The Weather and the Team

Day 1 was stormy, day 2 was crisp. It’s the turn of the season and despite the uncertainty of the weather, we still experience some familiar patterns.

Last week, we were facilitating a 2-day team coaching session with an Executive Team from a Financial Services business. We were staying in a beautiful, welcoming and warm old hotel; the sort of place you can only find in rural Scotland.

As we worked with the team, I was conscious of the weather outside. Day 1 was stormy, with blustering winds, intense rain, fast moving, oppressive clouds. Day 2 was perfectly clear with visibility for miles, beautiful crisp autumnal light, blue skies and an invitation to go outside.

It’s funny how the weather over the 2 days reflected the work in the room (or, more likely, vice versa).

During Day 1, we entered a dark and stormy place with the team. We knew we were going to go there as there were a few things that needed to be aired. Some difficult dynamics needed to be brought to the light. At times, it was oppressive and the team didn’t quite know if the weather was going to improve. There was a temptation in them to rush to the sunny place however, sometimes, without the storm, the sun doesn’t feel as good.

The next day did feel good. When we arose, it was already beautiful and this spoke to the mood in the room. The storm had settled overnight and the team woke with a different perspective and understanding of each other. Their conversation shifted toward the constructive, the positive and the future. The clarity of the light outside spoke to the clarity of the commitments inside and, whilst it was easier to relax in this weather, there was a respectful gratitude for the storm.

In a senior team, sometimes facing into the storm is OK. In fact, if you avoid it, you’ll risk truncating a deeper, richer process that will serve you and your colleagues well.