Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö
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They say the unexpected is usually what brings the unbelievable.

In the beginning of fall’s semester, I felt more lost than ever. I felt lost. Someone once said, it’s hard to continue the journey if you don’t know which way to go. It’s hard to navigate without any destination. It didn’t help that I didn’t feel comfortable enough in my team to even ask help. I wasn’t feeling the culture of quilt and peer pressure. I didn’t trust my team enough. It just didn’t feel right. Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I deal with this issue with my own ‘’team?’’ Isn’t that what team members are supposed to be for, to support each other trough hard times?

I didn’t even feel like I was part of the team, and I knew some people that thought so too about themselves. The first summer apart was crucial in our process of individuals developing into team members. In a nutshell, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know what projects to do next. I felt confused in all areas of my life. And I was starting to feel anxious. And that’s not a good combination. Weeks went by and my motivation started to drop like the temperature in november. Day by day, one degree lower and lower.

Then one day, I half-accidently participated in an international training session. I didn’t really know, what was it all about, but by (positive) social pressure I decided to participate. Then I quickly figured out that the participants were from Mimmutti’s international Team coach development program. Then I didn’t know what it was, but it sounded interesting. I love to interact with people, especially in English. I love to spend time with inspiring and positive people. I love to learn from other people, and share experiences. The training session reminded me of these crucial things I had forgotten in my own learning process in Team Academy. The session provided me all these things that I enjoy doing. I even felt the feeling of ‘’the flow’’.

I felt like the energy of my own team was nagging my motivation. I’m very easily influenced by the atmosphere of the group that I’m in. So if the team around be is negative, it’s very hard for me to ignore it. I’m too empatethic, and I know it. But the energy in the international training session was beyond innovative and positive, so I really felt it in my guts. In a positive way, ofcourse. Even though the session made me feel more happy than I had felt in many weeks, the best was yet to come. Something, that really hit my motivation up to the skies. Mimmu, the head coach of the program, asked me to join the next international team coach development program, that was starting in November 2018.

I really didn’t see that coming. After these weeks and months of feeling lost and insecure, it felt really good that someone saw my passion and believed in me. It was really important in that point of my life. He offered me a positive challenge, and I accepted it. I’m truly grateful for that.

The adventure started by doing some exercises for the program, like doing a learning contract and reading some books related to team coaching and leadership. I chose Simon Sinek’s Start with Why, which was recommended by Mimmu. Weeks went by, and then came the 12thof November, when I jumped to a buss from Jyväskylä to Helsinki-Vantaa airport.

I didn’t know if I was more nervous about travelling by plane or by the team coaching program. Even though I haven’t travelled that much, I survived from Helsinki-Vantaa to Frankfurt, and then to Geneve, Switzerland. Woah, still alive. It wasn’t that bad. In that point I was already proud that I overcame my fear of travelling alone. Despites the little excitement, I felt free and inspired the train from Geneva to Sierre (where the program module located). I felt like my insecurities and worries were fading away when I first saw the breathtaking views of the alps and endless fields of wineyards. Nobody was there to judge me, or to pull me down. I really felt like myself again. I had noticed this weird thing in me before. Travelling somewhere always felt purifying and as a sign of re-birth for me. I finally felt like I could breathe. The program lasted for 4 days, but it felt more like I got the information of studying 4 months in 4 hours. I learned so much stuff in such a short time. It’s really hard to put into words, what I experienced in Switzerland. I learned so many crucial things about the basic human behavior, leadership skills, teamwork and especially about myself. I feel like my head and heart are now working in sync, fulfilled with information that will lead me to the greater things ahead.

I am really, really thankful to Mimmu and other amazing participants in the program that I learned a lot from.

 

Self development in the international team coach program

Most of my teenage years, I’ve been very shy. Just recently I have gotten out of my shell. I have also been a solo-player and trusting other people has been always hard for me. So just attending the program was a big deal for me. I know that naturally confident folks and people with healthy backgrounds find this hard to understand. When I entered the program I knew that I had to step out of my comfort zone. My time in Tiimiakatemia has been full of personal development and growth. In the program I realized how far I’ve come since the day I started in Tiimiakatemia. I felt really comfortable communicating with strangers from all over the world. There were men and women from different backgrounds and personalities. And I wasn’t scared. I had decided, that I wouldn’t let my own fears ruin this amazing experience. For example, the first evening was a great opportunity ‘’to rip off the plaster.’’ I read a lot about the importance of trust in team work. In my team in Finland, we didn’t have it. How could I start building trust from day one with strangers, if we didn’t manage to do it in one year in Finland?

In Sinek’s Start with Why, the author wrote that vulnerability is the key to trust.

The program started with introducing each other and soon enough we continued to our first task together. Before the program we were asked to pick an image to symbolize, why we were in the program in the first place. I picked a group photo of my team, Mahtia, visiting Himos. After growing up in unstable conditions and after many years of being bullied in school, I wasn’t able to trust in people. Especially in school-ish environment, that Tiimiakatemia still represents. (Even though we are every day going to work, not to traditional ‘’school’’.) Still the environment reminded my unconscious mind about the past traumas I had. But after few months in Tiimiakatemia, I started to gain courage to trust in other people.

The learning by doing-method is really powerful. Every day in Tiimiakatemia we step out of our comfort zones. We constantly communicate with other people and that helps us to develop our sense of social intelligence. The best tool to personal development is working with other people. I feel like Mahtia, my team company has had a huge role on my way from a shy, traumatized girl into a strong but emphatic, hard-working woman. The influence of my team has been huge. I picked the picture of my team to symbolize my journey. Without my team, I wouldn’t have had the courage to participate. In the program I realized, how far I’ve come.

 

Teamwork

The 4 days in Switzerland felt like the penguin year in team academy. We went trough the team development process from group of people into a real team. It felt really empowering to be a part of a strong team with common vision, principles and values. It really made me think about my own team in Jyväskylä. After the experiment of being part of a real, respecting team, I realized that our ‘’team’’ is just a group of individuals feeling confused.

The difference between the energy that the teams give me, is crucial. I feel like my team in jyväskylä just drains my energy, even though the people are great. And in the team coach program, my team supports me, gives energy. Makes me feel important. They listen to me, because they really want to.

So far away from home, I realized, why Mahtia doesn’t work. The combination of reading Start with Why and participating the program really felt like an enlightement. I can summarize our problems in 2 main things:

 

  1. Manipulation instead of inspiration

The different techniques we use while communicating with people. Manipulation can be altering prices, making the subject to feel fearl. For example, we use fear to raise our kids. Run to the road and get hit by a car.

Manipulation is the norm, that most of us use in business and personal life. It’s easy and affective, but the high won’t last.

Business is a good example: manipulation: it can drive sales, but it won’t last. Manipulations lead into transactions, but not to loyalty.

Our team uses manipulation in almost everything. We make the sense of fear to obey and achieve goals. We had already made so many new rules, punishments and negative peer pressure to make more money and success. And it has never worked in the long term. It doesn’t motivate anyone. People don’t even fully agree to the rules, but it seems that the loudest voice wins in this survival competition. Just because it works, doesn’t make it right. We have forgotten, that the team concists from talented individuals, that want to work together.

 

  1. Lack of trust and respect, dialogue and common vision

Everything we do is built upon trust. The author has used the model from Five dysfunctions of a team to model the importance of trust. It’s the base of everything. I have never ever felt that kind of trust that I felt in the team coach development program. Even though past experiences have destroyed my ability to trust, I feel like in those 4 days in Switzerland I learned what it takes to build trust in a team. When everyone was present and living in the moment, respecting each other by showing real interest in others as a human being, listening and giving honest, especially honest feedback, it was nearly therapeutic to have dialogue. I was amazed, how empowering good dialogue with motivated people can be. All problems were confronted immediately with everyone. Everyone was involved in the process. Everybody remembered, why we have two ears but only one mouth.

 

 Reflecting from a different perspective

It’s totally different in my team in Jyväskylä. I thought, that our dialogue was already on a pretty good level. How wrong I was! I hadn’t realized before, how powerful tool dialogue is in team leading and in team work. I think that we all are living in the idea that we have good dialogue. Ofcourse we have developed a lot since we started, but the development has stopped. I feel like we don’t respect each other enough. For example in birthgivings or training sessions, people are on their phones and computers, interrupting all the time, and changing the subject. People are not really listening, just waiting to get out of the situation. People are not present in the situation for each other. It’s not important enough. It seems that team member don’t matter that much, that one would like to really listen and participate in the situation.

There’s also a huge lack of trust. For example, I was not comfortable to tell my team about my depression. I’m still too uncomfortable to tell about my past, nor to be myself fully. I can’t trust in people, that don’t show any signs of interest in those kind of things. I think the athmosphere of fear prevents people really telling their opinions about things, or giving honest feedback. That’s why we are stuck with our team development process. It’s hard to develop without any feedback. And then again, people are unhappy with the team rules, because they didn’t have the opportunity or courage to really say, how they feel. Especially for me it’s hard to publicly disagree with some of the rules, because I’m not the loudest. I’m too sensitive, and don’t want to hurt anyones feelings. Bringing these problems to dialogue ring would help alot. But to bring the cat to the table, we need to trust each other by being honest and open. Without good dialogue is hard to develope the team. I learned that it’s the main tool in the team learning process. For example we rarely bring projects to our training sessions. How are we supposed to develop our projects, if we don’t do it together? At the moment people are doing a lot by themselves or in small groups. I don’t even know, what other people are busy with at the moment.

When I visited the training session of Swiss group of teampreneurs, I realized, why team coaches always say that we should bring projects to training sessions. Isn’t that what training sessions are for? It was really interesting to see, how good dialogue can give new energy and drive to projects. The support from the group was really honest and good-hearted, and I felt kind of jealous of that. That’s something I want to bring to my team also!

In the same training sessions, the team started to plan their team learning contract together. We also did that in our team coach development program team’s training session. It’s crucial for a well functioning team to have a common vision. When we have a clear sense of our destination,  we can be flexible in the route we take to reach it.  I hope the year 2019 will be the year of doing together for Mahtia. I have a lot of information about the dysfuncions of our team. It’s just really hard for me to express myself in my team. For example lack of trust always boils down to lack of results. We really have to work as a team to glue our minds into one. In my opinion, we have to bring our projects, dysfunctions and goals into the dialogue ring even more than before. I think one of the most important things that I first realized while reading Sinek’s Start with Why, and then again in Switzerland, wast the importance of inner motivation.  I realized that I have a responsibility as a team member to help others with no inner motivation. We need to support each other, lead each other and demand from each other. It’s not only the team leaders role to do those things. We all have to lead each other.