today's mobile phone software. The concept of the humble 'app', now a staple to millions of smartphones, was in fact suggested at a tech company long before Apple had even come up with the idea! So why is Apple known for the app, and not this other company?

What makes an organisation's culture toxic? How can a culture that could be affirming and vibrant so easily turn sour?

By Gaia Grant Part I of this article can be found here. Working cross-culturally can be a double edged sword. On the one hand, if you are able to leverage cross cultural strengths effectively there is the potential for significant benefits. On the other hand, if there is not the required aw[...]

HSBC have captured the humour in cultural differences - a collection of their best ads. How to get the most from cross cultural and diverse teams By Gaia Grant Have you thought about just how connected the world now is? An aerial view of the world at night from outer space shows a globe c[...]

Author: Gaia Grant Contemporary teams tend to be highly diverse. Virtual teams, many of which are cross-cultural and become 'silo-minded' due to their physical isolation, require extra cohesion for success. Stresses such as time pressures, geographical and cultural barriers, communication, an[...]

The virtual team is here to stay. It is a group of people who are required to pursue shared objectives while based at distant work sites. Members of this team can be in different regions or different locations in the same country. They will therefore frequently need to communicate using electron[...]

Author: Gaia Grant In 1995 several crew members from a European space exploration team became so frustrated that they consciously referred to the managers in HQ as an "enemy" to provide an outlet for their frustration. While this can create the feeling of unity for the team in the field, it i[...]

Excerpt from Human Resources magazine feature article July 2013 Author: Gaia Grant NASA is preparing for the first manned expedition to Mars planned for the 2030s. The provisional Nasa budget for this expedition is $17.7bn, so naturally the NASA team is focusing on minimising any potential[...]

Two accused street smart school students sit in separate rooms awaiting a visit from the Principal. The Principal knows that both of them committed the crimes of which they are accused but she has no proof, and the students know this. What they don’t know is that the tactic the Principal will employ is one of the most powerful methods used to elicit the correct solution in a situation like this. She privately offers each of them a deal. The deal is that if they both confess they will get one detention each, if they both deny the crime they walk free, but if one confesses and the other does not the non-confessor gets expelled while the confessor walks free. This tactic – commonly known as the ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ – plays with the internal conflict we all have as humans between what we know is right for ourselves and what we know is right for the group.

In this second part to the two part article we interview Matt McFadyen to find out more about what he has learnt about leading and working in teams under stress from his experiences in the wild.

Interview with Matt McFadyen, polar adventurer In this article we interview Matt to find out more about what he has learnt about project management, leadership responsibilities and team development from his experiences in the wild. Matt is a special guest keynote speaker and facilitator for Tiri[...]

"We are running an uncontrolled experiment with the only home we have... and mother nature does not do bail outs."
Thomas Freidman: Hot Flat and Crowded

Our family was in the jungles of Borneo a few years ago observing orangutans in their natural habitat. It didn't take long for us all to became entranced by the gorgeous doe-eyed primates with incredibly human-like behavior.

How many shades of brown? Last week we were dropped in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, and all we could make out as far as the eye could see was endless desert. I was beginning to wonder if we had made a mistake. We had planned a four day desert trek, not really comprehending that the trek would be through, well – desert... just desert! It was 9:30am, and although it was the middle of winter in Egypt, the heat was steadily building and sweat was already dripping down my forehead. The four-wheel drive took off and our Bedouin guide Fraej pointed in to the west. “This way,” he said, and we started walking obediently. There was only sand, and rocks - all brown, all the same.

In the previous articles in this series we have discussed:

  1. the real motivation behind Corporate Social Responsibility enterprises and the need for authenticity (CSR is not a PR Exercise)
  2. the need for authentic concern for the other – not self (Who’s Scalping Who?)

With this third article in the series we are focusing on the social responsibility imperative, considering the values, politics and practice of CSR.

It’s the end of the year. Time to pull out the dusty Christmas decorations for another year’s use and deck the halls with boughs of holly. Time for end of year parties and holiday preparations - and time to reflect on the year that has been.

By Andrew Grant Last week I was 'scalped'- literally. While surfing at my favorite location in Bali I was ambushed by a 2 meter wave from behind which threw me onto a treacherous coral reef in front. With a split second lapse in concentration, my adversaries overwhelmed me and I collided with [...]

By Andrew Grant I recently stayed at a hotel from a well known international chain in the Middle East. But this particular property appeared to be confused about its mission in life. Rather than focusing on providing quality accommodation, the managers of the hotel had o[...]

By Andrew Grant The Implications Of The Bali Bomb: A Personal Reflection During Oct 2002 Bali was in mourning. Our dearly loved adopted island home suffered from a senseless and brutal attack. The peace-loving local people who have generously welcomed in so many visitors from a[...]

By Andrew Grant EXPLORE - How much damage can a few individuals do? Recently in Indonesia, a country of 200 million people, a few hundred angry demonstrators and a few cameras led to $1.2 billion worth of damage in lost revenue in terms of tourism sal[...]

By Andrew Grant and Craig Marshal The USA has some of the best golfers in the world. But despite the fact that they can boast more individual players in the top 10 than any other country, for many years they failed to win the Ryder Cup Golf Tournament, a team sport. Rather, the Europ[...]

By Gaia Grant TURNING DREAMS INTO REALITY Building a dream home isn’t always a dream. In fact, some friends or ours suffered hell when they tried to build the house of their dreams. As time went by, the promised months turned into year[...]

Dynamic Interaction (with DISC Behaviour Profiling) Maximizing Performance We are all different, and it is those differences that can make our work teams more efficient and effective. Heterogeneous teams (those with mixed behavioral, thinking and [...]

By Andrew Grant The Key To Increasing Your Productivity What do the Four Seasons Hotel Bali and the Surabaya International Hospital have in common? The Four Seasons Bali has been recognised as one of the best resort hotels in the world, while Surabaya International Hospital is [...]

By Gaia Grant All too often ‘soft’ topics such as motivation and satisfaction are seen as inconsequential in relation to ‘tough’ workplace realities. They can become trivialized or marginalized because they are difficult to measure and are often left in the ‘too hard basket’. And[...]

By Gaia Grant Human society is rapidly transforming. And we are having trouble keeping up. For the first time in human history, more people now live in urban rather than rural areas. As the world's population grows from today's 6.3 billion to the 9 billion predicted by 2050, almost all thes[...]

By Lloyd Irwin In response to the cold world of institutional concrete and steel that had been created by modernist artists and architects, a new craze called “Postmodernism” permanently transformed the architectural world in the 1970s. Signified by the curve instead of the straight l[...]

By Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant As today's excellence becomes tomorrow's norm and information becomes a commodity, companies will have to know how to 'invent the future' in creative new ways. Understanding the importance of creating a vision for the organization will be the first step to corp[...]

By Gaia Grant Creating inclusive teams - Article PRESS RELEASE On October 2 2000, a super iceberg –one of the biggest recorded in the satellite era – broke off Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf, drawing attention to concerns about the polar ice melt. The iceberg ([...]

by Gaia Grant When Corporate Social Responsibility first became a corporate buzz word and an indispensable corporate activity, it now seems pretty clear that the focus for some organizations was on using it as a fabulous PR exercise – one which supposedly demonstrated the authentic care and conce[...]

Tirian is able provide individuals with a detailed assessment of strengths & developmental needs as well as a detailed individual profile mapping out recommendations and a plan of action for change. Leadership Development Report & Feedback A Leadership Development Report combines sco[...]

Strategies for Inclusive Group Development Like the new polio outbreak it seems that racism and discrimination have never been properly eradicated. It has become so unfashionable to discriminate against certain groups that all but the most insensitive people take pains to appear fair-minded, [...]

By Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant Beyond Zero - Positive Negotiation Skills Conflict occurs when one individual or group perceives that another individual or group has caused or will cause harm. The types of conflict vary, for example, conflict can include individuals or groups in an athletic con[...]

By Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant High quality teams are becoming endangered. Groups of individuals that are left to their own devices from infancy can quickly become disillusioned and disoriented. The aware leader soon recognizes the need to protect and nurture the group, to hel[...]