The young software designer from India looked across our circle of drummers at his colleague from northern Europe, grinned broadly and exclaimed, “I loved the part you were playing, so I copied it. It was so very easy for me to play!”
The other fellow looked surprised, laughed and said, “I thought I copied it from you!”
I had been brought in to do a corporate team building program for a group of software engineers from Asia, Europe, India and North America who would be working on a project together. They all spoke fluent English, however the organizers knew that the different work styles and cultural expectations among team members might slow down their creative process.
My client’s goal for me was to help the participants quickly create a spirit of teamwork and a unified group culture of communication and collaboration that transcended their deeply-ingrained cultural differences.
As we played together, I helped them to learn how to recognize and support each other’s personalities and contributions, and to create their own unique, powerful Team Groove.
Some of the revelations that they shared during our Comments & Observations discussion afterwards included:
– “If I got off the rhythm, I was able to get back on when I listened to what others were playing!”
– “I could try new things, because the group rhythm was so strong that we supported each other’s creativity!”
– “I always thought that I didn’t have any rhythm. I wonder what else in life I keep myself from doing simply because I’ve never learned the fundamentals.”
Group drumming, when done in a focused and purposeful way, is such a great builder of communication and collaboration skills because the same core principles and skills apply to both group drumming and to all thriving communities:
– actively listening to other group members with open ears, open minds and open hearts
– expressing ourselves clearly with the intention of creating a free exchange of information and ideas
– responding to what other people contribute, not to our own inner conversations
– willingly engaging together to create solutions to our shared challenges
And, as an added benefit, drumming is a powerful, time-honored way to celebrate successes and the blessings of life with others… to play together!