Pink Petro Pioneers: Community Board pilots collaborative trust game for virtual teams

Blog Post created by clare.mcnamara Champion on Jun 13, 2015

iTag collage 2.pngYou already know that Pink Petro is a pioneer. You have been introduced to our Community Board and, in typical can-do approach, its members are working together to explore how best to collaborate and how to align effort so that you, the members, are getting what you need from Pink Petro.


So what is revolutionary about that then? Isn't it what any organisation would set out to do. Recruit the team, train it, set up the processes, get everyone together and hey presto, we're off! No, not really.


For starters we kind of recruited ourselves. Of course we had to show commitment and be passionate about what Katie Mehnert and Pink Petro is all about, but we are largely self-selected. Secondly, we are not talking here about a one-off training. We've had some great support from Robin Dupre as we get to know the platform, but we realise there is much more to learn as we evolve and respond to what's needed. We're curious though, so we are all finding new experiences and knowledge to take on board.


Our biggest challenges, and in some ways our greatest opportunites, are that we are both a global team AND we are volunteers. When I say global I mean we span three continents, in locations from Jordan to Alaska, and we are culturally diverse. And as volunteers we all have day jobs and family responsibilities.


But you know, this kind of complexity and ambiguity is the way the world is moving and so we decided to pause and reflect on the implications before diving straight into the 'doing'.


We asked ourselves a number of questions:

  • In order to be effective, what is the most important thing we need to do?
  • How should we align Pink Petro's values to the way we work?
  • How on earth to we get all 10 people round the table, all at once, given that we all have other lives and exist in different time zones?


We decided that given what Pink Petro aims to do is 'unite, connect, develop and grow women' then we had better start with ourselves as a team. We wanted to do this is a fun and very social way and we also recognised that really getting under the skin of our diversity was the best starting point. That's is what led us to PlayPrelude, a pioneering trust game for virtual teams. As a certified facilitator of the game I had absolutely no difficulty in persuading its Co-Founder, Howard Esbin, a big fan of Pink Petro, to work with us on the project.


As Biz Stone, the Co-Founder of Twitter once said: "The right composition of images and text can convey more emotion than either images or text alone." This is the basis of the PlayPrelude process where we start with understanding our individual strengths, move into representing these visually (the picture above is a collage of our creations) and then explore how our talents can be best aligned, again using an enjoyable and creative process.


At the half-way point were are already delighted with our increased understanding of each other. We have agreed that we could not have got this far by the usual 'where do you come from?' or 'what do you do in your spare time?' questions. We are already feeling much more like one team and there is a palpable energy building.


To return to the original question about the usual approach to team building, we are not quite at the 'hey presto' stage, but we are near it. Watch this space .....