Team Building

Aston Villa Football Club

Key Data

FocusDevelopment of relationships and team building Aston Villa First team squad
Objectivesto identify and develop key team development behaviours and to transfer these to the pitch
Delegate Number: 35
VenueOur Development Centre Brecon Beacons

The Client

The squad from Premier League Football Club Aston Villa

Aston Villa Football Club

The Objective/Brief

The management team asked for a challenging programme to build team relationships

The Solution

Aston Villa Team Building

The Programme

A two day programme with an overnight stay

Overview

The group were split into teams sent to rescue a downed reconnaissance pilot (RP) and recover the camera and film from the plane.

The search for RP took place during the afternoon and early evening set in the demanding and beautiful natural environment of the Brecon Beacons and was combined with a series of challenges to test the team’s:

• Communication skills
• Problem solving
• Leadership
• Team work
• Individual behaviours
• Navigation skills

The exercise concluded when, having successfully completed the challenges, having followed the clues, the teams tracked down the RP’s hiding place to secure their extraction.

Overnight Camping

The event continued with an overnight camp. Giving the opportunity to the team to experience the beauty of night time in the hills and to take part in the challenges which flow naturally from setting up camp – pitching tents, building a fire and  cooking their own evening meal – all superb tests of people’s behaviour and attitude at the end of a demanding day.

Staffing

Range of  experienced staff including our Head of Programme Delivery Dr.Phil Knowles and former Royal Marines.

Outcome and Impact

Aston Villa Top of the League

Top placed English Manager in the Premier League and team on course for highest league finish in top flight since 2010 when then under the management of  Martin O’Neil.

Review

‘I was just one of the boys that day rather than the actual leader.’

‘A lot you could see thinking ‘What are we doing? but a sit went on were thinking ‘This is all right. Actually, better than running round a field in pre-season’ They certainly got a lot out of it – you saw new relationships form.’

Dean Smith, Manager

“Out of all this he has emerged with a stronger club and a markedly improved team.”

Jonathan Northcroft, Football Correspondent, The Sunday Times. Article in Sunday Times 7th March 2021 where this event was referenced by Dean Smith.

Remington

Key Data

Focus – Team event to support a new product launch

Objectives – Call of the Wild were given the challenge to create an event that brought the launch team from Remington together in an environment that would inspire,challenge and allow them to celebrate the launch of a major new hair care product into the UK marketplace.

From the outset the client stressed the need for an event location and programme that really provided the wow factor – Call of the Wild responded to the challenge by listening very carefully to the exact requirements of the Remington event team and then added value by facilitating a discussion which further explored and refined those requirements.

Delegate Number – 50

Venue – Call of the Wild found the perfect venue within an hours drive of the Remington headquarters in Staines, this 4 star country hotel with grounds provided a truly spectacular backdrop to the event and greatly added to the success of the product launch.

Alstom

The Client

Alstom is a global leader in equipment and services for power generation and rail transport. The Group is present in more than 70 countries worldwide and employs around 76 000 people.

The Issues

Call of the Wild, after a number of meetings with the clients HR consultant, identified the problem as being a new group of senior management not working together as a team.

Objectives

Objectives agreed with the client were:

  • Team to gain an understanding of each other as people not just in business
  • Get past the ‘storming phase’
  • Implement peak communication
  • Share a common experience that bonds the team
  • Explore effective communication
  • Help identify preferred leadership styles

The Solution

In consultation it was decided the course should take the form of a team development intervention for 8 members of this new senior management team. This intervention would begin to identify and break down the barriers to high performance, the group would be encouraged to reflect on their learning and incorporate resolutions to transfer back to the work environment.

The Programme

The client requested an outdoor based experiential learning event taking the group out of their comfort zone and putting them under pressure in an unfamiliar environment. The objective was to stretch the individuals in order to draw out the lessons required through the facilitation and intervention of Call of the Wild staff. Call of the Wild designed and delivered a three day programme. This involved a series of physical, mental and behavioural challenges including: orienteering, camping, navigation and command tasks. The group were asked to camp out overnight and prepare their own evening meals which included preparing a rabbit and pigeon for the group to cook for their dinner.

In order to transfer the learning to the workplace for maximum relevance, a Power Station Challenge was incorporated as the culmination of the 3 day event. This was included to test the group members when they were fatigued. The group were required to design, on site, a retrofit for a power station and present their findings to the Station Manager.

Staffing

The programme was delivered by our facilitators David Thomas, MIC, CIPD and Fiona Thornewill, MBE. Dave is a highly experienced management training facilitator with a particular expertise in outdoor experiential programmes. He is one of the highest qualified outdoor facilitators in the UK.

Fiona Thornewill, has an impressive CV which is second to none. She was the 1st British woman to ski to Geographic South Pole,1st British woman to ski to the Geographic North Pole, 1st Woman to ski to both Geographic Poles, Fastest woman to ski – Geographic North Pole in 55 days, 1st British woman to ski solo & unsupported to the Geographic South Pole and fastest (man or woman) to ski – Geographic South Pole – unsupported in 41 days 8 hours 14 minutes.

Outcome

Here’s what our client thought of the programme:

“We are a large business operating across continents with customers that are household names. We searched many suppliers, and only one could give us what we wanted – Call of the Wild. With a new top-team and a massive change agenda together with a stretching annual target, it was critical to embed the new team as quickly as possible.

Our demands were more than a match for any supplier, but not only were they met, Call of the Wild added great value throughout the team building process with ideas, determination, the ability to work to our precise needs, and demonstrating a leadership spirit that provided an excellent model to learn from. The instructors were of the highest quality and blended challenge, the ability to stretch comfort zones beyond anything we envisaged, whilst always maintaining the highest standards of safety.

“There is no doubt that our return on investment will be many multiples of the cost and, most importantly, we have a new team that has not only bonded, but understands how to operate with each other in the most effective way. This will only benefit the team, the wider business, and, most importantly, our customers. We are so pleased with the outcome that if you require any first-hand recommendations, please feel free to call us and we will tell you exactly how professional Call of the Wild is.

D. Stephens, General Manager

Sytner BMW – Developing Teams

A Proven Return on Investment For Management Development Courses

Introduction

There has been and ongoing debate as to whether it is possible to measure the quantitative effect of management development courses. The existing evidence is somewhat contradictory and therefore Call of the Wild, as with all our courses, sought to find out if such a measure can be made in order to provide reassurance for the client that they would get a real rather than perceived return on investment.

Background

The purpose of this study was to investigate changes in work performance after completion of a typical three-day outdoor management development (OMD) session organised by “Call of the Wild”. This session involved participants working as members of a team in a variety of outdoor challenges, in order to develop skills that would prove valuable if they could be transferred back to the workplace environment.

The effectiveness of this session was measured using a specially adapted version of the Life-Effectiveness Questionnaire (LEQ) developed by Neill, Marsh & Richards, (2003), which measures a person’s life effectiveness, that is, how competent a person perceives himself or herself to be in a variety of areas necessary for success in working life, including communication and team-work.

Comparisons were made between participants’ life effectiveness in terms of various aspects of work performance prior to the three-day OMD session and one month after this OMD session. In addition to this, six telephone interviews were conducted with participants of this session, to supplement the information provided by the questionnaire data. The participants in this study were eighty-five employees of BMW/MINI, who were participating in the three-day OMD session organised by Call of the Wild Ltd.

There were seventy-four males and eleven females, with an average age of thirty-seven years. This session proved to be effective, as participants’ life effectiveness skills as measured by the LEQ were significantly greater one month after completion of this session than prior to this OMD session. The implications of these findings are discussed, and specific areas of future research are recommended, in order that more information can be obtained concerning the effectiveness of OMD and other outdoor learning sessions.

Method

Participants

Eighty-five (85) employees of BMW/MINI participated the OMD session conducted by “Call of the Wild”. There were 74 males and 11 females, and the average of the participants was 37 years. The details of all of the participants remained confidential, and their participation was entirely voluntary. The participants were split into teams of between five and nine members, depending on the part of the country they were from. There were a total of eleven teams from the different divisions of BMW/MINI. These were; High Wycombe, Harold Wood, Nottingham, Coventry, Solihull, Chigwell, Leicester, Sunningdale, City, Sheffield and Divisional.

Results

A one-way within-subjects repeated measure analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted in order to see whether or not there were any differences in the skills measured by the LEQ across the test times (before the OMD session, and one month after completion of this OMD session). The results of this test show that there was a significant difference ( F = 9.7, p<.05) in the reported life effectiveness as a result of participation in this programme.

The descriptive statistics for the participants’ overall Life Effectiveness are presented below:

Time 1

Mean Score: 5.78
SD: 2.38

Time 2

Mean Score: 7.36
SD: 2.84

Descriptive Statistics for Overall Life Effectiveness from Pre-Test to Post-Tests

One month after completion of the OMD session, six non-rigorous telephone interviews were conducted with the participants of this session, in order to support and extend the information provided by the LEQ. The results of these interviews suggest that the OMD session had a positive effect upon those taking part, in terms of enhanced levels of trust and co-operation between team members. It was also suggested that many of the effects of this session were enduring, and that these skills successfully transferred back to the workplace environment, resulting in an enhanced level of individual and team performance within the organisational setting.

“Call of the Wild have designed, developed and delivered a number of superb team development events for the Sytner BMW/MINI Division . We were delighted with their speed and professionalism in working up a programmes for the 85 -100+ managers concerned.

We were very impressed with Call of the Wild’s project management, their design team and excellent facilitation of the  events.”

Sue Sansome
Group Training & Development Manager
Sytner Group Ltd