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Ready, Set, Go

Preparing for a new challenge in a team can be exhilarating and fun! When we feel this way, though, we can fall prey to hype and eagerness, pushing us to jump in too quickly.  When this occurs, unforeseen obstacles hold us back from achieving our goals and cause us to wonder, what went wrong?

As a group facilitator, I find that teams come into a group activity feeling ready. For example, in an activity called “Stepping Stones,” a group will receive all of the instructions and face a set-back within seconds after starting. Often, this is because the members plan very little or just jump into the action. When a problem occurs, the group feels stuck or confused. Whether there is an anticipated push for quick action or a lack of understanding, the group process can be derailed. Any number of negative variables can sneak up when teams plunge into “ready, go” instead of “ready, set, go.”

The aspect that many groups (and myself) lack is taking a moment to “set.” This is not usually due to a lack of ability, but rather a negation of taking the time to be thoughtful about the next steps. 

When preparing for a task, consider taking a short time to come together, get set, and discuss the following questions.

Is everyone on the same page?

This is a simple question to present to your group. It can be an opportunity to restate your perspective of what needs to happen and allows anyone who is confused to gain clarification. This question might even pop up throughout the process. That’s ok! Misunderstood clarity, in the beginning, can only lead to trouble in the future. 

Does everyone understand their role in the process?

Establishing what is expected from each member is also an essential aspect in setting up for success. Offering the questions; “who will be responsible for this task?” and “how can the rest of us support?” may also be helpful to your team. This will allow for ownership of tasks and a feeling of alignment. 

What challenges could occur during the process, and how will we fix them?

Preparing for foreseeable challenges will help to alleviate some stresses if you encounter them, and knowing the process of how to deal with them can help provide confidence to team members. Could you imagine a sense of calm among the group in realizing that you have prepared for a situation that you already know how to proceed? Fantastic! 

What negative connotations could be perceived by others?

This is one of my least favorite aspects of a pre-planning process. It can get a group into a spin-out of “nothing we ever do will make them happy.” Those unhappy campers who are impossible to please should not be the focus. Instead, consider those who may be experiencing your event for the first time or have been reluctant to join in because they did not feel included. These are not reasons to shine negativity on others, but opportunities to seek out forgotten groups. 

How will we know that our goal is achieved?  

Success takes on many forms; an increase of attendance, improved qualitative data, positive feedback, and a new learned mindset or attitude are all forms of accomplishment. Be sure to remember your team’s successes to gain ways to be advantageous for future challenges. 

Now gather your team, get ready, take time to get set, and go!

*Leadership Lesson*

Try one of these team-building activities with your group. Encourage them to set before they go

For more activities, explore our Activities Database

*Meet the Author*

Meghan has been with Leadership Inspirations for four years. She holds a B.A. in Integrated Educational Studies from Chapman University and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Regis University

Favorite Quote: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wild 

Fun Facts: 1) My dream job would be an SNL cast member, 2) I love to plan parties and 3) I sing in my car like I’m performing a sold-out show.