The Association of Finnish Student Unions (SYL) employs ambitious and visionary people. They are not after money, but out of love for the sport. Everyone is committed not only to their own mission, but also to making the whole of SYL better. This is an excellent thing, and we have many different views on how SYL works. Sometimes, however, we are unnecessarily critical of others’ ideas. Another significant challenge is the turnover of people: the experts, i.e. the staff, remain the same, but the board that works full-time at the office changes every year. At the same time, the culture of discussion changes and one could say that it needs to be re-created every year.
Simulations provide the basis for discussion
We consciously work to improve the work community and we have used SmoothTeam already three times. We have chosen it especially because of the simulation-based approach. The simulation creates a basis for discussion and keeps the joint workshop meaningful for the participants also remotely.
Our recent simulation helped us to identify and articulate what is sometimes wrong in our discussion culture and why we are not always able to be constructive. SmoothTeam in particular helped identify the strong criticality that many of us have. Criticality is a great gift to us, as long as we know how to work together to benefit from it. The simulation also helped the management to organize working together: how to conduct events, when to work in small groups and when all together, how to share speaking turns, and so on.
At the time of the simulation, slightly less than half of the work community had only been on the team for four months. The simulation served as a means of getting to know each other and inspired people to get to know each other better even after the simulation.
The simulation also works well because it initially involves a suitable baseline mapping, everyone answering it from their own perspective. This groundwork helps in identifying the root causes, and leads to deep discussions that would not be possible with a standard facilitated workshop. At the same time, the characteristics of individuals are identified, and an image is obtained of what kind of people there are in the work community.
SmoothTeam also brings individuals reflections on how I see myself and how others see me. In that respect, too, SmoothTeam goes beyond other work guidance tools.
I can definitely recommend SmoothTeam to various organizations. SmoothTeam works to develop the team and its work, helping to identify pain points and engage in constructive discussions about them.
Sonja Raitamäki Secretary General National Union of University Students in Finland SYL