Gathering together in person again…

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So many of us have worked in physical isolation for so long now – set up at home, using online video platforms to remotely connect with each other – and although this has worked so well for so many of us – it was still hugely invigorating for the whole Twining Enterprise community to recently gather together in person again – for the second time since lockdown March 2020, to remind ourselves about the enhanced potential of face-to-face meeting.

As we warmly greeted old colleagues and met new ones we came together to make children’s bikes facilitated by the brilliant social enterprise BikeWorks (Home | Bikeworks CIC) (a fellow Social Business Trust partner) and then we worked through organisation dynamics simulations led by John Watters, a lead facilitator in the work of Barry Oshry, whose work helps human systems flourish.

During the morning activity we gathered in small teams and worked together to build beautiful bikes ready for riding by the lucky recipients.  After the session, which was filled with fun challenges and friendly competition in reaching the goals, the bikes were safety checked by qualified mechanics and delivered to designated children’s groups.

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After an energising lunch we settled down for a workshop on Power and Systems.  We learnt how each organisation consists of different conditions – that of top, middle, bottom and customer – and within each condition we all have the potential to positively contribute to ‘total system power’.  It was interesting to understand how, when invited, we were all naturally drawn to particular conditions – and few of us chose to be at the ‘top’…!  It also helped to understand how we each have the power to contribute to the wider system, whatever ‘condition’ we naturally find ourselves in.  You can read more about Barry’s thinking here:  https://govleaders.org/total-system-power.htm

So, what did everyone think of the day?  Here are just some of the comments:

“I found it a really lovely day. It was so nice to see everyone in person, after so many Teams meetings, and it was great to meet some of the newer members too. It was a good balance between fun and team building, with the building the bikes in the morning and the session about how organisations work in the afternoon. I found the afternoon session very thought-provoking, allowing me to understand other’s point of view. The day taught me a lot about myself, and about how valuable it is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I will take lots of happy memories from the day and am looking forward to the next meeting!” – Enia, Employment Specialist

“The morning activities were bonding and fun. The afternoon activity was eye opening and thought provoking; a good exercise in self-awareness. And all in a heatwave!” – Steph, Employment Specialist

“The day was great… reconnecting with old colleagues and meeting new one’s in person after working so long from home was amazing. The bicycle related activities were fun and ultimately fulfilled a serious purpose in enabling disadvantaged children to learn and experience bike riding as all children should. The afternoon workshop was interesting and insightful! Really looking forward to the next away day!” – Kam, Educational Specialist

It was an amazing day – a fantastic time of coming together in person with the people we work with every day – but have had so little chance to actually be with in recent years.  Roll on the next all staff gathering!

And a final word from our Chief Executive, Oli Jacobs, “It was great to have everyone together for the day and work to build strong bonds and insights across the organisation to help us realise the next stage of our ambitious strategy.”

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