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Pilobolus demonstrates the value of amazing teamwork

Submitted by on Sunday, 10 July 2011No Comment

pilobolus - teamwork in thailandThis week’s Talent Talk leaves corporate life for a few moments and enters the amazing world of teamwork and artistry of dance troupe Pilobolus.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the group before, they shot to international fame with the imaginative Ford advertisement, and then more recently, the Hyundai ad here.



The dance troupe regularly puts on stunning displays of choreographic skill, and we’re certain that it will only be a matter of time before this kind of human ‘puppetry’ dance will make an appearance in Thailand:


What does this all mean for teams and managers?

Enough of the eulogies. Is there anything here that teams and managers can put to use in their workplace? Here at Talent Technologies, we think there is.

A great team performance is always the result of a number of individual practices. in no particular order, here are some take-homes from Pilobolus, in our preferred ‘Head, Heart and Hand‘ context:

Take-home #1 (Head) – Now and Next

To collaborate effectively, the Pilobolus performers need to be constantly thinking about what their own movement is now, and what their own movement is going to be next. These two mindsets form the basis for the performance.

Performers then need to think what their colleagues’ performance is meant to be and then is, and then react accordingly (note the difference – mistakes do happen even after countless rehearsals!)

Q&A – Can your colleagues answer this question: ‘What challenges in your own words are we facing now? What challenges do you think we may be facing next?’

Take-home #2 (Heart) – Playing to Strengths

If you think all the performers in the videos have identical strengths, you’re likely to be mistaken.

The fact of the matter – even in dance – is that some performers are naturally ‘better’ at certain genres, in certain roles, and in certain acts.

The #1 practice of the director is to make sure each performer is playing to his or her strengths. For a manager, it is no different.

This factor is so critical in management yet is almost overlooked. Not playing your colleagues’ to their strengths undermines commitment and engagement. It is a performance-destroyer. Discover your colleagues’ strengths and you will not have to manage!

Q&A – Ask your colleagues this question: ‘Which of the tasks you have done in the last week/month did you enjoy most? Can you tell me why?’

Take-home #3 (Hand) – Practise… practise…

Identifying an individual’s strengths is one part of the performance equation. The other part is practice.

Performance = Strengths + Skills + Situation

 As Peter Drucker wrote in the Effective Executive:

“The effective executive builds on strengths – their own strengths, the strengths of superiors, colleagues, subordinates and the strengths of the situation.”

There are no shortcuts to fashioning a great performance through practise – except practise itself!

What you can do now

If you’re interested in discovering what your strengths really are – then why not have a look at Talent Factor, our one-day programme that is a must-have for anyone in management?

Or, if you would like to go straight into team development, then we recommend the world’s most popular team development programme, Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

We promise that both of these programmes will help you collaborate more effectively within your teams and… who knows… even get you dancing to work like Pilobolus!


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Talent Technologies :: Producing Change


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