Team building and team work, experiencing the not doing

Team building and team work

Name educator:  Educator : Mario D’Agostino and Gabriele Cespa

Name partner organisation: Kamaleonte


Description of the course:

2 days course for Leaders of Pharmaceutic Multinational company based on Experiential learning and Outdoor activities


Aim of the training :

to reinforce the team identity and to share how to communicate with each other. An opportunity to have a «pit stop» to share climate/mood and team dynamics.

Aim of testing project:

The idea is to create during a learning session, a space where participant can experience the “not doing”. The meaning of “not doing”  is about creating moments, few minutes, between the  activities or before, where participants are invited to “not do”  anything, just stay with their self and the context around them.

The objectives we have in mind is to observe if this practice of “not doing”:

  • allow participants to develop a sense of being present in that specific moment, with themselves and others ( this logic is based on mindfulness an theory U stage of presensing).
  • If trough achieving a presensing stage learner are empowered to be inner ready for new actions.



Date(s) of the testing project: 29-30 September 2015

Target group: leaders of GEP- BU – Pfizer Italy        

Number of participants:_ 10

Nationality of the participants: Italian, Portuguese, English

Sex of the participants: 2 women______ 8 man­­­______

Age of the participants:32 to 45

Amount of meetings with the learners: 2 full days

A Number of people reflecting: V  Solo V Small group


 Large group


B The way(s) of sharing: Speaking

Silence: Being in Silence

Couple : Empathic walk technicque( Otto Sharmer)

Visual Space and Cinestatic: Positioning themselves in a BIG triangle drawn in the sand, rappresenting the PPP Module of Hovelynk

Verbal: Yes


Non-verbal:   Pictures /

v  drawings

v  Text   Em­bodied  sculpture


v Other forms of expression


Digital:   Padlet


  Social media   Digital diary


C Place of reflection (where) v  Indoors


v  Outdoors   On-line


D. Steps taken to implement

How did you organize your testing project (or to put it differently: as this is a testing project for experimenting, what will be different comparing to the same course you run the previous time)?

I have tried to integrate my testing project in my current activities with the group of learners. I offered them the opportunity of  5 minutes of “not doing” in silence  during a 4 hours series of outdoor and adventurous activities.,

The first day of the training during an outdoor activity (they were paddling in a Dragon Boat in the middle of a lake) we stopped the group and we asked them to “not do anything” and to be in silence for 5 minutes.

I experimented the silence and the not doing moment during an activity in order to explore if this could have an impact on the “inner readiness” of people. Usually I was using silence as an activity or after an activity but never with the objective of helping people in being Inner ready .

I used the silence as a privileged space for noticing rather than giving a specific reflection assignment. I didn’t ask any question to direct the attention of the participants towards a specific issue (like I would have done in the experiential learning projects previously carried on), I just asked them to observe and notice what resonated in them in relation to the context (environment and group), inner state and body responses to the inner and outside stimuli.

E. Your assessment of the outcome

In general, how do you look at the results of your testing project?

In the evening after the whole activities, during the de -briefing we asked participants to share the significant moments of the day.   For most 7 of them ( the majority ) those 5 minutes of not doing were the most significant, because:

  • They realized where they were and with whom they were in that specific moment.
  • They realized the importance, also during working time, of taking time to reflect about where they want to go and how they want to work together, in order to make their actions more fluent and coherent.
  • they realized that never take time to reflect during their daily work.

One of the participants noticed that after their stop in the middle of the lake, they started to paddle again in a more harmonic and fluent way among them. Without any rational decision. How could this have happened?

Personally I think they made an experience of co-presensing ( from Otto Sharmer theory U) Presensing  is the stage of being fully Present ( emotionally ,physically and mentally) and at the same time perceiving with their full senses what is going on. The day after, they had in agenda a very important business meeting among them. Before starting the meeting they were invited to perceive the group needs and stage trough reflection and trough sharing in couples. For sharing in couples we used the exercise called “empathic walk” on the beach. After this moment they decided to change their Agenda . They realized that the need of the group was to keep time to go deeper on the reflection about how they were working together as a team, sharing wishes and common vision before having the Business Meeting.

In that specific  moment, when they agreed to change the agenda, they realized their need to go deeper  in an  interpersonal exploration and exchange in order to be “inner ready” to work together.

According to the theory U of Otto Sharmer this stage of the group is a stage of “co-creation” .

This process happened naturally for them but , after the meeting, they couldn’t explain at a rational level what happened.  How could that have happened . Was it magic? Of course not!.

We believe that our role as facilitators of that reflection practice, was really important to support their process as individuals and as a group in going deeper in themselves and being more aware and ready to act together in a fluent way

For one of them, the leader of the group, the training and the teamwork was very useful but she couldn’t feel the presence of the trainers. In fact we were not visible and we didn’t provide any direction or feed back to the group.

It was in our intention not to force the group process and not  to offer any feed back. We provided, the space for individual and group development by organizing activities and facilitating the reflection and by facilitating the connection with the here and now moment and context.  They group has done the rest.

F  Connecting with principles: which principle(s) were you taking into consideration mostly when facilitating reflection with learners? Please add 2 sentences about how you were translating the principle into practice. For more information: see postings on principles.



Raising awareness within learners to ‘own’ their learning in personally meaningful way



Developing a relationship between educator and learners based on trust, openness, empathy, honesty, dialogue and feedback






Co-creating the reflective process



Managing the steering paradox of intrinsic learning processes





Creating the right reflective attention of learners



Slowing down and value moments of not-knowing,



Deepening your questions progressively



Recalling that reflection can never be imposed, only kindly invited.



Always considering reflection as a broad and deepening process, that should be holistic.


Being careful how to asses reflection (or not at all)



Worksheet 2